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Best way to get rid of the belly

So my legs look great, arms toning up nicely, shoulders defined, starting to get a jaw back instead of a bag of jelly babies. But one thing remains. The Belly.

Anybody got any good training tips to get rid of it. I think wshen I compete they should give everybody else a ruck sack with half a leg of lamb in a rucksack to carry round, and see how easy it is to win lol.

I have tried dieting on Indians, Chinese and Fish and Chips (Only kidding) I have tried dieting but that leaves me feeling knackered for training. I needs me meats!!

Mayve situps. I don't know. Anybody any ideas



  • I know some very fit guys with bellies so the two can be combined. I was always told that you can't decide where to lose fat; targeting exercise to a specific part of the body won't shift the fat in that bit of the body. So sit ups will help with your core strength but they won't shift the tum.

    The advice that I get from army PTIs (physical training instructors) about losing weight is really simple. Eat the right food, drink plenty of water make sure calories in are less than calories out and don't try to lose weight quickly.

    I decided to increase my activity levels (hence getting into tris) and stop looking at the scales. I've lost quite a bit of weight over the last 3 months or so. I still look like Dhafid from Little Britain in my Tri suit though :-(
  • WellaWella Posts: 188

    Unfortunately you can't spot reduce fat. Unless you are willing to pay thousands of pounds on Harley Street.

    Its bloke genetics i'm afraid. The first places most men put fat on is the gut and then the chest, which means when you lose weight its tha last to come off.

    I lost about 3 stone doings weights prior to starting Tri. Since I started training for triathlons I have put a stone back on and I've never trained this hard in my life. I also ran my first marathon this year and even managed to put weight on doing that.

    The key is diet. I went into training overload and at the same time work got really busy so I found myself working long hours as well. My solution was to eat, and eat, and eat however I ate crap during the latter half of the day.

    This year I've done a couple of sprints and I'm now training for Dorney Challeneg on 1st July and London Olympic. My strategy for the next 7 weeks will be a clean diet, consuming between 2000 and 2500 calories a day. I'm also maxing my training times and effort to really burn some calories. I hoping a combination of these two will have the effect they are supposed to and shift the spare tyre that i've got back. I'm also cutting out alcohol until Dorney, may be even until London if I can cope.

    As James said, you can be fit and overweight but having read your other post about running speeds if you can crack the training and the diet together you'll lose weight and speed up.

    Good luck with it all. Perhaps we should post updates for the next 7 weeks as a bit of motivation?

  • MikeyBMikeyB Posts: 135
    Wella is right - you can't spot reduce fat.

    The only way to get rid of the belly is by using more calories than you take in. So lots of training and eat sensible healthy food. Eventually it will go - at least thats what I keep telling myself.


  • Jason

    All the girls in my club keep asking my seceret to my weight loss. I lost two stone with Gregor's slim fast plan. Train like f*** in the morning and train like f*** in the evening and the weight seems to fall off. I have also become obsessional about what I eat. I mainly watch my fat intake keeping it as low as possible. I have also cut out the booze and that seems to have made a difference. I have really turned into a completely boring b******. But I look great for it!

  • handyrobhandyrob Posts: 31
    Id echo pretty much what everyone above said really. Cut out the alcohol (i know, its difficult) keep up the training and it will work. You may want to look at reducing the amount of carbs your eat when you arent close to competing as this encourages more fat burning but obviously you wont have quite the same energy levels. Also, eat 6 small meals a day to keep your metabolism burning, I use protein shakes to do the same thing

    Other than that you could try cling film, a corset or expensive cosmetic surgery!!
  • Iain MIain M Posts: 9

    As a fat boy rugby player I know exactly where you're coming from. I totally agree with some of the earlier responses. It is all about making sure you are consuming less fat than your body needs to work. The BMA recomends that a healthy adult male consumes no more than 90g of fat a day and so if you take this as your start point if you consume less than 90g a day your body will use your stored fat as fuel / lubricant / snot etc.

    Calorie control is the other biggy, if you consume less calories than you burn you will lose weight. The down side of this is you will lose muscle tissue as well as fat (like all forms of diet) as muscle is an easier tissue for the body to break down to use as fuel. This can be counteracted to some extent by ensuring you are consuming sufficiant ammounts of protein - genarally agreed is between 1.5-2g per kg of body weight per day. That sounds a lot but try protein drinks to get over the tuna overdose.

