Hey it’s Lisa and today I have a little science lesson for you about your “belly fat” hormone, also known as Cortisol. Most of you have heard of Cortisol, but how many of you know why we struggle with it? Let me explain, Cortisol is a hormone that your body releases to deal with stress, we all know the negative effects stress can have on the body, and unfortunately, high levels of Cortisol have been linked to increased levels of abdominal fat as well. Would you like to learn how to reduce Cortisol and burn more belly flab?  Here are 3 simple things that you can do starting today:

Work less- New research shows that if you work more than 48 hours per week, the likelihood of consuming excess alcohol goes up dramatically. Alcohol consumption increases Cortisol, and together they both increase belly fat. If you’re looking to shrink your belly, trimming back your working hours while choosing calorie-burning exercise for stress relief (in lieu of alcohol) will do wonders for your waistline.

Don’t consume caffeine after 6PM- Although caffeinated beverages can enhance fat-burning when consumed around exercise, caffeine can be a double whammy on Cortisol levels, especially if consumed at night when it’s very likely to negatively affect the quality of your sleep. Getting quality, uninterrupted sleep each night is critical to reducing Cortisol, so you’ll want to avoid caffeine in the evening hours.

Take time to “unplug”- A recent Canadian study showed that those who were constantly “plugged in” to technology all throughout the day (TV, smartphones, computers) were significantly more stressed than those who took time to “unplug” during designated time blocks each day. To sum things up, more stress = more belly fat, so if you want a trim belly start planning some device-free time each day.

In addition to these few simple suggestions make time to exercise at least 30 min a day. There are many great HIIT workout programs to follow which will help you to remain effectively active throughout your 30 min workout. Remember to always pay attention to form, I can’t stress just how important your form is while exercising.

This blog was written by Lisa Simon, Personal Trainer at Body Kinetics San Rafael.