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Fat is stored in the body in two ways. The fat that you can see is located just under your skin and is therefore called subcutaneous fat, which means fat that is located "under the skin". The other type of fat is located deeper inside your body, around your vital organs such as the liver, heart, and lungs. This type of fat is called "visceral" fat. It is this visceral type of fat that is a big problem, even for skinny people.

The good news is that both types of fat can be reduced with a change of lifestyle.

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Your nutritional and exercise habits go hand in hand, and a slim and toned body figure with visible abs cannot be achieved without the thoughtful incorporation of both nutritional and exercise plans.

Any exercise plan should start with moderate activity, for example 30 minutes of raising your heart rate at least three times per week. You should also incorporate more vigorous exercise, since this type of exercise is much more effective at reducing fat and helping you lose weight. A minimum of 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise like jogging, combined with short bursts of anaerobic exercise like sprints, at least three to four times a week is strongly suggested. In addition to cardio training, weight lifting (strength training), including isometric exercises, is also highly recommended for both men and women.

Excellent proof that this works can be found in a Pennsylvanian study where a group of overweight and obese women, aged 24-44, were observed for 2 years. Their training plan included one hour of weight training twice a week, combined with cardiovascular training. Participants in the control group that only performed cardiovascular training without weight training lost up to one percent of their total body fat, while women who performed weight training twice a week reduced their body fat by nearly four percent. In addition, they had greater success in reducing visceral fat.

What about spot reducing?

Abdominal exercises are effective and should be performed to the same extent as exercises for your legs, arms, back or any other part of the body. Focusing exclusively on the abdominal wall muscles will not help eliminate your abdominal fat.

When a person focuses on spot exercising, such as doing only sit-ups or crunches, this type of exercise will tighten the abdominal muscles, but it won't help the person reduce visceral fat. A person will have to embrace a whole-body training approach. That means including all muscles and all types of training -- from cardio to strength training.

Abs are made in the kitchen AKA you cannot out-train a bad diet

Some people have the ability to perform thousands of sit ups without gaining visible abdominal muscles. When a person has a thick layer of fat surrounding the abdomen, that person's abdominal muscles (popularly called six-pack abs) are not going to be visible. Therefore, the only way to reduce abdominal fat is to adjust your nutritional habits.

Here are some tips to do that:

- Cut all processed food and start cooking and eating "real" food

- Eat proteins like lean meat (suggested meat types are poultry, beef and fish). If you are vegetarian, pay special attention to consuming enough proteins from vegetable sources, such as beans, legumes and soy.

- Cut salt and refined sugar intake

- Replace juices and soft drinks with water

- Consume healthy fats such as nuts and avocado

- Focus on complex carbohydrates: eat many more veggies than an average Joe and opt for whole grains instead of products made of white flour

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