I am 5 ft 6 around 56 kilograms. I have some belly fat. i am a programmer so i sit / lie on a bean bag for 8-10 hours everyday. I have started working out. I walk on a treadmill for 3 times for 10 minutes. Between the walks i do exercises for a flat stomach (crunches, windmill, 3/4 situps, alternate heel touches). What's the best work routine for me?
You cannot spot reduce fat in a particular area. If you do a great deal of abdominal exercise you will end up with great abs, still hidden under your fat.
The way to great visible abs is to reduce overall fat and the way to do that is to eat less calories than you expend.
As 'they' say "Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym"
I would attack it in two ways:
- Keep the amount of food the same, but increase your protein intake.
- Start doing full body exercises to increase your muscle mass.
Keeping the food about the same ensures your body isn't going to substantially increase mass. Increasing the amount of protein you eat provides more raw material for your body to increase the muscle mass. However, to take advantage of the increased protein you have to do some exercise.
Full body strength work, even using nothing but body weight exercises will take advantage of the protein. Since you are demanding more strength from your body, it will build muscle to meet those demands. Since you are maintaining the same amount of food (calories), your body has to balance things out which will get rid of the excess fat.
Over time, if you really start to enjoy the strength work, you may look at increasing your body mass slowly. 56 kg (123 lb) is rather light for a man. To do that, you work on eating a little more while increasing the intensity of your exercise.
Body weight exercises
This isn't a full exercise plan, but it should be well rounded enough for you to get what you want:
- body weight squats: 3xAMAP (As Many As Possible)
- push ups: 3xAMAP, feel free to vary the hand positions, but keep your torso rigid
- pull ups/chin ups/inverted rows: 3xAMAP (more on this below)
- candlesticks: 3xAMAP
Do this routine 3x a week, and do something cardiovascular for 20 minutes a day. That can be running on a treadmill, riding a bike, swimming, running outside, playing basketball, doing some form of aerobics. The choice really is yours, and having a variety of activities will help you from getting bored with one of them.
About the pullups: you might not be able to do them right away. If you can, great. However, if you can't do a pull up, start with the inverted rows until you can do 3 sets of 15 reps (3x15). From there, you should be able to follow Scooby's advice on building up your first sets of pull ups and chin ups. If you don't have a bar you can hang from, you can at least do inverted rows using a table--just make sure it can support your weight.
The idea behind the full body work to get rid of belly fat is the fact you have to get rid of overall fat. The best way to do that is to increase your muscle mass. At only 56 kg, your belly fat shouldn't be too bad so a recomposition like this should be very possible. Strength training has also been shown to improve mental health, so that should help with programming.
56 kilograms is already pretty thin. If you don't already have a flat stomach then I would guess you are skinny-fat.
I am the same height as you and I am also a programmer. I was surprised to find that diet alone, while important, made very little difference in altering my body composition.
I am a vegetarian and I also practice the fine art of intermittent fasting.
I did not see the fat coming off until I added in aerobics. I now run 3x per week. I absolutely hated running when I started but now I enjoy it. Look for a Couch to 5K app.
- Add aerobics of some kind. Casually walking on the treadmill ain't gonna cut it. If you're not getting your heart rate up and working up a sweat, it's not enough.
- Add some sort of weight training, even if it's something like exercise bands. Fat burns in the presence of muscles. Aerobics + weight training act as a double-whammy against fat.
- If you are using calorie restriction to lose fat, do not do so for more than 2 days in a row. After about 2 days your body starts to think you're in some sort of trouble and goes into 'starvation' mode; it will try to store everything it can as fat.