Belly fat is notoriously difficult to shift for men, especially for those of us on the far side of 40.
Our bellies and our love handles are where we store our fat, and as we age and life just seems to get harder, we seem to keep getting softer. However, while body fat is likely to be part of the problem, there could be another reason you can’t seem to shift your belly, no matter how hard you hit the gym.
Posture and your pelvis
Putting aside things like food allergies or eating way too much sugar the night before, there could be a postural element that is making your belly feel more pronounced.
Typical office life has caused many of us to have all sorts of posture problems, from lower back pain to protracted shoulders that cause a permanent slouched look. Another problem you may not be aware of is ‘anterior pelvic tilt’ in which your hips are pushed forward, your glutes are pushed back, and as a result, your belly is pushed out.
Research has shown that as many as 85% of men (and 75% of women) have an anterior pelvic tilt even if they never present any symptoms.
3 exercises to correct anterior pelvic tilt
Add a few of these exercises into your weekly workouts and work towards gradually returning your pelvis to a neutral position.
1. Bodyweight squats
Squats are an amazing all-in-one exercise that helps strengthen your leg muscles and your butt, thus improving your posture. However, if you have an exaggerated anterior pelvic tilt as I do, barbell squats can put way too much pressure on your lower back and can cause injury. Stick with bodyweight squats for now until your posture improves.
2. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
This is a great stretch to do before and after a workout, or just if you find you’ve been sat down for too long. It helps to loosen and lengthen tight hip flexor muscles caused by long periods of sitting (in other words, every day at work).
3. Glute bridge
A glute bridge is SO good for you but looks filthy when performed properly. Which may actually be part of the appeal. It targets your glutes (obvs) and your hamstrings which will help to correct a tendency to over-present your butt when standing… not that any of us do that.
While an anterior pelvic tilt may not be the only reason you have a belly (I can’t blame it entirely on the tilt, the peanut M&Ms may have something to do with mine), it could be making the little belly that you have look and feel more pronounced, as well as adding constant pressure on your lower back.
It would definitely be worth speaking with a gay personal trainer to check your posture and mobility. As you improve your core strength and form, your posture will become more neutral and your belly will be less and less pronounced.