A flat belly doesn't require long hours in the gym.
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Just as it takes time to put on weight, it takes time to burn it off. Miracle reduction plans simply don't work, and dropping pounds too quickly puts your health at risk. But you can get a flat tummy in relatively short order without spending hours in the gym every day. Experts generally recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate cardio and two strength-training sessions a week. By slightly adjusting this workout routine, you can speed up your progress, no gym necessary. Save your money for a snug tank top to show off your trim tummy.
Aim for a maximum weight loss of 2 pounds per week. Anything faster can be hard to maintain long-term and, according to the Weight-Control Information Network, can trigger gallstones and lead to nutritional deficiencies. Reach a daily deficit of 1,000 calories through diet and exercise to lose 2 pounds a week.
Focus on reducing total body fat. Forget about spot reduction, which doesn't work. You must lose weight all over to trim the excess fat from your belly.
Integrate high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, into two non-consecutive days of the week. According to study findings published in "Medicine in Science in Sports and Exercise," HIIT can effectively reduce belly fat. HIIT takes but 22 minutes, which can include a five-minute warm-up and cool-down, and 12 minutes of alternating between short bursts of moderate and vigorous cardiovascular exercise. For instance, jog for two minutes before bursting into a sprint for one minute. You can also do intervals while jumping rope, walking briskly or riding a bike.
Perform circuit training on two to three non-consecutive days of the week. Weight training stimulates muscle tissue and burns calories for optimal results. Set up at least six strength-training stations and work through them, performing one set of each exercise with just 15 to 30 seconds of rest in between. Target your major muscle groups, and include exercises that you can do at home. For instance, perform squats, planks, pushups, crunches, lunges, and chest and overhead presses with dumbbells, water bottles or food cans. Initially, finish one cycle; as you get stronger, aim to do two to three cycles.
Clean up your diet to reduce calories from food. Consume lean protein such as skinless chicken, fish and turkey. Eat filling whole grains and a variety of veggies and fruits, and choose reduced-fat dairy products over full-fat dairy products. Limit foods with added sugar, starch, flour and salt, and practice portion control. Avoid skipping meals, because this might trigger hunger and binges later.
See your doctor before starting an exercise and diet regimen, especially if you suffer from a medical condition or injury, or have been inactive for a while.