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How Iron Helps With Your Belly

The conventional perception is the key to losing weight and firming up your abdomen is consistent aerobic exercise, but Harvard's recent study seems to think otherwise. Presenting strength training as the key to targeted weight loss, the 12 year study of 10,500 men discovered that men who steadily increased their weightlifting regimen gained less abdominal fat than men who didn't lift weights, or didn't exercise at all.

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It may be a "duh" moment for dedicated weightlifters, but the study proves that 20 minutes of daily weight training does help shed belly fat, and keep it off, as long as you continuously vary and improve the intensity of your workouts.

Compound exercises are found to be an efficient method in weight training your body and keeping the intensity up. These are movements that use multiple joints at one time and involve more than one muscle group, as opposed to isolation exercises that concentrate on one group of muscles. For example, a bench press is a multijoint exercise because both the shoulder and elbow joints are working to execute the movement. In turn, the bench press works several muscle groups, including the muscles in the chest, shoulders, and triceps. On the other hand, the bicep curl is a single-joint exercise since only the elbow joint is moving, thus only working the bicep muscle.

On top of being time efficient, compound exercises are recommended because they can stimulate all the major muscles in the body and create the greatest change in body composition in the shortest time. Compound exercises also increase strength and size far more effectively than isolation exercises, and they are more functional since virtually every movement in everyday activities and sports involve moving multiple joints. As an added bonus, compound exercises help develop the body proportionately.

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There is also another side to maintaining a chiselled midriff — protein. Regular protein intake assists in thermogenic fat loss through increasing your body's metabolism, curbing your appetite, and helping to improve your muscles' strength and recovery with amino acids. Protein is also the foundation to gaining more lean muscle mass.

As a guide, to build lean muscle you should eat one gram of protein for every pound of lean muscle in your body. If you're not exactly sure how much of you is lean muscle, you can either get weighed at your gym with a specialised machine, or use this online calculator (have a weighing scale and tape measure handy).

Getting your protein intake through food alone can be daunting as it could mean a lot of chewing, and your food also comes with calories, cholesterol, fat, etc. To help hit your protein intake targets, opt for a protein powder like MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate or MusclePharm Combat 100% Whey. These are low calorie and low carb options that will help keep your protein intake up without killing your diet.

Double up a strict weightlifting regimen with a regulated protein diet, and you're bound to see your stubborn waist getting trimmer, and your six pack will shine through in no time.

RELATED: 6 Exercises For Chiseled Abs You Can Do At Home