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Losing belly fat is the most common goal among those trying to lean down and improve their physique. Even if you maintain a great diet and you are exercising intensely several times a week, you still may have excess fat in the stomach area that you just can’t get rid of. One of the primary reasons you may be retaining excess fat in the stomach area is from long-term stress that results in chronically elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is not inherently bad. In fact it is essential for having energy, but too much cortisol, or cortisol being elevated when you should be sleeping, promotes fat storage in the belly and can lead to many other health issues like chronic fatigue and digestive disorders if left unchecked.
You may think of stress as being mental or emotional, but keep in mind that physical stress and environmental stress are contributing factors as well. Training excessively without enough recovery and exposure to pollutants in the environment are examples of physical and environmental stress. Most of us who live in a hectic urban environment will not be able to avoid stress, so our best option is to manage stress as best as we can and to support ourselves nutritionally so that our bodies are better able to cope with stressful situations.
Here are three nutritional supplements that will help you to lose belly fat and manage stress in your daily life:
Phosphatidylserine is a supplement that is known for its positive effects on mental function and brain health, but it can also be a powerful tool to aid in fat loss, especially in the belly area. Phosphatidylserine has been demonstrated to have a powerful effect on lowering cortisol. Because of this, it is best taken in the evening or after workouts. Many people who supplement with phosphatidylserine also report much improved sleep. Good sleep is vital for those seeking to lose belly fat because it is the sleeping hours when your body produces the most growth hormone which promotes muscle building and fat loss. About 300mg of phosphatidylserine in the evening is a good dose to start with.
Magnesium is one of the most prevalent mineral deficiencies because modern agricultural practices deplete the soil of this mineral so that it is found in sufficient concentrations in the diet. Having enough magnesium is very important for quality of sleep, insulin sensitivity, and stress management. All three of which are key factors for creating and maintaining a healthy and lean body. Magnesium in supplement form comes in different varieties. Using a variety of the chelated forms of magnesium, such as magnesium glycinate, magnesium orotate, magnesium fumerate, and magnesium taurate, is your best bet in restoring your magnesium levels quickly. I would advise against using magnesium oxide because it is poorly absorbed by the body and is commonly found in low quality supplements. Those who are deficient may need up to 1g of magnesium a day. If you are curious about your magnesium levels, I recommend asking your doctor to test for your red blood cell magnesium levels (not serum magnesium).
Carnitine is an essential nutrient for fat metabolism and overall energy levels. Without enough carnitine, your body is not able to efficiently use the fat stored in your body for fuel. Carnitine has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, especially when taken with carbohydrates. Because carnitine is found in the highest concentrations in meat, it is especially useful for vegans and vegetarians to supplement with carnitine to obtain sufficient amounts of this valuable nutrient. 2-6g of carnitine is a potent dose for fat loss purposes, with the higher dose being indicated for those with higher a body fat percentage and more significant insulin resistance issues. Carnitine is synergistic when taken with a fish oil supplement.
Javier Garza is a personal trainer, nutritionist, and competitive weightlifter based in Jersey City and New York City. He runs the website www.strongtimes.com as a resource for training enthusiasts and health conscious people around the world.