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January 10, 2014

Three Ways to Shed Post-Holiday Belly Fat

Distraught by that post-holiday weight gain? Worry not, this consummate runner shares her fitness tip on how to shed the belly fat.

by Mia K. Fitri

The holiday season, when people bring their best food out to the table to celebrate the occasion, is over. In this season I always succumb to my favorite food, those tasty holiday cookies and delectable coconut milk-based dishes. The end of the year is also a perfect time to go out on vacation and try different culinary experience. This is usually the highlight of my travel: trying local food. After all, this is when we make exceptions (or rather: excuses) with what we eat, and when exercise plans go out of the window.
Fortunately, I have a way to cope with the aftermath of the season of festivities. Joppie Lumintang, Fitness First’s senior personal trainer taught me some key exercise to help lose that belly fat. You probably know them already, but here’s a refresher to work your belly:
Cardiovascular exercise
One of the key exercises to lose your belly fat is by doing cardiovascular activity. It is any exercise that raises your heart rate and breathing. It can be jumping rope, climbing stairs, running, swimming or riding your bike. That fatty tissue lying directly under your skin is what gives your stomach a flabby appearance, and regular cardiovascular exercise will drop this fat steadily. Try to do this type of exercise three times a week for 30 minutes.
Planking is not just great for your belly but it’s also an effective total-body exercise. This static exercise (meaning your body stays in one position for the entirety of the exercise) is especially awesome because it requires no equipment and can be performed just about anywhere. 
How to do it:

  • Place the forearms on the ground with the elbows alligned below the shoulders and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance.
  • Ground the toes into the floor and squeeze your butt to stabilize your body
  • Your head should be in line with your back
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds to start out
  • Repeat for 3 times

There are many variations of planks. You can perform basic plank on a swissball or extend your arms to put more weight. (see pic.1)
Sit-ups are good exercise to strengthen not only your abdominal muscles but also your core. A strong core will help you carry out other activities with more ease, such as lifting a box or running.

How to do it:

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head or cross them on your chest.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together. Exhale, tighten your abs and relax your neck. Curl up toward your bent knees until your upper back is off the floor.
  • Keep the bottom of your feet, your lower back and your tailbone flat against the floor throughout the movement
  • Breathe in. Slowly lower yourself until your upper back is in contact with the floor.
  • Start with 10 counts and repeat the set three times

Note: there are also many variations for sit-ups. You can put your feet up on a chair or swissball and do a diagonal sit-up for a bit more challenge. 
Thanks to this easy exercise, I was able to avoid gaining those extra kilograms on my last holiday season! So give it a try.
About Mia K. Fitri
Mia is a mother of two boys who's into running and fitness. She's currently and adidas running ambassador managing adiNation of Runners running community with two other ambassadors. She's also a communications specialist on social development issues.