Goodbye winter belly
Goodbye winter belly

Chances are, as with most winters, you exercised less than you would have liked and ate more comfort foods than you should have.

The cold months make it hard to roll out of bed in the morning for exercise. It's much more tempting to stay indoors, cosy and perhaps nestled up with a yummy treat.

Excuses aside, it's time to get back into exercise regimes that have lapsed, cleanse the pantry of sugary snacks and get motivated.

Spring is almost here. Let's shift that winter belly.

Mind+Body asked some of Perth's fitness experts their secrets to moving a flabby tummy - and you may be shocked to learn they say don't bother doing excessive sit ups, skipping meals or cutting out rest time.

Why it happens

The reasons for gaining excess weight on the belly over winter can vary from person to person. Generally, it's a combination of not moving enough and not eating the right nutritious foods.

Chris Wilson, manager at Renouf Personal Training, says a spike in cortisol levels from a diet full of high sugar and complex carbohydrates can result in poor sleep and cravings for unhealthy food. Stress, he says, is also a primary culprit for an increase in cortisol levels.

"Cortisol breaks down lean muscle and holds on to fat storage in the abdominal region," he says.

"Some studies show that the stress caused by dieting can increase cortisol levels, which means there is no change in belly fat even with a calorie restriction."

How To Exercise

"Unfortunately spot reduction, or exercising one area continually, doesn't mean you're going to lose fat from that area," Paul Jazwinski, owner at X-Training, says.

"Doing a million sit-ups won't mean you lose weight off your stomach."

It's important to ensure your workout is well-rounded, with both cardio and resistance exercises included in your regime.

"I definitely recommend a combination of resistance, cardio and core exercises," Matt Hodgson, co-owner at F45 Training West Leederville, says.

"It keeps the client motivated and energised."

What To Eat

Keep it simple and don't go crazy cutting things out of your diet. The most important cuts to make are processed sugars and complex carbohydrates - that's foods such as pasta, rice, white bread and more obvious treats such as lollies and chocolates. Stop buying these items as part of your weekly supermarket shop and they won't be at home to tempt you.

"Eat real foods and know what you're eating," Mr Jazwinski says.

"Read your labels and if one of the first two ingredients is sugar, don't put it in your trolley."

For a trim tummy, Mr Jazwinski recommends eating fewer refined carbohydrates and avoiding processed and diet foods as much as possible. Instead increase your vegetable, protein and water intake.

The West Australian

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