August 26, 2011 Posted by Drew in Body

How to Get Rid of "Beer" Belly Fat

When you ask people what they associate beer with you get a mixed bitter-sweet response. On one hand it reminds people of the amazing taste that water, barley, yeast and hops make when they come together and hit your lips. And on the other hand they think of the dreaded beer belly, beer gut and belly fat associated with drinking beer.

For the record- I have and always will drink beer. Regardless of the reputation floating around that beer is bad and will make you fat, I know from experience and my clients experiences that it is possible to drink beer and still lose the beer gut, beer belly and belly fat. I’ve seen countless people lose fat, get stronger and still enjoy the wonderful taste of beer.

The reason it worked for these people (and can work for you) is because they adopted an attitude we call the “Earn Your Beer” mentality. The mentality states that if you want to enjoy beer guilt free and never worry about how it might expand your waistline, you have to EARN it.

Start implementing the following steps and you’ll be on your way to Earning Your Beer and torching off the “beer” belly fat from your midsection.
 

1. Beer Intake Control- The Beauty of Moderation

 
Depending on what kind of beer you drink the calories per bottle vary. Light beers range from 65-100 calories per bottle while a standard bottle of beer has around 150 calories.

Moderation is key. If you want to enjoy beer you must consume no more than 2 in a 24 hour period and keep it to under 5-7 drinks total per week. In moderate amounts beer has even been shown to be good for your heart and reduced the risk of cardio-vascular disease.

When in doubt choose darker beers. They are often more rich, contain anti-oxidants and are more nutrient dense. This in turn will fill you up faster so you’ll avoid over drinking.

The real culprit is the food you eat while you enjoy your beer. Fried, fatty and salty foods are the worst offenders and can do much more damage than 2 beers ever could. Don’t let the enjoyment of beer turn into a days worth of calories all in one sitting.
 

2. What to eat and your new shopping list

 
Beer bellies should really be called the sugar belly or the processed carb belly. If you truly want to get rid of that beer belly you must take nutrition seriously and look at getting all the fast convenient processed foods out of your kitchen. There are so many misconceptions out there regarding which foods are good for you and which ones are bad.

Typical foods that people think are OK to eat but are low in nutrients are:

  • Breads, pastas, white rice.
  • Boxed cereals even if they are whole grain or fortified they are low in nutrients.
  • Slim or diet shakes.
  • Prepackaged microwavable TV dinners.
  • Ketchup, BBQ sauce, & most common condiments.
  • Rice cakes, crackers and cookies.
  • Salad with Creamy Dressings.
  •  
    The easiest way to avoid pre-packaged, processed and refined foods is to shop around the outside of a supermarket and avoid going down the middle aisles. Sticking to the perimeter of the store guarantees that you will hit mostly fresh foods that come with an expiry date. The goal is to remove clutter from your shopping cart, kitchen and body.

    The shopping list that follows has been stripped down to the basics. Strive to eat good quality food that is nutrient dense and works with your body rather than against it. The following foods will keep you energized, lean, strong and keep the fat off your belly effortlessly.

    Items for your cupboards or pantry

  • Potatoes (red potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, the occasional white)
  • Sugar free oatmeal (steel cut oats)
  • Quinoa
  • Mixed nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, macadamia, pecans, etc…)
  • All natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • Sunflower & pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil (for salads)
  • Coconut oil (for cooking or stir frying at high temp)
  • Vinegar (white, red, balsamic)
  • Green tea, black teas, herbals teas, organic coffee (black)
  • Spices (various)
  • Kidney beans, Black beans
  •  
    Items for your refrigerator or freezer

  • Vegetables (all kinds)
  • Fruit (all kinds)
  • Lean meat (cow, bison, buffalo)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Deep water shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Plain Greek Yogurt (No sugar added)
  • Cheese
  • Cottage Cheese
  •  

    3. How and when to eat carbs

     
    Burning fat from your midsection depends on your body’s ability to regulate cortisol and insulin. If you have chronic high levels of both you will likely have more belly fat than you need. Cortisol is best controlled by keeping your stress levels down and getting adequate sleep.

