Short answer, yes. All carbohydrates that your body can digest turns into sugar).
But, there is a little bit more to answering the question “do all carbs turn to sugar.”
Wait, carbs turn into sugar?
Yes, carbs from fiber will not be digested so those will not be converted to sugar.
However, all other carbs will be converted to sugar at some point in the digestion process.
Outside of fiber you can find carbohydrates as starches or sugars in the food we consume. Both of these will be turned into glucose in the digestion process (glucose is a type of sugar).
How does your body turn carbs into sugar?
When you eat food it begins the digestion process. As food moves through your digestive tract carbs are broken down by the system into their simpler forms (ie. Sugar).
Then these sugars are absorbed into the body. This absorption mostly happens in the small intestines.
Then they are sent to the liver. At this point the liver will send the carbohydrates into the blood to be transported wherever it is needed (usually the brain and muscles will get what they need first).
If there is extra carbs left over after your brain and muscles have taken what they need the body will store the rest into the liver.
The muscles and liver are the only two places your body can store carbohydrates. So there is limited storage space. To give you an idea, a 150-pound individual can store around 500g of carbs (about 1.1 pounds) at any given time.
Your muscle and liver will take the glucose (sugar the body has turned the carbs into) and transform it into something called glycogen (simply the stored form of carbs).
From there when the body needs carbs it turns them back into glucose (sugar).
Do too much carbs make you gain body fat?
Yes, your body turns excess carbohydrates into body fat, but that’s also true for all forms of energy such as fat, protein and alcohol.
When your body fills up the “storage space” for carbs in the muscles and liver if there is any more excess carbohydrates they are converted into body fat and stored.
Sugar is Bad Right?
No, sugar is not bad. There is a big difference between eating processed sugar and your body taking sugar from fruit or potatoes and turning it into sugar.
Carbs aren’t bad.
Yes, excessive carbohydrates create an issue, however, carbs in general aren’t bad.
They provide the body with energy, most people enjoy eating them. Many whole food sources of carbohydrates are packed with healthy vitamins, minerals and other micro-nutrients.
First, I want to tell you about a client I had who wanted belly fat exercises. I’ll call Maggie.
Maggie really wanted to drop a bit of belly fat.
She told me she was looking for belly fat exercises when we first sat down.
I told her there was good news and bad news.
Bad news first.
There aren’t any belly fat exercises. You cannot truly target belly fat through exercises…….but…….
The good news.
You can flatten your stomach pretty easily with a few simple exercises.
Flattening your stomach can make a massive difference in how confident you feel inside of your own body.
Flattening your midsection makes it appear like you have targeted belly fat.
As you’ll see below from Maggie’s picture it can make a massive difference in the appearance of your tummy.
So Maggie was a little hopeful, but still somewhat doubtful when I explained what I’m about to explain to you about how to flatten your tummy.
But, after just a few weeks she was thrilled with the results she got.
For years she hadn’t felt confident or comfortable inside of her own body.
She would spend a lot of time starting in the mirror after lifting her shirt up to look at her stomach.
Every time she looked in the mirror she’d go through the same negative dialogue in her head.
Saying negative things about herself that I wouldn’t want to repeat here.
So, how’d she managed to flatten her stomach and start feeling more confident?
How to Get a Flatter Midsection
First, understand that most people have stomach distention. That means their stomach is pushed out more than it’s supposed to be.
Stomach distention can be related to a lot of different factors from digestion issues, stress, eating too much processed food, too much alcohol consumption and a host of other reasons.
Regardless of what causes the stomach distention, it causes the muscles in the midsection to stretch out a bit.
As you can see in this picture the stomach is really pushed out distending past where it should.
This specific example is largely caused by digestive stress.
There is no change in body fat between these two pictures. It’s simply our process of flattening out the stomach.
It’s not uncommon for us to have clients who aren’t even looking to drop body fat lose 1/2 - 2 inches off their waste by going through this process I’m going to share with you.
What Won't Flatten Your Tummy
Before I get to what to do. I wanted to quickly explain what not to do.
If you’re performing typical crunches and leg lifts they will not help you to flatten your stomach.
In reality, the way that most people perform them will actually have high chances of causing you to have stomach distention.
That’s right the exact opposite effect of what you want.
