You’re not genetically cursed.
You don’t need to do special exercises.
Your hormones are probably fine.
You’re not eating the “wrong” foods (no, sugar isn’t the problem).
You don’t need to give up carbs.
The reality is you could follow every “thin belly” rule mainstream “gurus” prescribe…perform every “belly flattening” exercise on the Internet…eliminate every possible “hormone clogging” food…bid every form of sugar a sad farewell…and subject yourself to the doldrums of low-carb living…
…and still have handfuls of ugly belly fat for the rest of your life.
It doesn’t have to be like this, though.
No matter your genetics or hormones, you can have the lean, ripped stomach you desire. And it can be easier than you ever thought possible…if you know exactly what you’re doing and why.
And that knowledge begins with a physiological understanding of how “fat burning” actually works.
When we talk about “burning fat,” what we’re actually talking about is a two-part process consisting of lipolysis and oxidation.
Lipolysis is the process whereby fat cells release molecules of stored energy (fatty acids) into the blood and oxidation is the process whereby cells utilize (or “burn”) those fatty acids.
The body’s primary method of stimulating lipolysis is the production of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are known as catecholamines.
These chemicals enter your blood, travel to fat cells, and attach themselves at certain points known as receptors.
Once they attach to fat cells, catecholamines trigger the release of the fatty acids stored within. Other cells are then able to use these fatty acids as fuel.
Now, all that isn’t exactly news to many people, but most don’t know that fat cells aren’t all made alike. Some respond well to catecholamines and some don’t.
If you’ve dieted for any period of time, you’ve experienced this. Certain areas of your body, like your chest, arms, and face, tighten up quickly but others, like your belly, hip, and thighs, seem to not change at all.
The primary reason for this boils down to one simple fact…
Fat cells contain two types of receptors for catecholamines that are diametrically opposed in function.
These are known as alpha- and beta-receptors and while the physiology is quite complex, it boils down to this: alpha-receptors hinder lipolysis and beta-receptors trigger it.
Thus, fat cells with a high amount of beta-receptors are relatively easy to mobilize whereas those with a high amount of alpha-receptors aren’t.
This is why, when you start a fat loss regimen, you see immediate results in certain areas of your body like your chest, arms, and face, but next-to-nothing in other areas like your stomach, hips, and thighs.
One of the primary reasons why certain fat stores, like belly fat, are so “stubborn” is the fat cells themselves are very resistant to mobilization (they contain many more alpha-receptors than beta).
So, now that you know why belly fat tends to hang on for dear life when you’re cutting, let’s look at some strategies for defeating its “defenses” and burning it away.
The 5 Biggest Belly Fat Loss Myths
If you Google around for belly fat loss tips, you’re going to wind up reading a lot of bullshit.
Here’s a quick antidote…
You can’t preferentially “target” belly fat for elimination.
No amount of crunches or planks or anything else are going to directly burn the fat away.
There are no individual foods that help or harm the process.
The belly bulge isn’t caused by high-glycemic carbs or “processed foods” or dairy, and no amount of “healthy fats” are going to get rid of it.
Your meal frequency isn’t the problem.
Eating many small meals per day doesn’t “stoke the metabolic fire” and eating fewer, larger meals doesn’t send your body into “starvation mode.”
Eating late at night isn’t the problem, either.
Eating the majority of your daily calories early or late has no effect on weight loss parameters or body composition.
Stress isn’t the culprit.
Stress can promote behaviors that lead to weight gain but can’t directly cause it through hormonal imbalances or any other mechanisms.
Fortunately, losing belly fat is much simpler than many people would have you believe. There are really only two things that you need to know to get rid of ugly belly fat once and for all:
1. You need to reduce your overall body fat percentage.
This is, really, what it all comes down to.
Reduce your body fat percentage to 10% (men) or 20% (women) and the bulk of your belly fat will be gone. And every bit leaner you get from there means even less to pinch on your waist.
2. You can use certain diet, training, and supplementation strategies to help you burn fat faster and mobilize belly fat better.
Given the first point, anything you do that accelerates fat loss in general is going to also accelerate the loss the stubborn fat.
There are, however, a couple specifics things you can do to help your body better get at and get rid of stubborn fat in particular, including belly fat.
Combine both of these strategies–faster fat loss and better fat cell mobilization–and you have an extremely effective stubborn fat loss routine.