Not all fat within our body’s is the same.
The fat directly under the skin, which you can pinch is called subcutaneous fat. In the belly, this is called visceral fat.
Visceral fat is the most harmful type of fat stored within our body’s as it surrounds internal organs, such as the stomach, liver and intestines. It has been associated with an increased risk of many life threatening diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
Even though you may not appear very overweight, visceral fat can still be present.
Generally speaking, men tend to store more fat around the mid-section compared to women. This is in part due to hormonal differences. However, both male and females should pay particular attention to reducing unwanted belly fat to improve many markers of health.
Here are 8 proven ways to lose that stubborn belly fat.
1. Perform High Intensity Interval Training to Lose Belly Fat
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a modern take on cardiovascular training, which is taking the fitness world by storm!
HIIT involves repeated short, sharp bouts of exercise at maximal intensity, lasting less than 20 – 60 seconds. These high intense intervals are then followed by much longer rest periods lasting around 90 – 180 seconds. There are several different protocols for HIIT but most involve 5 – 10 intense bouts of exercise.
One of the best bits about HIIT is that it doesn’t require a drastic lifestyle change or even a gym membership for that matter! As little as 10 minutes, 3 – 4 times a week can have drastic results on your physique.
You can perform HIIT on a variety of gym machines including cross trainer, treadmill, rower or use equipment such as a prowler or battle rope. Better still if you don’t have access to a gym, hill sprints will be just as beneficial.
To date, a huge number of studies have demonstrated the effective use of HIIT on fat loss, physique optimization and enhancing athletic performance (Trapp et al., 2012; Heydan et al., 2012; Gillen & Gibala, 2013).
For example, significant fat loss in young women occurred following 15 weeks of low-volume HIIT, which consisted of 8 second all-out sprints followed by 12 seconds of recovery for 20 min total (Trapp et al., 2008).
The same HIIT protocol performed for 12 weeks reduced whole-body fat mass and increased lean mass in the legs and trunk in overweight young men (Heydan et al., 2012).
However, the main issue highlighted with HIIT is the intensity it requires to reap these benefits. Many people rarely train to 100% max it can be a very uncomfortable experience, leaving you so fatigued you need to lie down! That said, I recommend you give HIIT your all for those 20 – 60 seconds, after all there’s no other more time efficient method for losing belly fat.
HIIT plays a key role in the rapid results seen during my 90 Day Bikini Transformation Program.
2. Base Your Diet On Low Energy Dense Foods to Lose Belly Fat
Energy or calorie density refers to the amount of stored energy or calories within a particular food.
For example, take 100g of chocolate and 100g of celery, although they may weigh the same, chocolate is far more energy and calorie dense than celery. This means there is a lot more stored energy and calories in chocolate for the same size portion.
Lower energy dense foods are lower in calories and therefore are the types of food you want to base your meals around. They tend to be single ingredient, naturally made, whole foods, such as lean meats, fish, vegetables, fruits and done starchy, complex carbohydrates.
There is plenty of research supporting their consumption as an effective way of losing fat, promoting satiety and therefore improving long term dieting success (Ledikwe et al., 2007; Ello-Martin et al., 2007).
For example, obese subjects were counseled to either to reduce their fat intake, or to reduce their fat intake and increase their intake of water-rich foods (i.e. low energy dense foods), particularly fruit and vegetables.
The group that included F&V consumed less dietary energy over the study period, as shown below (Ello-Martin et al., 2007)
As a result, they also saw significantly greater weight loss by the end of the study. Not only did they lose it, but they kept it off (Ello-Martin et al., 2007)
There success is in part due to the fact that it is very hard to overeat low energy dense foods, therefore reducing your total caloric intake and causing an energy deficit- the key to weight loss.
In contrast, high energy dense foods tend to be highly artificial and processed. They include foods such as pizza, pastries, fried foods, ice cream and chocolate. These types of food are very easy to overeat as they are very palatable and also don’t promote feelings of fullness, in the same way low energy dense foods do.
By switching your food choices to low energy dense foods you are eliminating many foods that would have been the cause of excess belly fat in the first place. Low energy dense foods are nutrient rich too which is important for optimizing health too.
From now on, I recommend you follow a 80/20 approach, where you base 80% of you diet on whole, low energy dense foods and 20% on achieving a balance that works for including the inclusion of some high energy dense foods we all love.
3. Perform Metabolic Resistance Training to Lose Belly Fat
It is one of the most efficient ways to lose body fat whilst maintaining lean mass during a diet. Compared to normal workouts, metabolic resistance training can help you burn over double the amount of calories and fat while also increasing key anabolic fat burning hormones, such as growth hormone (Schuenke et al., 2002;Børsheim & Bahr, 2003; Goto et al., 2005).
