How to Deal with Belly Fat with PCOS

Today’s article is one that I have been looking forward to for a long time. Having just had a baby, I’m desperate to blitz the last of my weight and that darn belly fat that goes hand in hand with PCOS. It is written by someone whom I hope you’ll see a lot more of on the blog!

To find out more about how to manage PCOS naturally and deal with that belly fat by changing the way that you eat, check out my free training, “How to Manage PCOS Naturally.”

Erika is a certified personal trainer, Nutrition Coach, and fitness writer. She holds certifications from the American Council on Exercise (ACE), TRX Suspension Training Systems and Precision Nutrition.

Erika was diagnosed with PCOS in 2005. She believes that lifestyle modifications are the best treatment for PCOS. If you want to learn more about how exercise can alleviate PCOS symptoms, please visit her website at erikavolkfitness.com.

Erika lives with her husband in a small beach town somewhere in Costa Rica. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, learning Spanish and traveling. At erikavolkfitness.com you’ll find at-home workout plans, healthy cooking tips, and stories about her life in Costa Rica.

As a personal trainer, I always get a little nervous when a female client walks into my training studio, grabs ahold of her belly and says “We need to do something about this!”

I take a deep breath and give her the bad news (and then the good news!).  The bad news is that we can’t selectively reduce fat from certain areas of our bodies.  The good news is that you can reduce your belly fat through a commitment to regular exercise and healthy eating habits.

Bombarding your poor abs with crunches is not an effective way to battle belly fat. Abdominal fat, like all other body fat, needs to be used by the body as a fuel source in order for it to disappear from your waistline.

 

The majority of abdominal exercises do not burn many calories. Abdominal strengthening exercises will improve the tone of your rectus abdominis, obliques and transverse abdominal muscles, but you will have nothing to show for your hard work if those abs are covered by a layer of fat!

Think of it this way: if you put silk bed sheets beneath a down comforter, can you tell the sheets are silk just by looking at the bed? No – and you can’t see strong, taught ab muscles if they are beneath a layer of fat.

So what’s the solution? Choose exercises that use large calorie burning muscles, like your quads, while also engaging your abdominal core. This approach will help you build a stable, strong core while you burn fat.

Of course you will also need to eat a diet of healthy foods like the meal plans you find on this site 🙂

At the bottom of this post you’ll find a 25 minute, equipment free, home workout that will help you burn some serious calories, strengthen your abdominal core and other major muscles. I designed the workout to help you address belly fat in a sensible and effective way.
Belly-fat-PCOS-stomachBut before you get your sweat on, I want to talk a little bit about belly fat and PCOS. Carrying weight around your middle is a risk factor for PCOS, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease – yikes! It certainly is important to both our health and our pride to reduce belly fat.

There are two types of fat that take up residence in your middle: subcutaneous abdominal fat and visceral fat. Subcutaneous abdominal fat is the stuff you see in the mirror, that you can pinch. Visceral fat is hidden and tucked away deep in the body in-between the internal organs.

Visceral fat is particularly concerning for us PCOS women. Studies have lead the medical community to believe that visceral fat contributes to insulin resistance and that abdominal fat in general disrupts the functioning of several other hormones. If there is one thing us ladies with PCOS want to avoid it is additional hormonal imbalances!

Fortunately exercise tends to reduce visceral fat quickly. A 2005 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that individuals who participated in a moderate-intensity aerobic workout for a total of 3 hours a week (that could be broken down into just 25 minutes a day) lost 7% of their visceral fat in just 8 months.  While just a little activity can go a long way it seems that being sedentary can really add to your belly fat problem. The same study observed a control group of similar participants. The control group did not do any exercise and saw a jaw-dropping 8.6% increase in visceral fat.

Our more unsightly subcutaneous abdominal fat tends to be more stubborn but it will respond to lifestyle modifications like regular exercise. So even if your become frustrated with your slowly shrinking waist remember that you are probably eradicating that more dangerous visceral fat before moving on to your muffin top.