Deeper Abdominal Muscles to Flatten Your Tummy
If you are looking to try and target your belly and flatten your stomach your best bet is to focus on developing what is sometimes referred to as the inner unit of the abdominal wall.
Some experts have broken the anatomy of the abdominal wall into two groups.
The inner unit (your deeper abdominal muscles) and the outer unit (the muscles closer to the surface of the skin).
The inner unit of ab muscles almost works like a girdle to hold your tummy flat.
Also, the inner unit helps with stability, holding your organs in place, and circulation.
The inner unit muscles tend to work more often throughout the day when you’re doing normal day to day activities. (1)
On the other hand, the outer unit of abdominal muscles will be used when required to stabilize under more challenging activities.
For example, if you’re playing sports, lifting weights, picking up a child or a heavy bag of groceries, etc. (2)
It's important to note that you will also need your inner unit to work in conjunction with the outer unit when you need lots of stability.
Typically, you work the outer unit with exercises like crunches and most leg lifts.
Most people are constantly using their outer unit while exercising and not actually strengthening their inner units.
If you strengthen the outer unit too much without proper attention to the inner unit it can actually cause problems with your posture which makes your stomach look more pronounced.
Later in this article, I’m going to walk you through exercises that help you to get your inner unit of your abdominals working.
That will translate into a flatter stomach which will make it look like you've found exercises to target belly fat.
One Secret to a Flatter Stomach
Previously, I mentioned that working the outer unit of abdominal muscles can cause problems with posture.
This is actually one of the easiest ways to get a flatter stomach.
You can’t simply focus on standing up tall all the time though. You need to actually correct the postural imbalances to help get a flatter looking midsection.
If you want to focus on getting a flatter tummy you need to focus on improving your posture.
I’ll walk you through exercises to help you correct the posture imbalances that create the biggest issues with flattening the stomach.
TVA Vacuum to Flatten Your Stomach
First, I have the vacuum exercise. This targets your TVA which is a set of abdominal muscles that run very deep. (Part of the inner unit of the core)
The TVA are often referred to as the natural weight lifting belt because they play such an important role in stabilizing the spine.
With this exercise it is really important that you focus on feeling the contraction in the right spot (which I’ll explain in the video).
It is easy to have the rectus abdominals (“6 pack” ab muscles) contract and compensate.
Lower Abdominals Exercise for a Flatter Stomach
Next, I want you to target your obliques. But, we are going to do something different than most oblique exercises.
With most oblique exercises there is a lot of twisting. I want you to focus on getting control of these muscles with a static hold.
Again, it is really important to listen to the detail of where to feel this exercise. If you perform this exercise properly it will help you to flatten your stomach.
Change the Pelvis to Flatten the Stomach
In addition to strengthen abdominal muscles you need to fix the posture like I mentioned earlier.
One of the biggest things that causes the midsection to look larger or give you a distended stomach is something called lordosis.
Essentially, lordosis is an increased curvature in the lower back cure. Typically, it comes with a pelvis that’s tipped forward causes the stomach to looked pushed out.
I’m going to give you a 3 stretches to help lengthen out some of the muscles that will cause your pelvis to drop forward into the position. If you start getting the posture of your pelvis improved, it will instantly make it look like you’ve targeted belly fat.
Finally, the last exercise to help your pelvic position so that you can get a flatter midsection is to get your glutes (butt muscles) more developed.
How Often Should You Perform These Belly Fat Exercises?
Obviously, it’s going to be different from person to person. But, here are some guidelines to help you get started.
Frequency: Perform 3-4 times per week for the next four weeks.
Reps: Perform 30 seconds on each exercise
Sets: 2-3 sets of each exercise. Perform the exercises in a circuit one after another going through the circuit 2-3 times.
Altogether it will take you about 8-12 minutes to go through this whole exercise routine to help flatten your stomach.
Wrap Up on Exercises to Target Belly Fat
Remember, you can’t truly target belly fat with exercises. However, you can flatten your stomach. Which for all intents and purposes makes it look like you have targeted belly fat thanks to your flatter, firmer stomach.
In addition to a flatter tummy, you have the huge bonus of likely decreasing your chances of having lower back pain with all of these exercises.
