If you're constantly doing crunches to get a six-pack, you may be going about things the wrong way. Trainer Autumn Calabrese, creator of the 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme fitness and nutrition programs, shares four effective tips to help you fight belly fat and keep it off. We love that these are basic, fundamental tips that anyone can incorporate into their lives.
Eat Whole Foods
Calabrese is all about fueling your body with proper nutrients through all-natural "whole foods you recognize." We're talking fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein. For breakfast, she recommends steel-cut oatmeal with almond butter and strawberries. And for snacks, instead of reaching for crackers or chips, nosh on fresh fruit and veggies.
Calabrese told POPSUGAR that it's so important to remain consistent with your exercise and nutrition. "By exercising three to five days per week and eating healthy, you can help fight belly bulge," she said. "Every body responds differently and in a different amount of time. You can expect to see changes as fast as the first week of eating healthy and exercising consistently." Monitoring your progress by tracking your weight, how your clothes fit, or with monthly photos will keep you on track.
"Eating clean, healthy foods is a huge step in the right direction, but if you want less belly fat, we need to burn calories and build lean muscle," said Calabrese. What type of workouts does she recommend? "I'm a big fan of cardio strength training. It's a workout style where you are using weights in your workout and the type of exercises that you perform combined with the weights keep your heart rate in a cardio zone." And you don't need to exercise all day long. "If you really push during your workout, you can keep it to 30 minutes." Her 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs feature workouts like these.
Avoid Processed Foods
Calabrese reminds us that "eating processed food leads to excess belly fat," so if you're serious about slimming your middle, say no to "sugar, sodas, chemically altered fats, and packaged, fried, and preserved foods."