If You Want to Lose Belly Fat and Strengthen Your Abs, This Is What You Need to Know
Trying to lose belly fat and strengthen your core (and see ab definition, if that's your goal) won't happen overnight, but it isn't impossible. To lose belly fat and get your abs to show, you're more than likely going to have make some changes to your current way of eating (this really depends on your genetics, and I recommend consulting a registered dietitian) and be consistent with your exercise regimen.
Because every body adapts differently to nutritional and exercise changes, there isn't a universal time period for how long it will take to achieve the results you're after, nor is there a perfect workout plan to follow. You may start seeing results around the six-week mark, but this will vary person to person, so don't give up! If your goal is to lose belly fat and see your abs, continue reading for my advice. As a friendly reminder, there is nothing wrong with fat around your stomach — in fact, it's normal! Second, having ab definition doesn't make you any more or less fit. Now that we've got that out of the way, continue reading for some helpful tips to get you started.
How to Work Out to Lose Belly Fat and Get Abs
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me how to lose belly fat and get abs, I'd be very rich. As a trainer, it's my job to keep it 100 percent with you. Spot reduction doesn't work, which is why I always recommend people focus on losing overall body fat instead of just belly fat. Doing so will allow you to increase your lean muscle mass and decrease the total amount of fat mass you have. Because muscle is more metabolically active than fat, the more muscle you have, the more calories you'll burn.
Instead of worrying about getting your abs to show, I always advise focusing on strengthening your core. There's nothing wrong with wanting to see your abs, but having true core strength is more important, in my opinion. A strong core will help stabilize your spine, improve your posture, help prevent lower-back pain, and help you perform explosive movements like sprints better.
If you're a beginner (someone who has never worked out or rarely works out), I recommend starting with two to three days of strength training and one to two days of cardio a week to lose belly fat. Follow this weekly format for at least four to six weeks in order to build your base strength foundation. If you're more experienced, I recommend doing four to five days of strength training and two days of cardio per week. Go on a run, sprint, do HIIT workouts, swim, cycle, or dance — just get moving.
Because I'm not working one-on-one with you, you'll more than likely have to experiment with your training split to find what works best for you. Strength training three days per week and doing cardio twice a week may work for some and not for others. Most importantly, find something that you're excited to do. The last thing you want is to go into a workout dreading it.
Here are a few strength and ab workouts to get you started:
What You Should Eat to Lose Belly Fat and Get Abs
Exercise can help you lose fat and build muscle, but to get the best results, you'll also want to focus on your nutrition.
There isn't a perfect diet that will help you get rid of belly fat. Instead of following a diet just because it's trending, find something you'll want to sustain for five years or longer, Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview.
To lose fat, 50 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates like complex grains and starchy vegetables, 25 percent of your daily caloric intake should come from lean protein sources, and 25 percent should come from fats, Nikki Jupe, MS RD, LD, CSSD, senior sports dietitian at the University of Oregon, told POPSUGAR in a previous interview. This number may vary person to person, which is why I recommend working directly with a registered dietitian to find out what will be best for you and your goals.
By challenging yourself with workouts that will help increase your muscle mass and fueling your body with quality foods, you'll be on your way to losing belly fat. Remember that it's a process, so be patient with yourself throughout this entire time. At the end of the day, I always tell people to focus on how you feel first and foremost. The rest will come in due time.