How to Shed Belly Fat without Crunches

Posted On Oct 8, 2014 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

How to beat belly fat without crunches

"I want to lose the spare tire around my middle, but I hate crunches." I hear this frequently from my clients when I ask them what their goals are and what they'd like to get out of our sessions together.

Of course, it goes deeper than losing their midriff fluff. It also includes things like being able to tie their shoes; bend over more easily to pick up their toddler; or not feeling like they have to suck it in every time they take a photo.

In addition, carrying extra weight around the middle, as opposed to around hips and thighs, increases the risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and weight-related cancers like colon and breast cancer.

But I have good news for you! You can stop doing crunches, sit-ups and the abdominal curl machine. Here's a list of five more effective ways to shed belly fat.

  1. Be real about your diet — Staying under your total calorie needs every day will help you shed excess fat.
  2. And your alcohol intake — The notorious beer belly is a real thing, although it should be called booze belly since it doesn't matter what type of alcohol you drink. Excess calories from all types of alcohol are more easily stored as fat around the midsection.
  3. Manage stress — That six-letter word can make your body better at storing fat and less effective at dropping pounds, especially around your midsection. This is rooted from our caveman days when humans needed to store extra energy in times of stress because they were usually faced with physical stress requiring more energy rather than modern day emotional and psychological stresses.
  4. Get your heart rate up — Recommendations vary drastically for how much and how often you need to do aerobic or cardio exercise. It depends a lot on your starting point too, so I'm going to refrain from making any recommendations. It's all about how many TOTAL calories you burn, not how many crunches or sit-ups you do. If you're breathing hard during weights or strength training, this counts as cardio too!
  5. Stop Slouching — Check your posture. Focus on sitting up straight while working or doing daily activities. Without knowing it, you'll be using your abdominal and lower back muscles.

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