    I've read lots of reports on low intensity cardio being the key to trimming off the last few pounds of man breast and beer gut (men's health, men's fitness etc) as the idea is a greater proportin of calories burned are derived from body fat when exercising with a lower heart rate. I'm not convinced on this since you are burning more calories when doing high intensity cardio and so you will still burn more 'fat' calories on high intensity exercise even though they are a smaller proportion of the calories burned total.

    The key is to take the key points from all three of these approaches

    1) Cut down on your fat intake - try to stay under 50g of fat a day,

    2) Make sure you don't consume more calories than you are actually using , eat enough protein to maintain muscle mass.

    3) Keep up the the high/medium/low intensity excersise

    4) Drink less beer - usless extra calories that tend to be stored as fat.

    I think that may be too long an answer - sorry
  • handyrobhandyrob Posts: 31
    Yeah, dont think low intensity cardio will get rid of your belly. Bust a gut (pardon the pun) with your cardio and you will do more damage to your resistant belly. Also, you need to perform 20 minutes minimum cardio to start burning fat, and probably no longer than 45-60 minutes,otherwise you start breaking down your muscles as a primary energy source.

    My tip would be to drink 2 litres of water every day, I think it keeps your liver hydrated which is where you metabolise fats to be used as an energy source.
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    From my own experience, triathlon training and racing is an excellent calorie burner and can provide a sensible, sustainable all-round form of aerobic exercise.

    Additionally, doing abdominal and lower back exercises (my preferences lean towards pilates) will mean that, when you do lose the weight and the flab comes off, you will reveal a strong set of well-defined abs. Abdominal exercises are always a good thing to do, anyway, as they really can help provide a strong core for your other activities, connecting and supporting the other parts of your body that get more heavily used.
  • hound doghound dog Posts: 293
    On another note re- handyrobs reply, although I can go through a lot of water when Im training/competing but try as I might I cant drink that amount of water on a normal day! I think I read somewhere that too much water actually flushes some improtant nutrients out of your body...any views on this?
  • Iain MIain M Posts: 9
    The two litres applies to all fluids so anything non diuretic counts. I've not heard the bit about flushing out nutrients but there was an article in 220 last month about overhydration during races and training - i'm sure someone will tell me what the medical term is. The only problem I get from drinking two litres of water a day is having to go to the toilet with the frequency of an incontinent geriatric (no offence intended to any incontinent geriatrics out there).
  • With regard to fluid intake, the armed forces are very hot on this and urination is a key indicator of how well the soldiers' "water discipline" is.

    Basically you are taught to make sure that your soldiers are going quite often and than it is the colour of pale white wine. Firefighters have a colour chart in their urinals which tells you if you need to increase your fluid intake.

    "pale and plentiful" are the two words that should stick in your mind when thinking about you fluid management.

  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Ok are you ready for a "no holds barred" treatise on weight loss?

    I write as a once 85kg fat boy who rowed at lightweight 67kg at elite club level and low end international level, and as a biochemist who used this knowledge to shift the 18kg.

    Firstly I would reccommend that you get a copy of cycling weekly from a few weeks ago with an article entitled "how I lost 9 stone to turn pro" it has good non-medical reccommended advice.

    Firstly get a few truths into your head and accept them.

    1. Energy out (work) must be less than energy in (food)

    2. It takes time for your body to adjust and this adjustment time is hell

    3. Avoid ALL Fatty foods

    4. Avoid ALL alcohol


    6. Weght loss like high end sport is not officially good for you - but in reality it is excellent for you.

    7. You cannot target where the weight will be shed from. That is largley dependant on body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph) and on how fat you are.

    Right in order to do it the "extreme way" :The first 6 weeks are the worst, you have to starve yourself in order to 1. make your stomach physically smaller so you wont want to eat as much, and 2. to get your metabolism changed to running on less fuel.

    Keep up or even increase the exercise - plenty of long slow distance 60 -100 minute running (running is best as it is weight bearing) or 4 hour plus cycling.

    After exercise go straight to bed (no shower until the morning!).

