The secret to losing belly fats is simple: a diet with lots of fiber and no fizzy colas and consistent strength and resistance exercise, and you will lose your belly fat in no time.
As a gym instructor, I have noticed that a lot of people who signed up for the gym have a common goal: lose belly fat without losing weight. They are generally in great shape, save for the excess belly.
Before I go ahead and list exercises and diet recommendations, you have to understand one thing: LOSING FATS IN A SPECIFIC REGION, OR MORE COMMONLY KNOWN AS SPOT REDUCTION, DOES NOT REALLY EXIST.
While there are a lot of blogs and influencers who will claim otherwise, there simply isn’t enough science behind that.
Spot-targeting fat loss techniques have been debunked by the scientific community a lot of times before, and it baffles me how a lot of fitness blogs still recommend a set of exercise claiming that it will help you lose belly fat.
The Ultimate Guide To a Flatter Stomach
You do not have control over what regions of your body will lose fat.
That being said, you can still ensure you can have a flat belly with the right diet and exercise. This may mean losing some fat in other regions of your body, depending on your body shape.
For example, people with apple and straight body shapes have a higher chance of losing belly fats in their stomachs.
But for people who have pear-shaped body types, you might have to lose a few of your overall body fats before you can get a flat stomach.
What You Will Need to Do Prepare Your Diet
Losing belly fat is 80% diet and 20% exercise. There are two factors that you should watch out for in your diet for a successful flat belly.
Bloating refers to an increased abdominal pressure without the increase of your waistline.
This is actually a common problem for a lot of people and is usually caused by intestinal gas, small-intestinal water content, colonic contents, and nongaseous fermentation products
Fiber can help your intestines get rid of toxins and wastes by improving the lining. A diet with a healthy amount of fiber can help you get rid of a bloated stomach.
However, you should take note that you should ease fiber into your diet. Eating a lot of green vegetables, all of a sudden, can also contribute to the bloating of your stomach.
Slowly introduce food rich in fiber into your diet. A sudden high intake of fiber can cause intestinal gas to slow down, and thus, increase bloating.
Another important thing to take note of is your calorie level. If you have watched a lot of fitness videos or read some of our blogs, you are already familiar with calories.
This is a unit of measurement of the amount of energy in the food and is very important for people who want to lose weight.
Losing weight is all about losing more calories than you are getting, or what is more commonly known as having a CALORIE DEFICIENT DIET.
You have to count your daily calorie intake and create a set of exercises that will burn more calories than the amount you took.
This method is the most effective way of losing weight. Eating a lot of fibers and doing a caloric deficient diet with a set of exercises will allow you to get a flat belly in no time.
Avoid using laxatives as an easy way to get rid of your belly fat. A lot of “diet pills” that Instagram influencers are selling are simply laxatives rebranded as medicines to help you lose weight.
Unless prescribed by a doctor, or used as a cure for constipation, laxatives can be bad as a therapy treatment to reduce fats [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537246/] .
Plan a Set of Exercise
Generally speaking, cardio exercises will help you lose more body fats than any other type of exercise.
But in the case of belly fats, strength, and resistance training for your tummy area actually works better to lose those unwanted fats.
You should focus on strength and resistance training includes lifting weights, doing barbell squats, and other sets of exercises that burn calories.
Contrary to popular belief, aerobic exercise is not the only way to lose body fat.
This research shows the difference between aerobic training and resistance training. While aerobic training helps you lose more weight, resistance training is more effective in increasing lean body mass.
Aside from that, aerobic exercises will decrease your total body fat, and thus, will not be good if you only want to shed off belly fat.
This means that for people who want to lose overall weight, you should stick to aerobic exercises. But this does not apply to people who want a flat belly.
In this case, you should focus on making your midsection area leaner.
Step by Step Instruction
Getting fit is not simply about the exercise and diet, but also about your self-control.
Even if you know how to do the right exercises and cook the right food, you will not be able to achieve your goals if you are not doing it enough.
Preparation Phase: Set a Goal
Setting a “deadline” or a date when you want to achieve your goals can be a great way for you to focus on getting fit.
Since losing fat is going to take some time, do not pressure yourself by setting a very short deadline.
For a sustainable weight loss, aim to shed off at most 500 grams a week. Going over this limit might cause complications that will be extremely bad for your health.
Create Actionable Plans
Now that you have your target date, then you should start planning your daily schedule around exercising.
If you are working fulltime, that means you have to have a full exercise session every weekend, and a few aerobic exercises spread out throughout the weekdays.
For people who are working freelance or are stay at home parents, you do still need to schedule your daily exercise so that it will become a habit.
You need around 200 minutes of moderate exercise every week to see results.
While you can see a lot of specific plans for people who want to lose belly fats without losing overall weight, you will have better chances at success if you formulate your own meal and exercise plan.
This study shows that people who are guided towards changing habits have better success than being told to outright change their lifestyle.
The Reward System
Exercising and changing your diet can be rigorous for some people, so reward yourself for every successful streak. There is no harm in having cheat days, as long as it is not frequent and does not affect your whole diet.
The psychology behind having a cheat day is to loosen yourself up.
You do not want exercise and diet to become a burden to you, and thus, you should never pressure yourself unnecessarily.
People who have full control over their fitness have developed self-restraint from years of practice.
You do not have to compete against them, as long as you are a better and more controlled person today than you were yesterday.
