Pot belly, in my part of the world could be considered a sign of prosperity, although in more recent times, this view might be different.

When I began my career as a zumba instructor, I was very optimistic that was the end to all my tummy fat struggles. Boy was I wrong. Don’t get me wrong, my tummy fat did reduce drastically, it had to as I had dropped from a UK size 12 to UK 8 in three months. But for a size 8, I still was not content with my tummy size; I had hoped that being a fitness instructor would tone my abdominal muscles in a few weeks (I know that’s not realistic). It was then I understood that a cardio routine was not enough to fight this particular challenge; I needed to watch my diet and also strengthen my abdominal muscles. This led me to introduce more core routines to my workouts. Even then, fighting my tummy fat was still a huge challenge. This led me to ask why most people struggled with tummy fat as I observed that most of my clients were in the same shoes, they would lose the weight, tone the arms and thighs easily, but the tummy fat…always remained a challenge.

No doubt with the right exercise and consistency, you can reduce tummy fat and tone your abdominal muscles. I however believe that understanding the root cause would enable you provide a better solution to your struggles. I did some research and have highlighted below some causes of a pot belly:
  • Heredity plays a large role in determining where on the body a person will store excess weight. If a person is inclined to gaining weight in the belly area, there's no natural way to appreciably change that fat distribution pattern. Just like height and hair color, the number and location of fat cells may largely be determined by genes. I would place myself in this category. I often add weight first on my belly. Knowing this has helped me a lot as I pay close attention to my diet, in addition to performing cardio and other exercises targeted at the abdominal muscles.
  • High Body Fat Builds the Pot Belly. When fat is in excess of what the body requires, the excess fat is partly stored under the skin as subcutaneous fat, and partly as deep belly fat. This is why dieticians would often advise that foods which are high in fats and energy are avoided late at nights or when the body would be less active.
  • Women of childbearing age tend to store fat on their hips, buttocks and breasts. As sex hormones decline with age, a woman's body fat distribution changes and she will carry more fat on the belly.
  • Loss of Muscle Tone Changes the Belly: abdominal muscles that are weak may bulge outward, giving the appearance of a pot belly, or making a true pot belly look larger than it really is. This is where strength training comes in handy to contract those abdominal muscles.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle leading to weight gain. When you gain weight, it means you've consistently consumed greater number of calories than your body has burned off. This no doubt leads to the body storing the excess fat not consumed.
Now you know some reasons why you have a pot belly. For solutions read my article titled “Good-Bye Mr& Mrs Pot Belly

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