Question:

I am a 50-year-old man. My weight is 154 lbs. and I’m 5’ 10”. When I look at myself I’m not satisfied. I want more muscle and less belly. I go to the gym 5 days a week. I think I have too much fat on my abdomen when I eat a lot.

– @peurn_ma

Answer:

If your weight is acceptable but you’re not satisfied with its composition, you’ll need to change two things: what you’re eating and your workout plan. Though toning your abdomen is largely a result of resistance and cardiovascular work, reducing body fat can show off those new muscles. Belly fat cannot be ‘targeted’ per se, but the type of fat around your midsection should respond to some nutritional tweaks given the right exercise.

The following can help reduce stubborn abdominal fat:

  • Increase your fluid intake, but limit alcohol
  • Get plenty of fiber – whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and seeds
  • Opt for fish and seafood vs. red meat, pork or dairy products
  • Choose unsaturated fats (and avoid trans fat)

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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