Getting rid of belly pouch is the million dollar solve I wish I had. It’s one of the most frequently asked questions I’m asked and I wanted to share this reader question and my response here because it pertains to so many of you!
That said, no advice I give should replace a medical doctor’s advice. Please realize that I can only provide specific personal exercise recommendations for my private clients for whom I have a thorough health history, activity history, and plan the exercise, progression, and rest for them in correlation with their exercise nutrition and lifestyle habits. It’s an integrated effort for best results. For more information on private coaching application read here.
Here’s my response to this question on getting rid of belly pouch. There are some unique components to this reader’s question, but much of the response is relative to each of us.
I just ran across your program and videos on Facebook tonight. I’ve listened to several of your informational videos and wow — this is all ringing true for me. My “back story” is this…I’m 52 and have recently been diagnosed with an “enlarged uterus due to uterine fibroids.” Being this close to menopause, I have chosen to not have a hysterectomy, which my doctor agreed with. I also have strong feelings against surgery if there are other options. She recommended inserting an IUD to help control the horrid bleeding I was experiencing– 10 weeks later, it is helping so much!!
What I’m struggling with is the 10-15#s that I have packed on during the past couple of years (seems to be mostly belly and breast fat). Plus the pooch from the enlarged uterus. I am very active (I’m my contractor husband\’s assistant– so up and down ladders, lifting materials around, etc.) but still, have packed on these pounds. I also walk or ride the stationary bike a couple times a week.
We have cut out the bread (My favorite), pasta and desserts from our diet and eat lots of green leafy and moderate amounts of protein– so basically are maintaining a low carb eating lifestyle. My question to you is this: Which exercise videos will be the best for me to do to work on the belly and are there exercises that would help with the enlarged uterus pooch?? Also, you have a lot of different short videos–I’m assuming you recommend more than just one daily.
You want to focus on quality not quantity exercise. So it’s not about doing more or longer videos necessarily. You could do two hours of videos and not get better results (in fact it’s almost a guarantee that you won’t!) than if you do 20 minutes of highly effective, focused exercise to fatigue. Without adequate force stimulation muscles and bones don’t respond. That said, your “adequate force” and mine, and your bestie’s are different.
Not knowing if you’re finding the random videos available on Facebook or Youtube (I’m guessing, yes) it’s important to clarify those are one-off responses to questions or struggles women have but not a program with progression and organization around an individual’s needs. There’s a big difference between finding random exercise videos online vs. training with a very specific purpose, plan, and progression. So please understand that teaching videos to share a solution to a question or challenge can’t possibly answer all the needs of a comprehensive program. I’m all for “more movement” but we want to know that exercise has a purpose, we have an objective in finding the right exercise, and then marrying the two give us results.
I don’t necessarily recommend more than one “video” a day. It’s not about time (or calories) it’s about quality, quality, quality. That’s true of exercise, food, and sleep!
I’m a busy entrepreneur. Some (many) weeks I have 10-20 minutes to do weights twice a week. This week was no exception. Traveling, I got to the hotel gym on Sunday morning for about 20 minutes before morning meetings. I reach FATIGUE and that’s the only way to get results. That doesn’t have to be heavy, it can be moderate or lighter weight, as long as you reach fatigue. That’s the hinge upon which results swing. It’s about how you influence the hormones. That is a big shift for many women in terms of the way they’ve exercised for decades. Assess your current routine. The pieces are probably there. It may just need a tweak.
So a series of questions helps me determine what’s best for private clients when I plan the workouts each week. Alternatively, please read this blog post to help you decide which program you’re considering is best for you.
It sounds like adding a quality strength training program is the most important thing you can do with exercise. I would like to know more about “walk or ride the stationary bike a couple times a week” too. How you do those activities is important. You have plenty of all-day lower intensity activity. And this is good for hormone-balance. So making sure your “exercise-specific” workouts are complimentary and not more of the same may mean short interval training sessions are best. Getting rid of belly pouch is easier than losing fat in other places because it responds well to exercise of all types. So as long as you’re getting the right exercise for you, you’ll see results.
Pelvic Floor Exercise
There is NO pouch-specific exercise that will do the trick. Getting rid of belly pouch related to fat deposits is possible. You just can’t spot reduce to do it. You need quality food, type and timing of cardio, and weight training that influence your metabolism positively. That said you do want to do pelvic floor exercises when you do your core for abdominals. That’s kegel exercises. There’a 1-2-3 punch involving inner thighs, pelvic floor, and core and when you activate all three you’ll get better results. Try a ball between the knees, lifting the pelvic floor like you’re taking it to the first floor, second, and so on. Last, add activation of abdominal muscles in bracing exercises.
Another pelvic floor solution is have more sex. It uses the muscles you need to get and keep strong. Last, read this recent blog post by Dr. Anna Cabeca.
Improve your overall body composition with strength training. Start with a single set of 15 twice a week and gradually progress (insert Flipping 50 TV show episode). While you strength train you’re also using core muscles to stabilize – some of the best kind of exercise for getting rid of belly pouch.
The daily activity you’re doing is a huge contributor to your overall metabolism. Keep reminding yourself of your active lifestyle’s value. Studies show if that is the single thing that changes (your mindset and awareness that what you’re already doing has the biggest impact) your results change. Simplistic to think that getting rid of belly pouch can be as easy as thinking you’re getting rid of belly pouch, but it’s been proven to work!
Nutrition for Getting Rid of Belly Pouch
Eat an adequate protein diet so you have the fuel for the muscle you have to work harder to get and keep as you age. You mention moderate protein intake. Older adults benefit from as much as twice as much protein as younger counterparts in exercise recovery. Dive into your definition of that since it varies from person to person. There is a per meal amount that’s optimal for muscle protein synthesis, aka, putting protein to work for your muscle benefit.
Getting rid of belly pouch doesn’t require as tight a rein on nutrition as say, upper arm fat. It responds well to exercise. You do want to be conscious of how you feel and get quality carbs in to relieve cortisol and increase feel good hormones. Simply keep that on your radar so if you should feel moody or less energy you start tracking your carbs. You’ll be able to associate your level of energy with your level of carbs and then test.
Balancing hormones through your activity, nutrition, and sleep is the goal. It’s about how your cortisol and insulin are rearranging fat that matters. Lower stress, keep your exercise focused on that and avoid cortisol (with long workouts) and you’ll see some results provided you have adequate calories and protein to do it!