In this article, we will talk about stomach fat and some ways you can get rid of it through exercise.
Unfortunately, spot fat reduction is a myth, and to lose belly fat, you will have to make some significant changes. It will first involve your nutrition, as you have to be in a caloric deficit to trigger fat loss.
But, there are things you can do while in the gym to make the process faster, and this post will help you with that.
While you can lose weight just by reducing your calories, it is a much better idea to include cardio into your routine. Among exercises to lose belly fat, nothing beats cardio.
Cardio is also great for overall health, especially for cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It can also boost mood, and it counters all day sitting.
There are two ways you can approach this:
Steady-state is the old-school form of cardio and is one of the rare ways you can directly target fat stores, using them as energy. To do that, you need to stay in the “fat-burning” heart rate zone.
To calculate it, you first need to figure out what your maximal heart rate is. You do that by subtracting your age from 220. So for a 35-year-old, the maximal heart rate is 220-35=185. 65% of that number is your fat-burning zone.
So in our example, its 185 x 0.65=120 BPM. If a 35-year old stays around 120 BPM, he/she is using fat for energy.
There is one more thing to pay attention to: duration. To make your steady-state cardio workouts effective, you need to perform them for at least 20 minutes, but ideally, 30-60.
Yes, it takes a lot of time, but it is a time-tested method, and one of the best ways to lose fat, stomach fat included.
As for the type of cardio, any is fine, as long as you enjoy it. Running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, stair master, any cardio is fine. Just make sure you do it at a moderate pace, and for an extended period, 30+ minutes. And of course, do it regularly, at least 2-3x per week.
High-Intensity Interval Training
Interval training is around for quite some time, but it is getting a lot of attention in the last few years. And for a good reason too, as it is a very effective form of exercise, giving you a lot of results in the shortest time possible.
HIIT is about switching short bursts of high intensity, with longer periods of lower intensity exercise, then back to high intensity, and so on, without rest in between.
You go all-in for 30 seconds, and you immediately follow it up with 60 seconds of a slower tempo, transitioning again to 30 seconds of all-in. Continue doing that for 15 minutes, and you are done.
You can do HIIT anywhere, with any equipment, and even with your own body. Exercises like battle ropes workout, burpees and jumping jacks are perfect for HIIT, and so is jump rope and kettlebell swings.
But, you can also do HIIT on a stationary bike or treadmill, if you fancy cardio equipment. Any exercise that lets you abruptly change pace is a good option for this type of training. As long as you switch the tempo high-low-high-low, you are doing some form of interval training.
This type of exercise is not only great for fat loss, as it continues burning hours after the workout, it will also save you time, and it will build up your fitness level fast. And if you do exercises like kettlebell swings, you can even build muscle in the process.
Learn More: How to Do a HIIT Leg Workout
If you don’t lower your body fat percentage, you will never reveal your abdominal muscles. Still, training your abs will help reveal them faster. You will have a better six-pack once you do get your body fat percentage down.
Plus, ab training is very important as it protects your back from injuries, and it makes you perform better on other exercises and sports activities. Here’s how to train abs:
Planks and Side Planks
Planks are an excellent way to train abs as they don’t agitate your back, making them one of the safest exercises you can perform. They train your stabilizer muscles, which translates really well into other movements you do around the gym, especially barbell training.
Try this plank workout:
- Plank 30 seconds
- Left side plank 15 seconds
- Plank 30 seconds
- Right side plank 15 seconds
- Repeat for 6 rounds without rest in between.
Crunches and Side Crunches
Crunches are the old-school way to train abs, and it still works today. One of the roles abs have is spinal flexion, and crunches are all about that. To avoid back pain, try pulling your head towards the ceiling, not towards knees, and focus on flexing ab muscles.
And don’t forget about obliques, do some alternating side crunches too. Just try touching your elbow with your opposite knee.
Read More: Alternatives to Crunches
Hanging Leg Raises
Hanging leg raises are one of the best exercises you can do for your core. Just hang from a pull-up bar, and lift your knees towards your chest, without using momentum, no cheating! Then slowly lower your legs, and repeat.
This exercise is challenging, and if you can’t do it, try performing leg raises while lying on the floor. Once you strengthen your lower abs, go ahead and try the hanging version again.
Hanging leg raises will develop your abs like no other exercise, so give it your best shot and work on improving, it will show great results.
As we said, if you don’t get your nutrition right, everything else will be futile, at least when it comes to stomach fat. Yes, cardio and ab training does help, but if you don’t stop eating those candies, you will never reveal that six-pack.
So ditch the sweets, ditch the soda, cut down on bread, and include cardio and direct ab training. Before you know it, you will start noticing results.
Your six-pack is just around the corner, and all it takes is some discipline to get there. Don’t give up!
Learn More: 9 Exercises for a Flat Stomach