Though just about every man it seems over age 40 has a potbelly, this doesn’t mean there’s no way to prevent it. And a man doesn’t have to be fat or “husky” to get a potbelly, either; prevention of a potbelly involves a lot more than avoiding becoming overweight or maintaining a “normal” body weight.
I’m a certified personal trainer. Men approach me asking how to get rid of their potbelly. Few men, though, actually ask how to prevent getting a potbelly in the first place.
How to Prevent Getting a Potbelly
Prevention involves two things: exercise and weight control. These are broad topics, so I will get more specific.
The exercise should consist of intense, heavy compound strength training. This, along with sensible eating, will prevent overweight. The addition of cardio will also help, but the key type of exercise is hard, intense compound strength training:
The above are perfect examples of compound movements. There are more, but these are all a man needs to prevent getting a potbelly.
A potbelly is caused by fat accumulation in the stomach. This isn’t as simple as saying, “Just eat less to prevent a potbelly.” A man may not be eating all that much, and still have that paunch going.
What causes fat to build up in the stomach over the years? A man’s stomach tends to grow as he gets older.
It’s simple: Loss of volume in the major muscles!
Muscle burns more fat and calories for energy than does any other body tissue. The less muscle you have, the less fat/calories your body burns. If you don’t strength train, then your body, as it ages, will begin losing muscle.
Less muscle = a slower metabolism. Whereas in your younger days when you had more muscle, this muscle burned off your food. As you get older and lose muscle, some of that food gets stored as fat — primarily in the belly.
This is why it’s not uncommon to see a man who has a good potbelly going, BUT spindly arms and legs, because the arms and legs have lost so much muscle! And you can tell that there’s poor muscle development in their back and shoulders as well.
Their body’s metabolic furnace as gone cold.
So how do you prevent this muscle loss? Intense, heavy compound strength training. This is why you will never, ever see a man with a V-shaped, “hard” physique with muscle development who simultaneously has a potbelly. They just cannot co-exist.
Two of my brothers are the same height and wear the same size clothes. One has a flat stomach and the other is slightly paunchy. Their body composition is different. The one with the flat stomach lifts weights and thus has more muscle, even though he wears the same size as the other brother.
More muscle means his metabolism doesn’t allow fat to accumulate in his belly.
Compound strength movements, when performed intensely, force the body to accelerate metabolism not only during the training session, but for hours afterward.
Next time you see a “thin” man with a potbelly, take a look at his legs, arms, shoulders and back, and ask yourself if he has any healthy muscle development.
For more information:
– 6 reasons that belly of yours still jiggles
– Huge stomach? Best gym machine to get rid of it.
– Shrink belly with this 2 mph, 15 percent incline workout
– Burn lots of fat with the deadlift
– Free barbell squat vs. dumbbell
– 4 exercises that people think burn fat that don’t