At the age of 18, your body enjoys a faster metabolic rate and some of the highest levels of fat-burning hormones that you will have in your whole life. This may be the reason why adults often look back on their earlier years and lament that they used to be able to eat anything they wanted. In order to lose belly fat without losing weight, you will need to build lean muscle and burn some body fat. Since you are in the fat-burning prime of your life, it should be relatively simple to make a few diet and exercise changes that will help you achieve your goal.
Choose one-ingredient foods over heavily processed foods. “The Abs Diet” by David Zinczenko explains that the effect that whole natural foods have on the body is completely different from pre-packaged and processed foods. Examples of one-ingredient foods are chicken, apples and almonds. They contain only one ingredient and are minimally processed.
Replace high-glycemic carbohydrates in your diet with their lower-glycemic alternatives, says Zinczenko. Rather than white rice, pasta and bread, pick whole wheat options. Other examples of low-glycemic carbohydrates are quinoa, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, Ezekiel bread and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Increase protein intake to 1 gram per pound of lean body weight. This supports muscle recovery and will help you recover from the workouts required to burn belly fat.
Get plenty of healthy fats from sources like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and fish. According to “Xtreme Lean” authors Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman, taking in 20 percent of your calories from these kinds of fats boosts production of fat-burning hormones.
Workout three to five days per week and use a combination of resistance-training and cardiovascular exercise to burn belly fat. For example, you might do 60-minute full body workouts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That means 30 to 40 minutes of weights and 20 to 30 minutes of cardio.
Add one negative-accentuated set to each resistance training exercise by extending the time it takes to lower a weight. Aim for a slow and controlled six-second count. Holman and Lawson point to research that shows this helps the body burn fat for up to 72 hours after your workout.