    At this stage there will be severe hunger pangs, you'll feel weak and very tetchy but YOU MUST PERSERVERE as this is where your body is trying to wriggle out of it. At this stage you can use any tricks and incentives to keep going that work for you (clear your larder).

    Drink plenty of water and eat fruit and other very high fibre food as this fills your stomachup but has little or no calorific value (all it does is bluff your body into thinking that is being fed)

    Eat one meal per day Breakfast I used black coffee jam and 5 cracottes and actively avoid all food throughoput the day save for sweet black tea/coffee and nutrigrain bars, at for tea take soup and wheaten bread.

    As for "I needs me meats" read i want my cake and eat it, meat is fatttening you do not need it you will survive without it. I'm not a hippy vegan infact I'm from a hard ass farming background where all that stuff is laughed at - and you can live without meat if you want to.

    Do this for 6 weeks and then reassess your diet & lifestyle and you'll never look back, it's not easy it's not for the half hearted it's not healthy but it does work!
  • Iain MIain M Posts: 9

    No offence but what you have just written is a pile of old cack. Are you trying to kill him or just give him anorexia. I watched a programme on BBC2 last month called the persuit of size Zero which contained all these diet tips to make you look like heroin fuelled near death super model.

    "meat is fattening and you do not need it" what the hell are you talking about - turkey, chicken and pork are all very low in both saturated and unsaturated fats and provide both protien and amino acids to help build and maintain muscle.

    How does biochemistry give you any insight into sports nutrition?

    Get a grip.

    I know this is a rant but the coffee machine is broken in my office........
  • Treefrog,

    I'm not sure about the fast weight loss idea.

    I have worked with military physical trainers and they always say that if it is either quick or easy then it isn't sustainable. Work and time are the two biggest factors.

    If you just sudenly stop eating your body goes into starvation mode and becomes more efficient at storing fat when it does get excess calories. Retraining your body to expect less food takes time, dropping your calorific intake by a few % at a time will ensure that you are less likely to binge at some point.

    Whenever I have been properly slim and fit it has been at the hands of Army PTIs and I take their advice seriously.

  • If were not carefule we are going to need to rename the forum the annorexic help group!

    Seriously, I am glad that there are others out there that are as obsessive as me when it comes to healthy eating.
  • Iain MIain M Posts: 9
    Cheers James

    That's a much more scientific response. It was still a big old pile of cack!
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    For what it's worth, my cousin did one of those super-fast losing weight programmes about 10 years ago, when he wanted to lose about 50-65 pounds (sorry, I'm American and I can't think in stones, only just recently got my head around kilos) for his wedding. He consulted a doctor, worked with a trainer at his gym every day, kept a daily diary of calories in and calories out, and had weekly check-ups with his doctor. He lost 75 pounds in about 10 weeks, which was slightly more than he thought he would lose. he stunned everybody at his wedding with his new, slim figure and looked like a totally different person. He said he felt great, he said the doctor gave him a clean bill of health and he promised to maintain a more healthy diet and exercise regimen.

    There's more: within 6 months of his wedding he had put back on all the weight, plus a little extra. He struggled and yo-yo'd around with his weight, regularly fluctuating by 20 pounds every few months. Within 5 years of his wedding, he had heart surgery (I think it was a double-bypass). At the age of 42.

    I did a lot of reading and had several debates with my family members (I come from a family of very, very overweight people, but I am adopted and so have none of their genetic material to contend with) about all of this. It seems that the medical consensus is that the WORST thing you can do to your body is yo-yo up and down with weight losses and gains of more than 10 pounds (some medical reports put this as low as 5 pounds, but there is much more consensus for 10 pounds). Yes, that's right: it is better not to lose that 10-20 pounds than it is to lose it and then gain it back.

    Of course, there is also a lot of agreement that many adults in the developing world could stand to lose 10-20 pounds to get themselves back into a healthier weight zone. So, the best solution is to find a way that you can lose the weight AND keep it off, for the long run. For most people, that will echo what JamesCleverly and the PTIs have said, "If it's too quick and too easy, it won't last." That means accepting some fundamental changes in your lifestyle around the ways in which you eat and exercise, which you can live with for the rest of your life. Do a Google search (and remember that anyone can write anything on the Internet and sound official, so take it with a grain of salt and get lots of different sources of info), talk to your doctor, seek advice from professionals, and ask your friends who have done those things what they like and don't like.

