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Author: Sean

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The Anatomy of a Beer Belly

Anatomy of a Beer BellyNowadays we see the infamous beer belly just about everywhere. More and more men have them and most want to get rid of them. Some pop up in just a few weeks over the holiday season and most end up hanging around for the rest of your life.

The Beer Belly is a fashion trend that everyone would love to avoid and with the ever expanding North American waistlines fewer are able to make it through their 20’s without one.

In today’s post we’re going to dissect, so to speak, what makes up a beer gut and 3 important steps you can take immediately to drastically reduce the inflatable tire around your mid-section.

To defeat the beast we must first understand it, get to know it and figure out what makes it tick. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of a beer belly.
 

Visceral Fat is Beer Belly Fat

 
The fat located around your internal organs and not the stuff next to your skin is responsible for your beer gut. The over accumulation of visceral fat causes weakening of the transverse abdominal muscle (TVA) and is responsible for the protruding potbelly appearance associated with a beer gut.

Normally, your organs have a thin layer of visceral fat in order to protect and insulate them. An over accumulation of visceral fat gives that firm, hardened beer belly look and can be very dangerous to your health.

Visceral fat is one of the hardest adipose tissues to get rid of but it can be done.
 

Subcutaneous Fat is Not Beer Belly Fat

 
The fat underneath your skin is subcutaneous fat and although it looks bad, flops around a bit and can increase the size of your beer gut- it is not the main cause of your beer belly.

Subcutaneous fat is deposited in various fat stores around your body. Typically men deposit fat around their midsection first (beer belly and love handles) and back, chest, thighs and ass secondly. Women deposit subcutaneous fat in their hips, thighs and butt first and beer belly second.

Your genetics play a major role in determining the distribution of subcutaneous fat. Subcutaneous fat is easier to lose than visceral fat. Typically it is used as energy storage and insulation by the body. Unfortunately in today’s day and age, due to over-consumption of refined sugars and starches there is an over accumulation of subcutaneous fat. We are storing way more energy than we are using and this is not a good thing.
 

Beer Belly Health Risks

 
Beer bellies that measure 40 inches or greater are directly related to some serious health conditions. Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and increased risk of stroke are all more prevalent in men with beer bellies. These conditions are no laughing matter and worst-case scenario can lead to an early death.

Add 6 inches to the 40 already around your waist and your beer gut falls into the category of abdominal obesity. Yep- you’re not just the guy with the big beer gut anymore, you are clinically obese. Time to do something about it.
 

How can I tell if my beer belly is visceral fat?

 
Because visceral fat is packed deep inside and around your internal organs there is no easy way to tell how much a person might have. The most accurate way to gauge your visceral fat level is by CT scan but that isn’t always an option for everyone.

To start, a “beer gut” is a pretty good indication of visceral fat accumulation. Secondly, men tend to internalize visceral fat more easily than women do. Thirdly, Caucasians tend to have more than African Americans. And lastly the older you are- the more fat you internalize and store around your organs versus subcutaneously when you are young.

Either way- fat tissue is fat tissue and it is important to reduce the amount you have throughout your body. Here are 3 simple steps you can take to reduce your beer gut and overall body fat percentage:
 

3 Simple Steps to Lose Your Beer Belly

 
1. Stop eating anything in a bag or box.

When trying to lose your beer belly you should avoid processed and refined foods that are high in sugar, sugar derivatives and preservatives. Foods like this cause a toxic environment within your body wreak havoc on your system rob you of energy making you sluggish and tired and lead to beer belly fat gain.

Avoiding processed/refined foods and eating whole food, as close to their natural state as possible is one of the easiest ways to help lose the beer gut.

2. Incorporate a combination of high intensity interval training (HIIT) along with strength resistance training into your daily workout routine.

Hopefully you are working out in the first place, and if not, get started because that is your first problem. But if you are already working out studies support the combination of high intensity interval training and strength resistance training to be far superior to steady state cardio or weight training alone.

High intensity interval training is a form of cardio that utilizes shorts burst of intense activity followed by a quick rest period repeated for either a length of time or a number of repetitions.

The intensity of both the strength resistance training and the HIIT is very important as researchers at Duke University concluded that low to moderate activity levels were not intense enough to contribute to visceral beer belly fat loss. You have to hit it hard when you workout if you want to lose your beer gut.

3. Drink beer.

That is a statement you probably would not expect to see in an article on the anatomy of beer belly. In all honesty, beer is not the culprit when it comes to losing your beer gut. Enjoyed in moderation, beer can be considered a healthy beverage when compared to all the sugary soda pop and fruit juice most of the world consumes. People’s waistlines are expanding due to the over consumption of processed sugars and not beer.

