Why Your Belly Fat Won't Budge
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Why Your Belly Fat Won't Budge

Whether you’re bothered by a little too much padding on your hips, thighs, belly or any other place else on your body, you probably know that spot-reducing isn’t possible. “When you gain weight it’s circular, meaning that you store fat all over your body,” says Obi Obadike, fitness expert and celebrity trainer whose washboard abs have graced many a fitness magazine cover.

“But certain parts of your body are prone to store more fat than others.” For some it’s the hips or butt. For others, it’s right smack in the middle of the body.

What’s the secret to losing the tubby tummy? Obadike says there are three things you must do:

1. Eat a Clean/Lean Healthy Diet: “Abs are not made in the gym, they are made in the kitchen.” Obadike says this is something he and many fitness experts tell their clients. “Flat abs are not indicative of 1,000 sit ups a day, they’re indicative of how low your body fat is. And reducing your body fat comes from a clean, healthy diet.” 

That includes at least two protein servings a day, at least two servings of veggies/fruits, good fats and at least two servings of good carbs. “Diet is 80 percent of your success in losing belly fat,” says Obadike. “But by combining that with a rigorous cardio and weight-training plan, you increase your chances of losing belly fat by 15 to 20 percent.” That gives you a 95 to 100 percent chance of success. Not bad odds! 

Related: Will strength training give me big muscles if I’m a woman?

Clean/Lean foods to add to your diet include oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, baked or broiled chicken breast, baked or broiled turkey breast, fish and, of course, fruits and veggies. “I teach my clients the 90/10 rule,” says Obadike. “That is eat clean 90 percent of the time and cheat 10 percent of the time.” Of course, a cheat isn’t a plate of chicken parm followed by a slice of tiramisu. Examples of a “cheat” would be one slice of pizza, a small hamburger or small slice of chocolate cake. The serving size should fit roughly in the palm of your hand. 

How many calories should you limit yourself to each day to shed pounds? “A weight loss caloric diet that I use is 10 to 12 calories per pound,” says Obadike. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, your daily caloric intake would be between 1,800 to 2,160 calories (180 x 10 = 1,800; 180 x 12 = 2,160). “I’ve had great success with my clients using this formula,” he says. “They never feel hungry even though it is a low-calorie diet."

2. Follow a Weekly Cardio Program: “To see results you’ll need to do 30 to 45 minutes of cardio at least four times a week,” Obadike says. His favorite fat-blasting equipment? The elliptical, stairmaster and treadmill. “They help you burn calories fairly fast,” he says. But walking on the treadmill while reading a magazine won’t cut it. “I always tell my clients, if you aren’t sweating then you aren’t working."

Related: Is eating later in the day bad for weight loss?

3. Work Those Abs: Abs exercises are important for strengthening your stomach muscles,” says Obadike. But they must go along with the fat-melting cardio. Otherwise, he says, the abs are “hibernating” under the belly fat.

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