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Blog - Richard Geres Personal Training - Weight-Loss, Fitness, Research

Sun, 15 February 2015

If your belly looks like this, you may be heading for trouble!

If you're like most people, you probably don't likes a big belly.

The issue is that we usually dislike it for the wrong reasons - because it doesn't look pretty, and because our self-esteem suffers.

But it's much more serious than that. We should not only dislike a big belly, we should fear it, because a big belly can be deadly!

Our body typically stores fat under the skin (called subcutaneous fat). However, men past the age of 35 as well as women with 'apple' shape fat distribution may develop significant fat deposits inside the abdominal area. This is referred to as visceral fat and it may lead to the development of a number of dangerous risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including increased triglyceride levels, insulin resistance, a precursor of type-2 diabetes, increased cholesterol, chronic inflammation, increased risk of thrombosis and high blood pressure. The presence of any of these risk factors dramatically increases your risk of suffering from a heart attack or stroke in the (not so distant) future.
visceral fat cause
Abdominal fat deposits are often a result of excessive intake of refined carbohydrates, refined sugar, saturated fat, lack of physical activity and stress.

The customary assessment for determining if your weight is within normal range is to apply the body mass index (BMI), which is calculated by dividing your weight in kg by your height in metres and then again by your height in metres. For example, a person with a weight of 90kg and a height of 1.75m would have a BMI of 90/1.75/1.75 = 29.3. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, and over 30 is considered obese, both for men and women.

Whats your BMI?

However researchers have noticed that its more important WHERE bodyfat is stored rather than how much is stored. Those who have large amounts of visceral fat in their tummy area are at the highest risk for heart disease and stroke.
For this reason the World Health Organisation (WHO) has come up with a simple guideline to assess your cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk, by measuring belly circumference.

Here are the guidelines:
                                                    Waist circumference
                                   increased risk                 even higher risk
Men                     over 94cm  (37 inches)     over 102cm (40 inches)
Women                over 80cm (31.5 inches)    over 88cm (35 inches)

Note that your belly circumference is NOT equal to your trouser size, but most probably higher! Belly circumference is measured at the height of the belly button, whereas most people wear trousers below the belly, where the circumference is much smaller.

Why is belly fat so dangerous?

Increased accumulation of fat in the belly area causes fat deposits around the liver, the heart and the pancreas. Fatty liver as well as fatty pancreas have been linked to the onset of type-2 diabetes, whereas fat deposits around the heart are linked with the narrowing of the coronary arteries, which supply the heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients. When these arteries become blocked, a heart attack ensues, as the heart muscle is no longer able to contract and pump blood through the body.

How can we reduce visceral fat

While studies show that nutritional intervention has some effect on reducing visceral fat, cardiovascular fitness (or lack of) seems to be highly correlated with CVD risk. In fact studies examining a combined approach of moderate caloric restriction and increased exercise show the best chances of reducing dangerous visceral fat.

visceral fat treatment

Therefore its important that you take up an exercise programme to improve cardiovascular fitness together with an improved diet if you are determined to increase your chances for a long life.
Although walking is appropriate to commence your exercise programme if you are overweight and havent exercised in a long time, it usually is not intensive enough to bring about a real increase in cardiovascular fitness in the long-term.

This is where the real benefits of our supervised exercise programme in the form of Personal Training come in. By enrolling in our programme, you will be guided and supervised by our team of fitness experts to make sure your fitness levels increase and your waist circumference decreases. Our regular assessments will ensure that you are on track towards achieving improved fitness, lower visceral fat levels and overall improved health parameters, including reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose and blood pressure. Besides, our nutrition coaching programme will teach you to develop better long-term eating habits that will not only help you to lose weight, but keep it off for good.

If you'd like to talk to us to find out how we can help you improve your health and fitness, call us on 27 877 445 or click here to fix an appointment online.

Remember: To enjoy the monetary rewards of your hard work, you need to be in good health. Invest in your health through prevention, rather than waiting until the damage is done! At that stage, it may be too late!