How to Lose Belly Fat for Cheerleading
Being a cheerleader requires you to be highly energetic and athletic, and that means your body needs to be fit and healthy. A slim, lean build is also aesthetically appealing and may make you feel more confident when wearing the tight, belly-baring outfits. Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and regular exercise is key to helping you lose excess belly fat before cheerleading camps and competitions.
Monitor your caloric intake to lose fat for cheerleading. Weight loss occurs when the calories you take in are less than the calories you burn off. Although you cannot spot-reduce where weight comes off, losing fat overall will lead to belly fat loss. According to the Mayo Clinic, a pound of fat equals 3500 calories. In order to safely lose one to two pounds per week for long-term weight management, you will need to a calorie deficit of 3500 in your weekly diet, or a 500-calorie deficit per day. Since cheerleading is an active sport, you may be able to cut less calories and aim to burn off more calories for a net loss of 500.
Drink more water. Drinking water can raise your body's metabolic rate which in turn increases caloric burn to aid in weight loss. Drinking more water will help your body run more efficiently as well, which means better training workouts. Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, fatigue and decreased mental focus, which means you may be too tired to give it your all at practice and therefore burn less calories and less belly fat. Drinking more water also helps to get rid of belly bloat -- that leads to a protruding tummy -- by flushing excess waste out of the body. Aim for eight to 10 glasses of water a day or more depending on your physical activity and individual needs.
Start a core strengthening routine. The core is made up of the abdominals, back muscles, hip flexors and glutes. All of these muscles act to stabilize and support the body during cheerleading moves that require jumping, standing, twisting, rotating and dancing. Core-strengthening exercises aid in flattening the tummy as well as burning extra calories. Since muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, increased muscle will increase the caloric burn of the body for fat loss. Core exercises will also tighten your tummy for a flattening effect and can help you achieve six-pack abs if you are eating and exercising right.
Engage in cardiovascular exercise as part of your cheerleading training to lose unwanted belly fat. Cheerleading is a focused sport that will have you constantly moving. It's important to maintain a regular cardiovascular exercise routine to build up your endurance to be able to perform at a top level. Adding regular cardio sessions to your routine can help you burn extra calories for weight-loss. It doesn't matter how many abdominal crunches you do if you still have a layer of fat over your belly muscles. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, healthy adults should engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, per week. If you need to lose weight, you may need to exceed these levels. Aim for five moderate-intensity cardio sessions of 45 minutes each or three 30-minute high-intensity sessions such as interval training to aid in belly-fat loss.
Eat a healthy diet that is low in calories, fat and sugars but rich in essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals for weight-loss. Vegetables and fruits should form the foundation of your diet with lean protein and healthy fats in moderation.
Always consult with a medical professional prior to initiating any new exercise or weight-loss program that could adversely affect your health.
Jennifer Andrews specializes in writing about health, wellness and nutrition. Andrews has a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Alberta as well as a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. She teaches yoga and pilates and is a recent graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.