    And, I imagine, that's one of the many things that has drawn most of us to this wonderful world of triathlon - not just the oddly unfashionable lycra that we get to wear on special occasions.
  • llllllll Posts: 2

    As another rather large former rugby player attaching a leg of lamb to the more svelte athletes sounds like a great idea! Better still what about weight handicapping then I can eat all the pies I want [8D] and no need to worry about the belly............ I might even be able to give the world champ a run for his money if we strapped an extra 10 stone to his back........
  • BoycieBoycie Posts: 189
    I can't believe that response from Treefrog and agree with Ian totally. I think every bit of advice given there is bad. The article surely must have been "how not to lose weight" or been a joke.

  • rpopper65 wrote:

    And, I imagine, that's one of the many things that has drawn most of us to this wonderful world of triathlon - not just the oddly unfashionable lycra that we get to wear on special occasions.

    What on earth are you talking about!!!!!! Special occasions?!?!?!?!?!?

    I wear my tri suit every day!

    Is that sad?


  • PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    I've managed to lose a stone whilst continuing regular alcohol consumption and a good diet but by no means slavishly avoiding pastry, butter, curries etc.

    Interestingly, for those horrified at having to lower their booze intake, I read recently that wine & beer have similar calorific contents. Beer drinkers tend to get beer bellies because (a) wine drinkers tend to be better educated and hence know the benefit of a better diet and (b) wine drinkers tend not to spill out of the sofa and into their local chipper or kebab shop. I used to never drink at home but since the kids arrived I reckon I drink a bit at home most nights, and more than a bit at least once a weekend.

    My mate and I noted prior to Windsor that our preparation had been poor. I had an all night work related party in Spain on the Monday, followed by 2 days' travel, and he had been on the lash on Friday. I joked that we should be well prepared as 90% of our training had been done with a hangover!

    I used to run 4 or 5 miles 3 times a week and rarely lost any weight. I started cycling to and from work daily (15-16 miles a day) and after about a month I lost half a stone. The other half a stone came off when I added decent quality runs and then swimming to the mix. I'd probably lose another quarter to half a stone if I was anal about my diet but it's decent enough & life's too short. If I stopped biking to work I'd put the weight on again I'm sure.

    I think you can be scientific about it but it really is all about regular, good quality exercise. I agree with rpopper65 about a good core. Core strengthening and general conditioning will be a focus for me.
  • PC67 wrote:

    I used to run 4 or 5 miles 3 times a week and rarely lost any weight. I started cycling to and from work daily (15-16 miles a day) and after about a month I lost half a stone. The other half a stone came off when I added decent quality runs and then swimming to the mix.

    I put on the weight when I stopped excercising most days. Now that I bike to and from work I have an exercise base of 1 - 1.5 hours a day 4-5 days a week. With anything else I do sat on top of this. The weight is slipping off nicely.

  • TheMonkTheMonk Posts: 10
    I’m going to shoe horn this topic back on track. If you have a belly it will most likely go over time if you want to do massive amounts of sit ups so when it finally goes you look like a wash board straight away, then by all means do so. Eat sensibly, ignore diets be happy.

  • LuckyLucky Posts: 137
    TheMonk wrote:
    Eat sensibly, ignore diets be happy.

    Fully agree with this, also it's hard to train loads and diet... (or is it just me ?)

  • PC67PC67 Posts: 101
    If you drink lots of pale white wine will your pee be the colour of pale white wine? Sounds a good way to pass the hydration test to me.
  • rpopper65rpopper65 Posts: 171
    Lucky wrote:

    Fully agree with this, also it's hard to train loads and diet... (or is it just me ?)

    It depends on what we mean by "diet". If you cut down on "empty calories" (cakes, biscuits, sweets, processed grains in white bread, white pasta, white rice) and replace them with more nutritional stuff (fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, whole grains in wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, rolled oats) then you are still getting the calories you need to train AND you are getting more of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.