When it comes to drinking beer in moderation, here are the rules:

• For men- 5-7 beers per week with no more than 2 or 24 oz in 24-hour period.

• For women- 5-7 beers per week with no more than 1 or 12 oz in a 24-hour period.

Unfortunately for all you weekend warriors who would prefer to pound back a case of 12 on a Saturday night, studies support the link between binge drinking and visceral beer belly fat gain.
 

Beer Belly Wrap Up

 
Anatomy of a beer bellyIf someone mentions the term “beer gut”, thoughts of a Homer Simpson-Esque physique pop into my head. Don’t let me picture you.

Adopt the “earn your beer” mentality, put in a good hard workout and reward yourself with an ice-cold beer at the end of the day. It is as simple as that to lose the beer gut. No secret, magic bullet, pills or potions… just good honest hard work and you will be well on your way to losing the beer belly.

Yours in health,

Sean

Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

Never miss a Monday

Finding that groove when it comes to working out is often the hardest thing to do. There are ups and downs that come with starting a new routine- even more so if it has been awhile since you’ve exercised.

The truth is the most fit people in the world struggle with the same issues. Personally, with all the weddings, work, travel and long weekends this summer it has been a mental battle for me with regards to my health and fitness. Here are some simple tips I use to keep myself on track.

Never miss a Monday: Making sure you get a great training session in on Monday will set the tone for the rest of the week. Seriously, never miss a Monday.

Find a partner: Social support is the best way to make sure you stick to your game plan. Surround yourself with people that support your goals. Having someone to train with will greatly impact your success. They can motivate you on days when you don’t feel like training and even add a bit of friendly competition.

Join a team: Working out is only one aspect to a healthy lifestyle. Join a pick-up sports league; there are tons of options out there, look around your local community for various sports teams or athletic groups. Figure out whatever it is you like doing and get out and meet some like-minded people that enjoy playing sports. You’ll make some new friends in the process and have fun all the while improving your health. If you can’t join an organized league or group, start something with a group of your friends such as pick-up basketball, soccer, running, biking, or surfing groups. You can do anything, just get up and do it.

Don’t waste your time: One of your key partners in the gym should be your watch. Have a good timer on your wristwatch so you can keep your rest periods to the prescribed time limit.

Keep moving: If you get to the gym and it’s crowded and someone’s performing the exact exercise that you need, ask to work in with them or pick another exercise that targets the same muscles. Just stay positive and keep moving.

Forget to plan and plan to fail: You need a master plan like the one outlined in the 3BG System in order to be successful in your body/life transformation. Write down your goals, how you plan on achieving them and your progress along the way. Seeing all the work you have done written on paper will help keep you motivated.

Nobody’s perfect: Things are bound to come up in your lives that will prevent you from sticking to the exact plan. If you hit a bump in the road, such as missing a Monday, that’s life and it happens. Just acknowledge that you’ve fallen off track and get back at it. You’re going to mess up and we want you to know that it’s ok. Fitness and healthy living are for life.

By implementing these helpful strategies into your routine, you’ll be able to pull through when life gets hectic and your feeling overwhelmed.

If you are committed to regaining your health and getting in the best shape ever than know that there will be some struggles along the way. Nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without a little adversity. It is those things in life that we have to work for that afford us the greatest rewards.

Starting a new workout program for the first time in years (or ever) isn’t the easiest thing to do but if you are committed, you stay at it and use some of the tips you’ve just read about- the pay off will be huge.

Yours in health,

Sean

Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer

August 18, 2011 Posted by Sean in Body

How to warm up properly: Static Stretching vs. Dynamic Warm Up

I went to school with a guy that would pick me up in his car before the gym with a coffee in hand and the heat blaring. No joke- getting in his car was like stepping into a sweat lodge.

“Gotta get the blood flowing man,” was all he’d say as I toweled off my forehead.

My buddy was onto something about getting your blood flowing before an intense workout, and although he did get his body temp elevated, his pre-workout routine was far from perfect.

We get a ton of questions regarding the topic of how to warm up properly before a workout and here’s what I have to say on the subject:

Warming up prepares your muscles, ligaments and joints for the disruption caused by a intense workout. If you don’t take the time to warm up before a workout, you will eventually experience a strain, pull or tear injury that can keep you out of the gym for days or even months.

A general warm up involves 3-5 minutes of light cardio followed by a dynamic (moving) warm up that involves pairing stretching with movement. The purpose is to prepare the muscles and joints for movements similar to those in your upcoming workout. You should always be under control with dynamic stretching and ensure a full range of motion.

