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Your Weight in Menopause - Belly Battles
By Susan Livingstone
You spent your younger years worried about your hips, your thighs, your derriere - but your belly probably wasn't topping the list of things you kept a wary eye on. Then you entered perimenopause, and suddenly the weight went to your midsection and settled there, turning your shape from a pear into an apple seemingly overnight. What happened when you weren't looking?
As you age, your metabolism slows, and the amount of fat in your body creeps up. This is true of men as well as women, but it's women who experience the greater fat percentage increase. Simply getting older can do this, as some women are tapped by heredity and their genes to gain weight as they age. But hormonal changes after menopause may change the way that your body breaks down and stores fat. When you hit menopause, weight gain tends to be less in your arms, legs and hips and more in your abdomen - the worst place for it to be.
You see, it's not just the flab you can grab that is worrisome. As unpleasant as the subcutaneous fat between your skin and abdominal wall may be to your self image, it's the fat you can't see that's going to give you the most grief. Visceral fat, the kind that's deep inside surrounding your abdominal organs, is the real cause for your increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, gallbladder problems, and even certain types of cancer. The fat cells in your abdomen aren't like other fat cells, just sitting there waiting to be burned off. They are actively producing hormones that can adversely affect your health. You need to target them and get rid of them.
But there's good news. A few simple lifestyle changes, including some targeted ab exercises, and you can beat that ballooning belly back into shape.
How much is too much?
You know your pants fit tighter, but have you really gained enough extra weight to be in trouble? You can use a body mass index (BMI) calculation or a waist-hip ratio, but research has found that you get an accurate idea of whether you have an unhealthy amount of belly fat simply by measuring your waist. In fact, BMI is considered an inaccurate measure of body fat percentage or distribution when applied to the circumstances of menopause.
Run a tape measure around your midsection at about navel level. Breathe normally, don't suck in your gut, and don't squeeze the tape so hard it pushes your skin down. A woman of healthy weight should have a waist measurement of no more than 35 inches. Some research indicates that even a measurement of 33 inches will increase your health risks, so make it your goal to aim for numbers lower than that.
The battle plan
It might seem like fat that's buried deep inside would be difficult to get rid of. The good news is that it responds very well to a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet. Targeted tummy exercises can also go a long way toward flattening your abs.
Exercise. Daily, moderate-intensity exercise is the best way to lose belly fat - when you lose weight and gain muscle tone, your belly fat begins shrinking as well. In fact, you may notice that your tummy bulge is the first area to shrink when you start exercising. The amount and type of exercise you should get depends on your current activity level and your health goals. Check with your doctor about the right exercise program for you to promote good health and particularly combat abdominal fat.
Strength training. Research has shown that exercising with weights is effective in trimming tummy fat. Again, check with your doctor about how to incorporate strength training into your exercise routine.
Healthy diet. Altering poor eating habits can help fight belly fat. Read nutrition labels, and replace saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats. Increase portions of complex carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables, and decrease simple carbohydrates like white bread and refined pasta. Reducing your portion sizes and daily calorie intake will also result in pounds lost.
Tone your tummy. While you can't "spot-burn" belly fat, you can firm up your abdominal muscles and get a flatter stomach as a result. Traditional sit-ups aren't the most effective way to do this, however. Instead, use these exercises to target both deeper and lower abdominal muscles:
- Deeper abdominal muscles. Target deeper abdominal muscles by doing "abdominal hollowing" or "drawing in the bellybutton." Begin by getting down on all fours. Let your tummy hang down as you inhale deeply. Let your breath out, and at the end of your exhalation, gently draw your bellybutton inward and upward toward your spine. You should feel a slight tightening around your waist - think of it as trying to squeeze through a partially closed door. Hold for 10 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Work up to 10 repetitions. During each effort, your spine position shouldn't change and you should continue to breathe freely. Eventually, you'll be able to do this exercise standing up. It's very subtle, and no one will be able to tell you're doing it.
- Lower abdominal muscles. Tone your lower abdomen by doing pelvic tilts and lifts. Pelvic tilt: lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent. Flatten your back against the floor by tightening your abdominal muscles and bending your pelvis up slightly. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions. Pelvic lift: lie on your back with your knees bent up toward your chest and your arms relaxed by your sides. Tighten your lower abdomen and lift your buttocks up off the floor, with your knees pointed toward the ceiling. Hold for five to 10 seconds. Repeat five times and work up to 10 to 20 repetitions.