Finally, remember that smalls things can go a big way if you consistently do them. That’s what we are trying to teach our clients every day.
The weight loss industry tricks people into believing that they need some magic pill or secret diet to start losing weight, get a flatter stomach and start feeling more confident.
In reality, all of those things are distracting you away from taking consistent action day-to-day which is the real secret to reaching your goals.
What’s the best cardio for weight loss? Let me tell you something important, most people make big mistakes when it comes to cardio and weight loss.
I’m going to share with you 3 key things you need to know to get the best cardio for weight loss.
First, I’ll give you the straight numbers when it comes to cardio for losing weight. Then I’m going to share with you 2 secrets to burning the most body fat possible from your cardio workouts.
I’ll even share some videos below that explain how to perform cardio so you’re burning the most body fat humanly possible during your workout.
The Best Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
When it comes to losing weight it’s all about burning out the most energy possible combined with tweaking your nutrition to get into an energy debt (burning more calories than you’re consuming).
Therefore, the best cardio workouts for weight loss will be the ones that burn the most energy.
If you take a look at the chart below you can see how much energy you burn for different cardio exercises.
As you can see the top 3 for burning out the most calories are:
I want to stress something important though. A lot of people don’t realize this. These are not exact numbers. These are rough estimates of how much energy you’ll burn.
The more someone weighs the more energy they burn doing exercise so it varies based on body weight. In addition to that, the better shape you get in the less energy you burn during workouts (I’m going to help you to avoid this with secret #2 down below). Finally, there are genetic differences from person to person.
What’s the Best Cardio for Weight Loss at the Gym?
If you’re searching for the best cardio for weight loss at the gym from the numbers you would go with running..
What’s the Best Cardio for Weight Loss at Home?
On the other hand, if you were looking for the best cardio for weight loss at home you would go with hiking or running.
Secret #1 to the Best Cardio for Losing Weight
Earlier, I said that I’d share with you 3 things you needed to know to answer the questions “what’s the best cardio for weight loss?”
I covered how many calories you’re burning, but what are the 2 secrets mentioned earlier.
First, I want to stress the most important factor when selecting the best cardio workout for you. What cardio do you enjoy doing the most?
At my personal training studio, a high percentage of clients do not enjoy exercise. Are you part of the majority that doesn’t have much interest in exercise outside of losing weight?
The most important factor to figuring out the best cardio for weight loss is figuring out which one you can consistently perform. Most people look at the small picture when it comes to weight loss.
For example, “which cardio burns the most calories?”
In reality, it’s not about what burns the most calories in a workout, it’s more important is what’s going to burn the most calories over the course of 4 weeks, 6 months, or a year.
I know, you probably don’t want to look at the bigger picture. But, if you want to maintain those results you work so hard for I need you to look at the bigger picture just for a second.
If you are more likely to consistently perform a certain type of cardio workout when you’re trying to lose weight you will burn more energy over the bigger picture because you’re likely to continue doing it.
Secret #2 The Cardio that Burns the Most Calorie
Earlier I mentioned that most people get caught up in trying to burn the most calories possible to get the best results from their cardio workouts for weight loss.
I mentioned to focus on workouts you enjoy and the importance of consistency.
But, for secret #2 I will share with you the most efficient way to burn calories with cardio workouts. This means, this is the best cardio for weight loss.
The Number of Calories Burned During Cardio Workouts
The number of calories you burn during a workout is determined by how hard you’re working. One of the best ways to measure how hard you’re working during a cardio workout is by measuring your heart rate.
Here is a simple calculator you can use to estimate the number of calories you are buring during your cardio workouts.
The reason I mention this is that we are going to use a special technique to take advantage of this principle to burn the most calories possible while you perform cardio.
How to Burn More Calories During Your Cardio Workouts
If you want to get the best weight loss results possible from cardio I highly recommend performing interval cardio training.
The type of activity is far less important than how you’re performing the cardio activity.
Interval training put simply is when you perform a cardio workout where you alternate between fast sprints and easier recovery periods.
With this type of training your heart rate will get much higher which will results you burn more energy during your cardio workouts. Which results in the best weight loss results possible from your cardio workouts.
Here is a video that explains exactly how to perform the best cardio workouts for weight loss.
