Too much stress? To little sleep? Too much refined sugar? Too much belly fat……

If you’re looking to shrink and tone your belly this holiday season, there’s a better way to do it than trying to do crunches. Yep, they don’t work real well and they certainly do not target fat loss. In fact, research has shown that doing abdominal exercises alone—even when performed five days a week for six weeks—has no effect at all on subcutaneous fat stores and abdominal circumference!

Forbes Magazine’s, Jennifer Cohen suggests using strategies that burn up cortisol instead! Does she have a good point? Cortisol is a hormone in your body that depletes lean muscle and holds on to fat in the abdominal region, so it’s a good idea to keep it low.

One of the most important ways to help this process is to reduce stress in your life, because stress causes cortisol levels to spike. So stress is the number one issue to control. So how do you do that?

Well, there are a number of strategies that help reduce your cortisol levels.

Getting enough sleep is one important one, without sleep your cortisol levels continue to rise out of control.

Reducing or eliminating refined sugars from your diet is another. Sugar and refined carbs cause fat gain, and that’s not good for stress!

Doing short bursts of exercise (high-intensity interval training) is another way to lower stress and burn fat. Many of the exercise programs that I recommend to my clients sets up their exercise programing with this concept in mind. Try the new Insanity Max 30, Focus T25 or 21 Day Fix just to name a few. I can help you choose the right program for you.

You can also supplement with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that also helps control cortisol.

Supplement also with magnesium to ensure your muscles are able to remain relaxed.

Finally, eating fats―the good kinds such as the omega 3’s found in salmon, avocados and walnuts! Sounds crazy huh? But try it, you just might like the results!

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