    Whenever you eat a carbohydrate- insulin is released to remove the calories from your blood stream. When this hormone is released in excess (by eating processed carbs) it will take those calories and stuff them in your fat cells. End result- a rapidly expanding waist line and beer belly.

    The best time to have carbs and not worry about this boost in insulin is when you first wake up and immediately after an intense workout. Otherwise if you are going to eat carbs in a meal make sure they are eaten last. Always start with a salad and plenty of vegetables, then your protein source (eggs, meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, dairy) and follow it up with your carb. Eating vegetables and protein first will ensure your stomach is better suited to digest and break down carbohydrates (yams, sweet potato, wild rice, quinoa), as well as shunt any potential spike in blood sugar.

    Do not mistake this as an open invitation to eat all the carbs you want. Much like step #1, moderation is key. If you have a sweet tooth stick to mixed berries with a piece of dark chocolate (85% or higher) for dessert.
     

    4. Sleep your way to a leaner waistline

     
    You’ve heard it before and no one likes being told the same thing over and over again. So I’m going to lay it out for you in a different way, one that will help you realize that if you’re falling short on sleep- you might be expanding your waistline as a result. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

    Inadequate sleep has been shown to:

  • interfere with metabolism and digestion of carbohydrates causing high blood glucose levels, which then increases insulin levels and leads to fat storage.
  • down regulate the hormone leptin. Leptin signals your brain when you are full, and you stop eating. Without adequate levels of leptin you will crave more food and carbohydrates.
  • reduce levels of growth hormone. Growth hormone has been linked to fat loss and is found in higher quantities in lean people.
  • lead to insulin resistance, contributing to an increased risk of diabetes
  • increase blood pressure
  • increase the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • increase cortisol levels
  •  
    Hormones are the common theme. Without proper sleep good hormone levels drop and bad hormone levels rise. Chronic elevated levels of cortisol can lead to brain cell deterioration, decreased function and belly fat.
     

    5. Exercise

     
    Mention cardio and people generally think of going for a jog or sitting down on an exercise bike. Whatever the exercise you choose, it is then done at a steady pace for a set amount of time. The longer the session the more calories you burn, right?

    While that isn’t necessarily a wrong statement, it’s just not the best way to burn fat. Would you rather workout for 40 minutes or 15? Studies show you can burn more fat and save more time with shorter, more intense cardio sessions.

    A long jog at a slow to medium pace does not elevate your metabolism enough to generate exercise post oxygen consumption (EPOC). EPOC can keep your metabolism elevated for 15-25 hours after you stop exercising. The beautiful thing about generating EPOC is that it can be done in a high intensity interval session lasting as little as 12-20 minutes. The same can not be said for a 40 minute jog where oxygen consumption falls 30 minutes after completion.

    Also of note, a large percentage of exercise options for cardio only target the lower body. Making use of your entire body when performing cardio/interval training involves more muscle mass and will burn more calories by creating a bigger oxygen deficit.

    High intensity interval training (HIIT) incorporates both aerobic (oxygen dependent – walking/jogging) and anaerobic (non oxygen dependent – sprinting) training into one brief, but intense workout. This type of training will strengthen your heart more than aerobic (long slow boring cardio) training due to the strain involved with an all out effort. The increased pressure constricts your artery walls and forces your heart to work harder with each beat to maintain proper blood flow throughout the body.

    Typical cardio prescription

    Type: Running
    Total time: 45 Minutes
    Pace: 5-7 mph

    The New HIIT prescription

    Type: Flat sprint or uphill sprints with 4-6 push ups between each sprint
    Total time: 15 minutes
    Pace: top speed sprint for 8-10 seconds (uphill or flat) walk 40 seconds then drop down and complete 4-6 push-ups. Repeat process for 15 minutes.

    In order to get rid of a beer belly, beer gut or belly fat you need to be determined, willing and patient. Healthy fat loss of 1-2 pounds per week can be expected. Think of it as a long term goal rather than an overnight fix and I guarantee you will get there.

    Stay Strong,

    Drew

    Click Here and Start Earning Your Beer