Belly fat is one of the most common things that people say they want to change about themselves. Accumulating fat around your midsection is common, especially in western cultures where portions are out of control, there is no time to exercise, and unhealthy food options are easier to come by than healthy options.
There are, luckily, things you can do to reduce belly fat and get the physique that you’ve been working towards. You might be expecting to read about doing endless amounts of crunches or staying in plank position for ridiculous amounts of time but the process to get abs for women and men is the same. Here are eight ways to reduce belly fat that are quite different and are made to get results:
How To Get Six Pack Abs
Here are some key steps to getting great six-pack abs.
Related: The Top Six Pack Belts
1. Don’t Worry About Crunches & Ab Exercises
No, you didn’t read that wrong. Stop doing crunches if you want to lose belly fat. Sure, sit-ups will help your stomach muscles get stronger but they won’t help you burn the fat around your midsection as much as you might think. This is a popular myth known as spot reduction and it’s just that, a myth.
At the end of the day, crunches are a waste of time and energy when you’re looking to lose belly fat. The same can be said for ab toning belts. While some ab toning belts are great for simulating the effect of crunches, they won’t remove the fat.
More so, they cause back pain, can strain your neck, and can be a reason for bad posture. This doesn’t mean you should never do another sit-up again in your life, it just means that doing 200 a day won’t burn the fat you’re looking to get rid of. Instead of focusing on crunches, maintain a full body workout regimen that will help you build muscles all over your body to aid in fat loss. We have covered some of the best exercises for a six pack previously.
2. Turn Toward Strength Training To Build Muscle
When you build more muscle in your body you are actually aiding fat loss. This is because the muscles in your body use up more calories than fat does. This increases your metabolism which essentially turns your body into a fat burning machine that will burn the fat in your body to sustain the muscles that it has. To make this happen, turn away from your cardio workouts and start doing more strength training exercises so you build more muscle and in turn burn more calories.
Remember, this isn’t about spot reduction so you don’t necessarily have to focus on your ab muscles but a good core workout will be beneficial for you in all aspects of your health other than body fat reduction.
Circuit exercises where you work different body parts at a time are great because they allow you to work out your different muscle groups equally so you don’t get hung up focusing on one specific muscle group. Similarly, working with a personal trainer can be beneficial because they can introduce you to proper strength training techniques that will help you build muscles properly.
3. Eat Healthily With Portion Control
This is probably not shocking, but eating healthy foods is important when it comes to losing belly fat. You can spend all day in the gym but if you go home and eat potato chips or cookies, you’ll never get rid of that belly fat. Stick to whole foods instead of processed foods.
You can have occasional junk food as a treat on a cheat day but in general, you should be eating healthy foods that will nourish your body in the best ways possible.
For example, if you eat six meals a day every week you can allow yourself four junk or cheat meals a week and not do any damage. In fact, eating occasional junk food can help you lose fat because it’ll help keep your hormones functioning. In general, stick to healthy proteins, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains carbs.
4. Cut Your Alcohol Intake
When people change their diets they tend to focus more on food and forget that what they drink is just as important. Drinking your calories can impede all of your hard work so it’s important to limit the number of empty calories you drink and that includes alcohol. If you’re the type of person that drinks beer or any type of sweet alcohol on a daily basis you’re only adding to your belly fat.
More so, alcohol puts unnecessary stress on your liver. This is a problem for muscle building because when your liver isn’t functioning properly it doesn’t remove toxins from your body as well as it should. This impedes muscle building and fat loss. You can drink on occasion but limit alcohol consumption to a few drinks on the weekend. Stick to water or infused lemon water during the week.
5. Limit Your Carbs & Try Carb Cycling
There has been a lot of confusing information about carbohydrates over recent years. There are people who say you shouldn’t have them at all and some who still believe that it should be the main part of your diet. The fact is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
You need to eat carbs to generate energy, but too many carbs aren’t ideal when you’re looking to lose belly fat. This is because any excess carbs that aren’t used up for energy will be stored in your body as fat. This is one of the main reasons behind the accumulation of belly fat in people.
