How To Get Rid Of A Beer Gut

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If you made it all the way through Christmas, New Year and (dry) January while sticking to a clean diet and a strict exercise plan well then I tip my hat to you because I, like many others, didn't. I indulged in plenty of pints and takeaways and didn't stick to my intention of making the first month of the year an alcohol-free one. Unfortunately now, all those beers and the Just Eat app have started to add up around my midriff.

 

Not just an inevitable sign of ageing, a rim of fat around the middle is most likely the result of my recent overindulgence. Not only is beer highly calorific (an average of 180 calories per pint) but after a few too many you're highly likely to pay a visit to the chipper and pick up something greasy (and delicious) on the way home. Not to mention the hangover food that follows the next day. If this sounds all too familiar then there's a good chance that you too are battling the bloat.

 

I for one, refuse to accept my fate as a long-term beer belly owner so I've done research and put together some simple tips to help tackle that guy, and trim up for the shirtless season.

 

Sleep

 

Lack of sleep can be a massive driver of weight gain. Sleep deprivation leads to consequential behaviours that make us put on weight, such as eating energy boosting junk food to compensate for the fact that we're tired and not being motivated to exercise due to fatigue. If this sounds familiar then make a point of going to bed and getting up at regular routine times and leaving tea, coffee, soft drinks and scrolling Instagram on your phone until the morning.

 

Tweak Your Diet

 

You're going to have to reduce your calorie intake to see a difference in your weight, but it's important that you don't try to take it to the extreme. If you stop eating, your body will kick into survival mode, meaning your metabolism slows down and your body will fight to keep hold of every last calorie. So instead of starving yourself, try fueling your body with decent, natural foods like whole grains, lean meat and green vegetables, so that your metabolism isn't desperately searching for that next calorie hit. We also have a tendency to gorge after a prolonged period of hunger, so the more you starve, the more likely you are to crack and end up in a heap of sweet wrappers, crumbs and regrets.

 

Stand Up For Yourself

 

That little bit of extra timber you're carrying might look worse than it actually is. If you have a tilted pelvis, where your abdominal muscles are weak and your lower back is tight and sore, then it will make your belly stick out even more. This is usually brought on by having to sit at a desk all day and not doing any strengthening exercises around it. So firstly, try to make sure you get up from your desk and walk around every twenty minutes or so. When you're in the gym, devote some time to mobility, making sure to stretch out your hamstrings in particular (tight hammys effect your posture). Hanging from a pull up will also help your posture. If you cant lash out even 3 pull-ups then don't worry. Simply hanging for 30 seconds and rotating the pelvis will help loosen you up, helping you to stand up straight and appear leaner.

 

Hit The Weights

 

Speaking of the gym, it's very important that you don't completely ignore the weight rack in favour of endless hours of cardio (although there will be a bit of that too, don't worry). If you're looking to burn fat and eradicate that beer belly once and for all then you're going to need a quick and efficient metabolism. The easiest way of achieving this is to lift weights and add muscle, as your body will need to burn more calories in order to feed those muscles. Research has shown that your body's metabolism can be increased for up to 48 hours after a weight-training workout.

 

Switch Up Your Tipple

 

As mentioned, the average pint of beer contains about 180 calories, whereas a vodka and soda contain a mere 64 calories, which is a pretty significant difference. You can still enjoy that wonderful blend of hops, water, malt and yeast from time to time but if you want to get rid of that belly fat without having to do dry (insert current month) then you're going to need to find a new signature drink on a night out.

 

Cheat – Once A Week

 

This goes against all logic when it comes to losing belly fat, but falling off the wagon can actually be a good thing for your battle against the bulge. The theory behind ‘cheat meals' is that by occasionally increasing your calorific intake for a day or two, you're making sure that your body doesn't get used to a standard routine, which can cause your metabolism to plateau. Another benefit of cheat meals is that it takes away some of the mental strain that comes with sticking to a diet and reduces the likelihood that you'll crack and binge on the bad stuff.

 

Hit The HIIT Class

 

The one aspect of fitness that many struggle to understand is that the amount of time-spent training doesn't automatically correlate with best results. As mentioned, you don't have to spend endless hours on a treadmill or an exercise bike to lose that gut – train smart and try HIIT. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a method that sees you work as hard as you can for short periods of time, resulting in increased lung capacity, higher levels of endurance and increased metabolism.

Patrick McLoughney