This is also similar to creating your own actionable weight loss plan, as you should ensure that you are doing a program that you feel comfortable in.
For other people, they are fine with no cheat days, but if you want one, feel free to eat whatever you want for a day without feeling guilty about it.
Set of Exercises
Here is a set of exercises that I recommend to my clients. Feel free to pick the ones you are more comfortable in or add exercises that you think will be a great addition to the following.
Planking is truly one of the best exercises that were ever invented. It helps strengthen a lot of muscles, including the core muscles.
This is extremely beneficial for people who want a flat stomach. One minute of plank daily is ideal, but for beginners, it might be difficult to last more than 20 seconds.
You can slowly train yourself with the plank formation. Each day, your goal should be to beat your record yesterday. You should keep on doing that until you are able to last a whole minute planking.
If you have already perfected the basic planking formation, you can try out advanced levels of planking that such as the commando plank or other similar variations.
How to Do It
Lie down facing the floor. Then, plant your hands directly under your shoulders, creating a 90-degree angle against the floor. Push your entire upper body weight up, and keep your body in a straight line.
Keep this formation for your target time. Then, slowly lower yourself to the floor.
2. Lifting Weights
This is one of the exercises that burn a lot of calories. For a flat stomach, you should lift weights that are suitable for you.
Don’t do a set that feels too easy or one that seems impossible to do. The target is to feel like you are challenging yourself with the right strength endurance.
Contrary to popular belief that lifting weights can actually bulk you up, this strength training can help burn more calories.
Lifting weights will only help you lose body fats while making your muscles leaner and firmer.
People who bulk up are intaking more carbs and fats to their meal. Since it is highly advisable for you to have a calorie deficit diet, you do not have to worry about bulking up.
How to Do It
There are several ways you can lift a weight; some include basic gym equipment. If you do not have access to a gym, you can create makeshift weight in your own home with simple supplies.
Another exercise that strengthens the abdominal muscles that can shed off fat in your midsection area is the sit-ups.
Do not rely on your back muscles when you are doing sit-ups. Instead, let your midsection pull your body up.
How to Do It
Simply lie down on a mat with your knees up. Then, lift your upper body towards your knees. Exhale as you go up, and inhale as you go lie once again.
You should remember that your abdominal muscles are the one who is supporting your movements.
Do a set of sit-ups for 10 to 15 times.
4. Leg Raise
You can also strengthen your core muscles through a leg raise exercise. Same as with previous exercises, you should let your midsection area do the work.
The key is contracting your abdominal muscles to lift your legs. Do it slowly as to not cause muscle pains a day after.
How to Do It
Simply lie flat on your back, and keep your hands flat on the floor. With your core muscles as the leading muscles, raise your feet. You should make sure that you keep your legs together and straight.
Next, slowly lower your legs to the floor. Make sure that your core is engaged, and you are keeping your legs straight. Do this set for 10-15 times.
The mentioned above are part of the main exercise routine. Do not forget to do your basic warm-up and cool-down exercises so that you can lower your risks for muscle fatigue or spasms after your exercise.
I already said that losing belly fats is 80% diet. The following rules are the ones I have set for my average clients who want to have a flat stomach, but you may tweak them according to your needs.
I highly suggest visiting a nutritionist for a truly effective diet.
As was mentioned before, you need to have a calorie deficit diet. This means you have to cut back your calories so that you are burning more calories in your exercises than you are taking in when you are eating.
Introduce Fiber to Your Meal Plans
Fiber helps the intestines digest your food better. But aside from that, fiber can also greatly decrease the number of calories your body takes. With a calorie deficit diet and lots of fibers, you will easily get your flat stomach in no time.
Drink a Lot of Water
Water can temporarily increase your metabolic rate and also relieve constipation that results in belly bloating. Because of this, your digestive system can function better, and you can avoid having that bloated belly.
Lower Dairy Product Intake
While it might not be obvious to you at first, you might actually be slightly lactose intolerant.
Being lactose intolerant does not simply mean you have an irritated bowel every time you eat cheese or drink milk. It can also appear in subtle ways, including a bloated stomach.
The reason behind this is your intestinal lining cannot digest dairy products, causing gas to build up in your gut area.
If you think this is not causing your stomach to bloat, then you should consider that it is estimated that 75% of the population is actually lactose intolerant. Along with introducing fiber into your diet, you can also try to decrease dairy products.
Surprising Tips to Reduce Belly Fat
1. Do not drink through a straw
While it seems trivial, drinking through a straw increases your stomach’s gas intake. If you have an abnormally low or too much fiber content in your body, these gas will not be able to pass through your stomach and, thus, causes your midsection to grow bigger.
2. Stop smoking
Similar to drinking through a straw, smoking also increases the gas content in your stomach. Not only is a cigarette bad for your lungs, but it can also damage your digestive system.
This includes impairing mucosal immune response that can lead to bowel diseases.
As I always tell my clients, it is important to have your own trainer and nutritionist so that they can tell you exactly how to lose weight in the healthiest way possible.
However, if you have an average body size and would just simply want to have a quick tip to achieve your goals, you can do the advice listed above.
They work for average body-sized but can be tweaked to your liking.
On average, it takes at least ten weeks for my clients to see results in their midsection area.
So, if you feel like you are not getting enough, just remember that it might be a slow process, but it is more sustainable than other quick methods.