How to Lose Belly Fat
Sometimes it’s irritating to go online and see fitness articles, blog posts, and so called “experts”, all saying essentially the same things over and over again, but never addressing how to lose belly fat.
You have to dig through 53 “your best body in 9 minutes” articles to find one actually helpful nugget about the thing that you’re most concerned about. Losing belly fat.
Here’s what I’ll cover below:
- Why is belly fat a problem?
- Nutrition is a key component of losing belly fat, we cover several body hacks to help.
- You can lose belly fat without exercise, but if you want to do it fast, it’s necessary
- Stress causes belly fat gain. I’ll give you tips to reduce stress
How to lose belly fat: Why is this important?
Belly fat is more than just an irritating deterrent that keeps your shirt on at the beach. It can also be a signal that your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, enough exercise, or that your stress levels are way too high.
You’re a guy, and you look good in a suit. Your arms, shoulders look good, but the midsection pudge is REALLY getting you down.
Chances are you have a bad ratio of testosterone to estrogen causing additional storage of fat around the stomach and chest. This can be caused from a few environmental factors, such as ingesting harmful estrogen promoting chemicals.
Some things are hard to help, like the hormones injected into meat products in the US, but other things, like drinking out of plastic water bottles that have been sitting in a hot car, or one you’ve re-used several times, can and SHOULD be avoided. Like srsly.
Cortisol is another hormone that your body naturally produces as a reaction to stress. This can sometimes be good, like as a reaction to strength training, walking up, and caffeine. However, it becomes a problem when you’re not recovering enough to make up for the stress in your life.
Belly fat also is indicative of a deeper menace. VISCERAL FAT. This is the stuff you can’t see, but is worse, because it coats your organs in a layer of fat. This is the stuff that subtracts years off your life by helping out its friends: diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.
This type of fat also promotes inflammation in your body, making you feel older because your joints are sore and stiff, and you have a harder time recovering. OH SNAP, vicious cycle.
How to lose belly fat – Nutrition
“Abs are made in the kitchen”
“Weight loss is 80% nutrition”
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”
“Shut the hell up Susan, I’m trying to concentrate on this spreadsheet” you think, as your irritating co-worker regales you with her newest fitness soundbite.
We’ve all heard the clichés, but let’s be real, what does it take to really lose belly fat fast?
Eat less. 50% veggies, 30% high quality proteins, 20% slow digesting carbs. Do this while exercising consistently for 6 months.
(tbh, this is a good answer, but you could literally find this shit anywhere online)
Fasting protocol. If you’re a guy with modest recovery abilities that is able to sleep minimum 6hrs per night, a fasting protocol is the best way to get lean, especially in the belly, which is what we want.
The best/least intrusive into your everyday life goes as follows:
10am: Amino Acids
1pm: High Protein/Med Carb Lunch
4pm: Amino Acids
6pm: Post workout shake
7:30pm: High protein/High carb dinner
As you can see, you avoid eating from roughly 9pm until 1pm the next day. This gives you a 16 hour fast every day, with an 8 hour eating window. Adjust this according to your lifestyle.
When I used a fasting protocol:
1) I found it much easier to stay lean
2) I preferred to train at 11am/12pm and eat my biggest meal directly afterwards. Either method can work well though.
For more detailed science-type information including numbers and maths, check out this post
How to Lose Belly Fat – Exercise
Do you want to know a big secret about why everyone everywhere will tell you to strength train instead of doing cardio while trying to get lean?
It’s not to build muscle, because that’s a pretty difficult feat, especially while using an aggressive protocol like the one I laid out.
It’s to make sure that your body holds on to the muscle tissue you have, while ditching fat like 7th period math class.
You need to hold on to as much muscle as possible in order to keep your metabolism running hot, and also because DUH, muscle is awesome.
When you’re in a fat loss stage but you’re also doing an hour of cardio per day, yea, you’ll lose weight, but you’ll look like a sad, soft deflated version of your previous self. If you want lasting results, train with weights.
Keep the workouts under an hour, because after about 60 minutes, testosterone levels decrease, and cortisol levels start ramping up. Remember, we’re trying to manage stress, not increase it.
Do mostly compound moves, use supersets, and rest 30 seconds between exercises, and 90 seconds between supersets. Keep the reps in the 6-20 range. A good example routine would look like this.
A1. Dumbbell thrusters x 8
A2. Weighted plank x 30 seconds
B1. Chin Ups x 6-10
B2. Close Grip incline bench press x 10
C1. Dumbbell Row x 12 each side
C2. Weighted pushups x 15
C3. Reverse Crunch x 15
Do some form of strength training 3-5 times per week. Add in 60 minutes of walking on the days you don’t train.
How to Lose Belly Fat- Manage Stress
Stress come in various forms. Bosses, relationships, children, but also things like strength training, caffeine intake, and lack of sleep.
Stress is not inherently bad, but it gets to be a problem when your recovery inputs do not equal your stress outputs. There are things you can add in to decrease stress, but often the best results come from what you can remove rather than what you can add.
Try these tips to decrease stress:
- Sleep 7-9 hours every night
- Only drink alcohol 1x per week
- Meditate 5 minutes per day (you don’t need to get all zen, sit down, close your eyes, and count your breath to 300. In through the nose, out through the mouth grasshopper)
- Drink at least 96 ounces of water per day.
- Foam roll or stretch 5 minutes before bed.
- Walk 60 minutes outside every day.
- Get a massage 1x per week.
- Practice gratitude by writing down 3 things you’re grateful for every day. (don’t you dare scoff till you try it)
- Avoid screens TV/Computer/Phone for an hour before bed (it is possible. What are your priorities?)
How to Lose Belly Fat – Wrap Up.
If you didn’t read any of the above, but instead scrolled all the way down looking for pics of me in a speedo, here’s the gist…
- Belly fat is bad. You don’t like it, and it’s not healthy.
- Use fasting for nutrition
- Strength Train 3-5x per week
- Walk outside – a lot
- Manage stress by sleeping enough, getting plenty of water, and practicing self care.
There you have it. A fairly conclusive list on what you need to do to lose belly fat fast. If you’re looking to take your results to the next level and have a professional manage your programming, nutrition, and habits, check out my coaching page for more details.