Static (still) stretching should always be done after weight or interval training session and never before. Static stretching before a workout can make joints too limber and actually decrease the force potential of your muscles. While you workout, the continuous contractions cause your muscles to shorten. Stretching for a period of 5-10 minutes at the end of your workout will help reset muscle length and enhance recovery.

If you don’t stretch at the end of a workout, your contracted muscles stay short and the next time you try to work them they have less power and you are less efficient. These shortened “tense” muscles are those that we get worked on by a massage therapist, physiotherapist or osteopath to help them “loosen up.”

Taking the time to stretch after your workout will not only save you injury time and increase the efficiency of your next workout, it might save you a ton of money on pain relief.

Remember, as your age increases so should the amount of time spent on flexibility.

Here’s an example of a general and dynamic warm up to be performed before a workout:

  • 3-5 minutes of cardio: jumping rope, stationary bike, walking, light jog, rowing machine, etc…
  • Dynamic warm up: Cat Camel, Prisoner Squats, Leg Swings and Shoulder Dislocations, etc… Perform 8-10 repetitions of each exercise in sequence for 2-3 sets and your ready to move onto your workout.
  •  
    Here’s an example of static stretching to be performed following a workout:

  • 5-10 minutes of static stretching focusing on major muscle groups: Hip Flexor, Glute, Calf, Hamstring, Chest, etc… Hold for 15 seconds (without bouncing), 2-3 times per side.
  •  
    A quick recap:

    The rules are as follows; if you’re cold you need to warm up with some dynamic movements. Once you finish a workout you need to cool down and re-set muscle length with some static stretching. Not too complicated.

    Add these simple pre (dynamic warm up) and post (static stretching) workout routines before working out and you’ll be able to workout harder, recover faster and stay injury free.

    Stay strong,

    Sean

    PS. Check out this link of Drew performing a simple version of a dynamic warm up in this 20 Minute Fat Blasting Circuit.

    The Best Chili Recipe

    Not gonna lie. I’ve been a chili lover my entire life.

    It’s a simple meal that you can make on a Sunday for example, and then store the leftovers in the fridge or freezer for the balance of the week. The next time you get home and don’t feel like cooking you’ll only need a few minutes to reheat the chili and dig in.

    Growing up my major influence in the kitchen was my mom. Most can agree that nobody cooks as well as their mothers do. Splice in a few tricks I’ve learned along the way from my favorite celebrity chef Jaime Oliver and I’ve become pretty good in the kitchen.

    Over the years I’ve messed around with a few different recipes until I finally settled on this one:

    What you need:

  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, 2 Cloves of Garlic, 2 Carrots, 2 Celery Stalks, 2 Red (Green, Yellow or Orange) Bell Peppers, Big Handful of Mushrooms, 1 Small Zucchini, 1 – 24 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes, 1 – 12 oz Can of Chick Peas (Garbanzo Beans), 1 – 12 oz Can of Black Beans, 1 – 12 oz Can of Kidney Beans, 1 pound of Ground Turkey (Chicken or Beef) and a 1/2 Can of your favorite Beer.
  • 2 table spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 heaping table spoons of Chili Powder, 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar, 1 heaping tea spoon of Ground Cumin (or Coriander), 1 heaping tea spoon of Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it), Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper.
  •  
    Whip it up:

  • Chop up all the veggies, pour 2 tablespoons of olive or coconut oil into a large pot and turn to medium/high heat.
  • Toss in all the chopped veggies and add in the following spices: 2 heaping table spoons of Chili Powder, 1 heaping tea spoon of Ground Cumin (or Coriander), 1 heaping tea spoon of Cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending how spicy you like it) and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Stir every 30-45 seconds for about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the entire can of Diced Tomatoes.
  • Drain and Rinse the Chick Peas, Black and Kidney Beans and stir them into the pot.
  • Pour in the 1/2 Can of your favorite Beer (drink the other half).
  • With your wooden spoon slowly stir in and break apart the Ground Turkey (allowing it to cook in the chili).
  • Stir in the 2 table spoons of Balsamic Vinegar, and add another pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Reduce heat, cover and allow to simmer for about an hour or more, stirring occasionally.
  •  
    Serve garnished with a scoop of plain greek yogurt, some grated cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro. Sooooo Good.

    Keep this healthy Chili recipe in your back pocket to use whenever you are stumped for ideas on what to cook or when you feel like a nice warm meal. It makes approximately 6 – 8 servings and is easy enough to store in the fridge or freezer to be eaten at a later time. Enjoy.

    Yours in health,

    Sean

    PS. Beer and cinnamon are the secret ingredients in this recipe. What “secret ingredients” do you add to your chili to set it apart from the rest?

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