Hormone therapy. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has its place, but as an aid in fending off menopause weight gain, it's pretty much useless. Some studies have shown that postmenopausal women who take HRT are less likely to accumulate abdominal fat than are postmenopausal women who don't. Other studies, however, found no difference. Meanwhile, concerns about the risks and benefits of HRT continue. Talk to your doctor in detail about the any risks and potential benefits of hormone therapy before trying it.
Menopause doesn't get to have the last word in how your body looks and feels. You can be in menopause and still lose weight by following the suggestions we outline here. A healthy diet and exercise program was a good idea when you were younger, and it's only gotten to be a better idea as you move into the next phase of your life.
Susan Livingstone invites you to learn more about menopause and losing weight by visiting http://menopauseloseweight.com We review some of the top weight loss programs available today, with an emphasis on women dealing with menopause weight gain. You'll find diet reviews, articles, suggested reading, and a case study (http://menopauseloseweight.com/case_study) where we personally test one of the programs we review and let you know the results!
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Susan_Livingstone
What is the Process Behind a Tummy Tuck?
By Elisa Cruz
There are many people who really wish that they had a flatter stomach. Developing fat in the midsection is something that both men and women have a tendency to do, especially as they get older. Many people try to combat the excess weight by doing lots of crunches. While the crunches will help to tone the muscles, they will not entirely get rid of the fat.
The medical profession has come up with a variety of different ways to combat stomach fat, with a tummy tuck being amongst those ways. Out of all the different kinds of people who elect to get a tummy tuck procedure, women who have had a number of pregnancies seem to be at the forefront. The reason for this has to do with the fact that, after having children, the muscles tend to stretch out, and fat accumulates in the midsection more prevalently.
The ideal candidate for a tummy tuck is someone who is within ten pounds of their goal weight, but is having trouble firming up their stomach. The procedure involves getting rid of the excess fat molecules that have built up in the stomach area, and then tightening the skin and muscles.
The process behind getting a tummy tuck involves finding a reputable and certified doctor. Once that has been done, a consultation is scheduled to discuss any additional questions. The doctor will also take this time to discuss the details of the procedure. Once the procedure has been completed, the patient will need to recuperate for a couple of weeks.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Elisa_Cruz
Menopausal Fat - What Can You Do About It?
By Yvonne R.
Menopause can be a very overwhelming and even distressing time for a woman and menopausal fat is one more element that women have to deal with. During menopause, the body of a woman undergoes many changes and many of these changes are accompanied by feelings of discomfort and even pain. What makes matters worse is that sometimes, women can experience weight gain during menopause. Not all women experience having menopausal fat but those who do will tell you that it certainly is not a very good experience. If that's not enough that you have to cope with menopausal symptoms then when you try to wear your old jeans, you notice that it just would not get pass your thighs. That can be very depressing right?
So if you or anyone you know is suffering from menopausal fat, then you should read this article. Here lie very effective solutions on how to get rid of menopause belly fat fast. The first thing that you should know is that menopause belly fat is somewhat of a misnomer as menopause doesn't really have much to do with that extra inches on your waist and that extra pounds you see on the weighing scale. It just so happens that the weight gain has coincided with the menopausal period. Just like the weight gain that occurs in other times in a woman's life, taking in too many calories and burning too little cause menopausal fat.
There is one factor though that is important to consider and that is metabolism or the efficient burning or usage of calories by our bodies. As we grow old, metabolism declines. This is the reason why a woman during menopausal age burns fat less efficiently than a woman who is younger. This is one of the things that explain the extra fat at this stage in a woman's life. This does not mean that menopausal women are doomed to being fat for the rest of their lives. There are things that can be done that can help boost metabolism. One of the most effective of these methods is regular exercise. A simple walking routine done three to four times a week can greatly improve ones metabolism and combat menopausal fat.
Losing weight in menopause is certainly a life-long struggle for a vast number of women across America, but not without hope. Find out how losing menopausal fat can become much easier with the right diet weight plan. Within the first two weeks using this system, you can lose up to 10lbs...a lot of that being pure fat! Visit http://menopause-weight.com to get you started today.