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Calories and calorie counter

You find calories in food and they are basically a measure of energy our bodies need in order to function normally. You may have heard that in order to lose belly fat you need to burn calories and eat fewer of them.

A calorie is a measure of how much energy it takes for the body to function as normal - breathing, the heart pumping blood around the body, thinking, walking, sleeping, running, jumping, repairs, nail and hair growth and so on. By understanding what calories are, calorie counting will help towards your goal of reducing your wasitline. I don't mean you must become excessively obsessed with counting your calories but once you have an understanding of the benefits in knowing what calories are you'll become more conscience of how much to consume and when.

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How much calories should I eat? - calorie calculator

As a guide the average male adult needs to eat between 2000 and 3000 calories a day. This depends on activities done during the day. For females it is between 1500 and 2000. With these average calorie intakes he or she will neither gain or lose fat.

Your body needs a certain amount of energy regardless of the activities you do in a day. This level of energy is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). The bigger you are the more energy you need to keep at your basal metabolic rate.

A body's BMR is usually the same everyday, based on your usual daily activities. So if your body needs 1,200 calories a day for your BMR then it will be the same tomorrow. Everybody's basal metabolic rate differs.

So for example say your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is 1200. Then for walking, lifting, carrying, typing, driving, what ever your daily routine involves say your total calorie intake to sustain this routine is 2000. This is based on your usual daily activities, age, weight and height. Then you decide to have a take away in the evening. The total calorie intake for the day including the extra take away is now 2230. This means your body has 230 more calories than it needs. So what does your body do with this? It stores this away in the body's fat cells. Even very thin people have fat cells, it just becomes more obvious if one continues to consume more than their body needs as the excess shows as belly fat or love handles.

Here is a calorie calculator to give you an idea of your BMR:

Weight:   Kilos
Height:   Inches
Age:   Years

So how do I lose calories?

There are a few methods you should consider when trying to lose calories or belly fat. These methods are a combination of nutritional changes, exercises and calorie calculations.

Know what you are eating

The presence of stomach fat is usually the result of eating foods that are high in fat, sugars or salt - basically the wrong foods. By becoming aware of what the calorie intake recommended for a person of your age, height and weight is you'll be able to select healthier eating options. This increases your chances of seeing physical changes as you work through your abs program.

Learn how to burn calories

Once you've calculated your calorie intake to sustain your current weight, you now want to reduce this intake amount to reduce fat levels. But not drastically. If you calculate that you consume 3,500 calories a day but experts suggest you only need 2,400, then reducing your daily intake by 1,100 is too much. What you should aim to do is to gradually reduce the intake daily. By reducing your intake by 300-500 calories this will more sensible and achievable.

Cardio, aerobic, interval training and stomach exercises

Increasing your physical activities a day and reducing the calorie intake will force your body to call on the body’s reserved energy from the stored fat cells for extra fuel.

Cardio, aerobic, weight training, interval training and stomach exercises for at least 30 minutes, 3 or more times a week is a great way to lose unwanted calories.

Word of caution

Before calorie counting, or more to the point, embarking on any diet plan and exercise regime you should consult your doctor. This is so that you can find out if you have vital dietary needs that cannot be excluded or you can find out if there are any forms of exercises you should avoid depending on your current health. Don't be afraid or ashamed to do this first.

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