Video How to Perform the Best Cardio Workouts
Summary of the Best Cardio for Weight Loss
I’m going to sum things up here.
The more energy you burn during a workout the better it is for weight loss.
But, the more consistently you perform your cardio workouts the more energy you’ll burn over the long-term.
At the end of the day consistency is king when it comes to weight loss. It trumps everything.
Make sure you’re consistently getting your cardio workouts in.
Want to Learn More About Cardio Training and Weight Loss?
Check out our video on how much exercise you would need to lose weight without changing your diet.
If you’re worried about hormones stopping you from losing weight. Sleep is one of the biggest things within your control.
Most people do not understand what a huge impact sleep can have on your hormonal system. Obviously, everyone knows sleep is kind of important, but how does it impact your hormones?
As we’ve established your stress hormones impact your ability to lose weight. And research shows that there is a relationship between people having higher levels of cortisol (stress hormone) and belly fat.
Essentially too much stress = tougher time dropping body fat.
How Does Sleep Impact Body Fat?
Well your hormone system largely revolves around the sun (at least your stress hormones). Don’t worry, I’ll keep it super simple.
As the sun begins to rise your body starts releasing more cortisol to get you ready to deal with the stress of the day.
It peaks at its highest levels between 9:00AM and noon. And then cortisol slowly decreases as the day progresses and the sun sets.
This is how your body is supposed to react.
However, if you have a large amount of stress later in the day your body will produce more (or at any other time of the day).
How Does Sleep Impact Body Fat?
As we’ve established earlier stress causes more release. And remember stress isn’t just mental emotional stress. Coffee for example gets your body to release adrenaline (why it gives you energy). This causes a release of cortisol.
Have caffeine later in the day, cortisol could get released.
Get to bed past 10:00-10:30 at night? Guess what happens. Usually, your body will release more cortisol. Have you ever noticed you get a “second wind” around 11:00 at night if you stay up past that point?
If you eat a whole lot of sugar at a sitting in front of the TV late at night before bed. Your blood sugar will drop drastically. Which impacts your stress hormone release.
These are just two of the most common examples of things people do chronically that can disrupt cortisol.
Prolonged Consistent Stress and it's Impact
One of the biggest things people under estimate when it comes to stress is often how much stress is on their body. A lot of people associate stress with big life events (ie. Someone close to you dies, someone gets a life-threatening illness, etc.)
But, small amounts of stress (at least too much of it) for prolonged periods of time begins to accumulate.
Think of it like a small leak in your roof. You put a bucket underneath of it it’s not a problem at first. It’s not even a problem for a long time. But, once the bucket has finally filled to the top you’re going to start having a problem.
Most people only think of stress as being a huge flood in the basement and ignore their small leak that’s overflowing the bucket.
Often this leak has been there for years being ignored.
How Much of an Impact Can Sleep Have on Losing Weight?
Sleep is the only place where your body completely recovers from physical and mental activity throughout the day. If you’re not getting enough quality and quantity your body has a slow leak happening.
Both the quality and quantity of sleep impacts your ability to lose belly fat.
There have been numerous studies linking sleep (or a lack of it) to weight gain. For example, one study followed 68,000 women for 16 years. They grouped them into women that slept for 5 hours or less per night and women that slept for 7 hours or more.
The women who slept less as a whole were 32% more likely to gain over 30 pounds compared to those who slept 7 hours or more per night.
Another study found a correlation between the amount of sleep someone had per night and the accumulation of both visceral fat (inside the abdominal) and subcutaneous fat (that’s fat below the skin).
Sleep is one of the lifestyle factors most often correlated in studies with obesity and being overweight. These are just two quick examples.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Hormones with Sleep?
Here are the quick bullet points of what you can do. Don't over look these just because many of them are simple.
At least 8 hours sleep per night
Quality sleep (use the exercise below to start…..there are many other tricks but it’s the best place to start)
Don’t drink caffeine after 1:00 PM
Go to sleep and wake up around the same time everyday
Try to get to bed by 10:30 PM at the latest (obviously if you work shift work it’s not happening)
A lot of our clients are going to bed around midnight or later and couldn’t imagine going to bed that early. If this is the case, slowly go to bed a little bit earlier over the course of weeks. For example, go to bed 15 minutes earlier every 1-2 weeks.