Lower your carb intake and up your protein and fresh produce with every meal instead. The fiber from the fruits and vegetables and the protein in your meals will fill you up so you won’t have room for too many carbs during your main meals. Save pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread for your post workout meals instead.
6. Don’t Starve Yourself To Get Ripped
A lot of people wrongly assume that if they just choose not to eat a lot that their bodies will absorb the fat they already have. This is a myth. In fact, your body will start burning your muscles for energy before it turns to the fat in your body. Starving yourself is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when trying to lose weight.
Your body will go into starvation mode and instead of burning fat and getting shredded, it’ll start storing fat because it’ll assume you need to have a surplus since you’re not consuming calories. There are some supplements that can help with fat burning and getting ripped which we cover in our guide. Shredded abs won’t come easy if your diet is not correct.
You can eat plenty of healthy foods, though. If you’re exercising about three times a week, eating as much healthy food at you want won’t make you gain weight. Instead, it’ll give you energy and keep your metabolism working properly. When you eat a lot of the right foods like protein and healthy fats, you’re actually promoting fat loss. So instead of skipping meals and starving yourself, stock up on healthy foods to keep your body fueled.
7. Consume Protein and Good Fats
As you’re choosing what healthy foods to eat instead of starving yourself, turn toward protein and healthy fats. These food groups are two of the most important ones when it comes to burning belly fat and getting ripped in general.
When you eat protein your body is able to burn up more energy since it takes more to process protein than it does to process carbs or fat. This is why so many people suggest high-protein diets when looking to burn belly fat and get shredded. Add protein to each meal instead of worrying about a specific number of grams per day. Besides meat, good sources of protein are whole eggs, cottage cheese, whey protein, or casein protein powder.
When you eat fat, you won’t be aiding fat gain. Instead, it actually aids in fat loss. This is because your body won’t store fat when it seems that it’s constantly getting a steady supply of fat. Stick to healthy fats and stay away from trans-fatty fats which are bad for your health. In general, fish oil is one of the best fats to help you burn belly fat. This increases your testosterone levels which helps aid muscle building and fat loss. When using fish oil, start with six grams of omega-2 a day.
8. Maintain Your Motivation
One of the hardest things to do with any kind of diet plan or exercise routine is to stay motivated to continue following the regimen. This can be harder when you’re not seeing immediate results when you look in the mirror. Instead of taking the mirror at face value, measure your body fat with a fat caliper, take pictures for side-by-side comparisons, and take your waist measurements every two weeks.
The results of these three assessments will tell you more than simply looking in a mirror can. As you see your progress, you will stay motivated because you’ll want to continue to see more positive results. You’ll also see how easy it gets to stick to your routine after you’ve been doing it for an extended period of time. Soon you’ll see that you’ll automatically make the right food choices, you’ll want to exercise regularly, and you’ll take better care of yourself, in general, to make sure you don’t regain the belly fat you’ve already lost.
How Long Does It Take To Get Abs?
Where many people go wrong is that they wish to lose weight as fast as possible. But losing weight just means being an all-around smaller. For an abdominal definition, you need to have some muscle tissue present underneath the fat that you are trying to lose. How long it will take to get the visible definition will depend on how much lean muscle mass you have, the intensity of your training, and how often you work out.
Generally, people go through a bulking phase to build up their muscle mass before a cutting phase for fat loss. And so there are only 2 real things you have to do to get a six-pack:
- Build up your ab muscles
- Lower your body fat
You can’t just focus on getting rid of the belly fat on its own, you have to lose fat across your entire body. A body fat percentage of 10-15 in men and 20 in women is usually required for abs to show through.
Depending on experience, determination, and genes, this process can take weeks or months. For some, it can take years. The reality is, if you have no training experience and have not already built up your muscle mass, you cannot attain a beach body in just a few weeks. You will likely have to make drastic lifestyle changes but with enough dedication and patience, you will get there.
Reducing your belly fat doesn’t have to be the hard struggle that you’ve assumed it to be. By following these tips and tricks, you can start to lose the belly fat that has been impeding your journey to the perfect physique and find a healthier way of life in the process.