Belly fat can be an embarrassing problem and an issue that could be affecting your overall health. Your extra belly fat does not have to be a permanent condition! Regular exercise, good nutrition and patience will shrink your belly fat while expanding your health and self esteem.

How to deal with belly fat with PCOS pinterest

The attack your belly fat circuit

Directions:

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  • Warm up with five to ten minutes of dynamic stretching.  You can find instructions for a quick warmup on this page.
  • Do each of the exercises below for the work interval you selected based on your fitness level (see the chart below.)
  • Once you have completed the recovery interval move on to the next exercise.
  • Once you have completed each exercise (the circuit) you can choose to rest
  • Keep making your way through this circuit for 20 minuets.
  • Work really hard. Have fun.
  • Cool down and stretch. Go enjoy the rest of your day.

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Work Level

Rest Level

Break between Circuits

Beginner 20 seconds 40 seconds 1-2 minutes
Intermediate 1 30 seconds 30 seconds 2 minutes
Intermediate 2 40 seconds 20 seconds 2 minutes
Advanced 20 seconds 10 seconds Complete 2 circuits in a row, then rest for 2-3 minutes

The Plank

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  • Lie on you stomach and forearms with your elbows beneath your shoulders.
  • Exhale, brace your core, and make your legs ridged as you lift your weight off the ground so that you are supporting yourself on your forearms and toes.
  • Hold this position with a neutral spine, do not let your torso and hips sag toward the ground or stick your butt in the air.

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Belly fat PCOS plank

 Bodyweight Turkish get up

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  • Lie on your back on the ground and extent the right arm up so that the wrist is above the shoulder.
  • Bend the right knee so that the foot is flat on the ground and angled outward, close to right hip. Keep the left leg straight.
  • Raise right shoulder off of floor by rolling onto left elbow.
  • Sit up while pushing off on floor with left arm until arm is straight.
  • Lift hip off of floor and pull left leg under body.
  • Swing the left leg underneath your body so that the left knee is on the ground, and directly below the left hip.
  • Brace the core and and bring your torso upright so that your shoulder are directly above the hips.
  • Stand up by extending legs and placing rear leg next to forward leg.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, core taught and chest proud.
  • Inhale, bend your knees and flex the hips as you lower your seat back and down
  • Your knees and thighs should drive out to the side while your glutes contract. lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel with the floor.
  • Exhale, keep your torso stiff and upright as you press the feet into the ground, extending knees and hips until you are standing again.
  • If you are ready for an extra challenge jump up to standing.

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Bodyweight squat

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  •  Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, core taught and chest proud.
  • Inhale, bend your knees and flex the hips as you lower your seat back and down
  • Your knees and thighs should drive out to the side while your glutes contract. lower yourself until your thighs are at least parallel with the floor.
  • Exhale, keep your torso stiff and upright as you press the feet into the ground, extending knees and hips until you are standing again.
  • If you are ready for an extra challenge jump up to standing.

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Belly fat PCOS squat

The inch worm

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  • Reach or squat down so that your hands are on the ground.
  • With a strong core “walk”  your hands out in front of you and extend your body until you’re in a plank position:
  • your hands should be slightly wider than shoulders width apart, your torso stiff with braced abs, do not stick your rear up in the air or let your hips sag toward the ground, the glutes should be firm. Hold for 2 counts.
  • Walk your feet up to meet your hands.
  • Repeat steps 1-3 till the interval is up.  Focus on engaging your core during the exercise.

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Belly fat pcos Inch Worm

I don’t know about you but I really enjoyed reading Erika’s thoughts on how to get rid of that belly fat. In fact, I enjoyed it so much, I have asked Erika to give us more exercise tips on a regular basis so look out for more articles from Erika in the future.

Have you tried any of these exercises or have any other suggestions for getting rid of that belly fat, we’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment below!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

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