    Even if you don't want to be too hardcore about it, let's say you just decide that you're going to cut out eating unhealthy snacks during the day (you know, the biscuits and sweets with the cup of coffee or between meals when you are in a hurry and feeling very hungry) and you'll replace those snacks with a piece of fruit. (1) You might surprise yourself and find that an apple is more filling in your stomach than a candy bar and (2) you'll probably find that you end up consuming fewer calories through the day, but not so significant that you are going to start feeling weak and unable to train. We're not necessarily talking about lettuce and dry rice cakes here.

    A 200 gram apple contains about 120 calories (depending on the variety). A 200 gram banana, on average, contains about 170 calories. A 56 gram Twix bar contains about 280 calories. A 15 gram biscuit (and whoever eats just one?) contains about 75 calories. Every time you get hungry and you think of reaching for a candy bar or a pack of biscuits, you could instead eat a piece of fruit. That one piece of fruit will satisfy your hunger much better and for much longer than a candy bar or small stack of biscuits. The fresh fruit will give you vitamins, fibre, live enzymes, and some minerals (wash the apples, so they also don't give you pesticides and stuff). The only additional thing that the candy or the biscuits will give you is fat. No fat in fruit.

    Who knows, you may even develop a real taste for it and start to look forward to the points of the year when fresh figs are in season, those juicy mangoes from Pakistan come to your local fruit shop, and the British strawberries are at their absolute peak, instead of discovering that Ben & Jerry have just released a new flavour. Or maybe that's just me and I'm too far gone to notice.

    Anyway, you don't have to be a fanatic about nutrition to see that you can still eat, keep satisfying those hunger pangs, keep your activity at a healthy level, but make slow and steady adjustments to your eating habits that will make you feel better and perform better in the long run.
  • TurtleTurtle Posts: 29

    Be patient. Enjoy life. Do a full Ironman. That'll get rid of some unwanted calories. Google for David Markham's training manual. Do some intense cardio for an hour before breakfast. The cross-trainer worked well for me.

  • Stu-munStu-mun Posts: 8

    turtle is right there. ive been training for ironman since christmas i've lost three stone and look nails. Ive fuelled well for training but also wolfed down shed loads of food. And more importantly the old strongbow, guiness and rose have had a tuning when the need arose.Train like F**K


  • Rich_CRich_C Posts: 152

    These are my few tips on the matter. Im no expert at all but have experience in coaching athletes, mostly bodybuilders on diet ETC.

    1. Increase the protien in your diet and lower the carbs. keep fats at around 15% of the diet. 35% protien, 50% carbs and 15 % fat is a good healthy starting point.

    2. Your body burns fat when doing long steady exercise , rather than 'balls out' effort level. hence some very fit guys still have quite high bodyfat.

    3. Lowering the calorie intake works best when its lowered slightly, IE 500 cals a day less than required to stay in stasis and give out the energy required for the days exercise. Crash diets work for very short periods but the body responds to the sudden loss in weight by the process of 'Homostasis', which means it alters the metablolism to cope accordingly and thus you eat little but lose next to nothing. People on hunger strikes are a good example of this!

    4. Every 5 days or so eat the normal cal intake to 'trick' the body. You can only work with Mother nature not fight her all the time.

    5. Few people can hack extreme diets, or even very hard diets and often it can cause depression and weakness or even illness. loss of interest in training, work and personal life often go hand in hand with hard diets.

    6. Caffiene is probably the best legal fat burner there is and it raises the bodies temperature to assist in burning fat/calories. 200Mgs of caffiene before training is no bad thing at all,

    Nothing new or remarkable there i know![:D] But I thought id post as Ive seen quite a few people (myself included) who have suffered from throwing themselves in to very hard to maintain diets/lifestyles.

  • Hi all,

    This is one of those discussions that goes on forever. Being a bit of a porker myself i know what it is like to seek the magic quick fix to no man boobs and a six pack. After much reading, research and trying everything from pills to no taste foods i have at last found something that is working. Well it works for me anyway.

    It is true that you can't spot reduce fat, but the debate into the protein/carb/fat mix varies dramatically from one expert to the next. I found something called the GL diet after reading about evolution of all things, and it made sense. Even without sticking to it religously i am losing fat. I would recommend that anyone looking to trim down a bit, and have more energy, and not feel hungry have a look at it.

    I mean what is there to lose apart from the fat?

    Good luck.

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