If I was given a pound every time someone asked me “what is the best belly fat loss exercise?” I would be living on a private island in the Bahamas. It is such a common question and you should feel comfortable asking it because the correct answer isn’t that easy to find.
An abs workout will get you abs and there are certain exercises that are the best for belly fat loss.
A lot of weight loss companies claim their products or exercise regimes help you lose belly fat. You might have invested in a nutrition company that told you their products will help you. Or maybe you’ve tried an abs workout challenge and got to the end and realized your belly doesn’t look like the girl on the info-graphic? You might have read a blog that told you to cut out carbohydrates or to drink more green tea? Did you try it? Did it work? I’m guessing it didn’t because you wouldn’t be here reading my blog. Don’t worry, I am here to help. That’s me in the picture and I have reduced my belly fat after having both of my babies.
Your body cannot spot reduce fat.
This might not be what you want to hear but the truth is you cannot spot reduce when it comes to fat loss. In simple terms you cannot tell your body where to burn fat from. No matter what exercise you do to reduce your belly fat, your body will decide the fat it will prioritize first. For example my body burns fat from my upper body first (arms, shoulders and upper back), next goes my belly fat and finally from my lower half (legs and bum). A different woman might burn fat from her legs first, then upper body and finally belly. Perhaps you have also recognized a pattern is the order your body burns fat as well but it doesn’t come off your belly and that’s why you have landed here reading this article.
So how do women lose belly fat? Here are my top 5 tips that will bring you the results you want:
1. Strength training builds muscle, improves body shape and most importantly increases your metabolic rate.
Some might say strength training is the best belly fat loss exercise. I would agree, but ONLY if it is combined with the following 4 points I have written about below. Female strength training is becoming increasingly popular and rightly so. Long gone are the days the free weights section only has men in it. There’s no need to worry about becoming the incredible hulk either as we don’t have enough testosterone (or drugs more like) to do this. A huge benefit of increasing muscle mass is the fact it improves your metabolic speed. In layman’s terms it can increase the amount of calories you burn per day by 150-200 calories depending on how much muscle mass you have gained to date.
This might not sound like a lot but it adds up in the long run. Burning more calories per day means you can either eat more and maintain your weight or achieve fat loss in a mild calorie deficit – there’s absolutely no need for any women to have to struggle on 1200 calories per day to reach their goals. Especially not to start a diet by diving in the deep end but instead be progressive. If this has sparked a bit of your interest then here’s some more information about the benefits of strength training for women.
2. Eating in a calorie deficit.
Label your foods how you like; good, bad, naughty, a syn etc. At the end of the day a calorie is a calorie, it doesn’t matter where it comes from. Eat too many calories in one day and your body won’t burn fat. It takes a calorie deficit of 3500 calories per week to burn 1 pound of fat. In order to achieve this you will need to eat 500 calories less than the amount you burn per day. A good place to start is by working out what your TDEE is (total daily energy expenditure) to figure out how many calories you should eat in a day. You can do that by using this calculator. Then all you need to do is subtract 500 calories from your result and start tracking your calorie intake.
One of my top tips for anyone wanting to burn body fat is to choose food that will fill you. For example, voluminous food that’s low in calories is great because you get more bang for your buck. This includes plenty of vegetables and being selective about the type of meat you choose. Meats high in fat are higher in calories which means you get to eat less of it. Finding foods that fill you and you still enjoy is a process of trial and error but it pays off in the long run when you are consistent over a long period of time. However I did state earlier that a calorie is a calorie, so you can eat whatever you want. As long as you stick to a calorie deficit then you will burn body fat.
3. Increasing your step count is another way you can deepen your calorie deficit.
In the fitness world walking is referred to as steady state cardio. This is when your perceived rate of exertion is low to moderate and you carry it out for 30 minutes or more. It’s easy on your joints and doesn’t put stress on your nervous system like other methods of cardio such as HIIT training for example. These factors make walking a more enjoyable and sustainable way to burn calories and further your fat loss. Completing 10,000 steps per day could equate to you burning around 1 pound of fat per week. This can speed up your rate of fat loss and wont compromise your muscle growth. Plus you don’t need to take much from your food if your output is high!
4. Eating enough, but not too much, protein is key to supporting protein synthesis and muscle hypertrophy.
Dr Brad Schoenfeld and Dr Eric Helms are industry leaders in the fitness world and both recommended daily protein intake should be between 0.7-1 gram per pound of body fat. Based on this theory, if you weigh 140 pounds (10 stone) then the minimum amount of protein you need to consume in a day is 98 grams and the maximum amount you need is 140 grams. Any more than this isn’t used by your body and will be excreted. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to stick to these amounts and fill up on other macro nutrients, such as carbohydrates, to increase your glycogen storage which is used to produce energy. We wrote a blog about protein if you want to know more details.
5. Adhering to the 4 points above long term is the answer to the fact your body cannot spot reduce fat.
The fact of the matter is losing belly fat won’t happen over a 4 week workout challenge and any influencer or weight loss company who tell you otherwise shouldn’t be trusted. As you now know, your body will burn through your fat stores in it’s own selective order. There’s nothing you can do to influence this process. Remaining consistent over the long term is imperative because eventually your body will burn your belly fat. This is exactly why we tailor fitness programmes at Body Reach.We get to know you and your needs. We then take this information to create a training and nutrition plan that fits in with your lifestyle. We adapt it weekly to ensure you’re able to adhere to it over a period of months and even years.
In conclusion simply focusing on the best belly fat loss exercise is not enough to achieve the results you want. You will need to implement a combination of all 5 of my top tips. When you develop these habits your results will follow as a natural side effect. I hope this information has been useful to you and if you want any more information about how Body Reach can help you online please reach out to us on our website.