Compared to normal weight training, MRT can increase GH release by 300% (Goto et al., 2005)!
Like high intensity interval training, it’s not necessarily the easiest technique to perform and can be tough when starting out. However, both the improvements in health and physique you’ll achieve from metabolic resistance training is more than worth the hard work.
So what is this metabolic resistance training, you may be thinking?
It is the shortening of the rest periods combined advanced techniques such as super sets, giant sets and drop sets, enduring you increase your activity levels during a session. Increasing your training volume is a key factor behind promoting muscle growth. Furthermore, increased activity helps burn more calories and therefore fat too!
You can read a full article on metabolic resistance training HERE or the 90 Day Bikini Transformation Program comes with over 15 already done for you metabolic resistance training plans. All you have to do follow them!
4. Eat More Protein to Lose Belly Fat
The benefits associated with consuming a diet high in protein keep emerging.
To date, many studies have shown that high protein diet is beneficial in optimizing health, reducing body fat, improving athletic performance and building and retaining muscle mass (Farsijani et al., 2016;Churchward-Venne et al., 2013; Phillips, 2014).
Despite what you may have heard, the myths and dangers associated with the side effects from a high protein diet are often misleading, with many medical professionals and research papers supporting the consumption of a high protein diet in healthy individuals, citing there are no negative long term health effects.
Females also commonly believe that eating lots of protein will make them ‘bulky’. But there is no need to worry as this is another myth. In fact, a high protein diet will help you lean out and improve muscle tone.
Every meal you consume should include a high protein food source ie. either meat or fish. For vegetarians this is slightly harder so there needs to be a heavier reliance on high protein dairy sources and possibly supplements such as protein bars and whey protein.
I highly recommend that every meal includes six ounces of meat or fish. Any meal failing to meet these quantities should be fortified with a protein supplement such as whey or EAA / BCAA powder.
I cannot emphasize enough, how important a high protein intake is. It is one of the most simple and effective strategies to help you drop belly fat, improve your physique and optimize your overall health.
Make protein intake top of your priorities!
5. Exercise On A Regular Basis to Lose Belly Fat
Already in this article we’ve discussed the benefits of two more advanced training techniques however, the importance of general exercise still can’t be underestimated.
You will definitely witness the fastest results with HIIT and Metabolic Resistance Training however, conventional forms of exercise can still be great for improving strength or endurance and burning more calories (Swift et al., 2014).
The recommendations regarding exercise quantity is mixed but I always suggest that you perform as much activity as you can. For most training 4 to 7 times a week is optimum. Of course, if you’re just starting out you may choose to start with a lower frequency and as you progress you can increase this.
Here’s an example 7 day training split form the 90 Day Bikini plan I recommend for fat loss.
- Monday: Upper Body
- Tuesday: Legs
- Wednesday: Cardio, HIIT and Abs
- Thursday: Upper Body
- Friday: Legs
- Saturday: Full Body Circuit
- Sunday: Rest
6. Optimize Your Calorie Intake to Lose Belly Fat
Ultimately if you want to lose body fat including belly fat you need to be in a calorie deficit. The importance of being in a calorie deficit is often under appreciated these days, yet is fundamental to weight management.
In summary, many people struggle to lose weight, even when tracking calories. This is in part due to errors arising from calculations in calorie counting. While tracking calories isn’t necessary for everyone, it does provide a good guesstimate and provide you with an appreciation of the calories in foods.
Apps such as MyFitnessPal are a good way to start tracking calories, protein and other aspects of nutritional intake.
There is no definitive way to establish how many daily calories you need but as a baseline starting point I recommend multiplying your body weight in pounds by 10, this should ensure you’re in a good calorie deficit. For example, a 150lb would start off with around 1500 calories. Obviously this is just a staring point and as time goes on you can adjust this in relation to your progress.
Remember calorie intake is key for weight loss. If you’re still not losing weight and you’ve addressed all the other points then it is likely you are not in the deficit you perceived.
Get my rapid done-for-you 7 day fat loss IF meal plans here:
7. Optimize These Additional Factor to Lose Belly Fat
Along with mastering the basics above, here are a few more additional strategies this can be implemented to help further improve your health and accelerate your fat loss.
- Optimize Sleep: aim for at least 7 – 8 hours of high quality, undisturbed sleep every night.
- Drink More Water: water is an commonly forgotten trick in boosting fat loss. Increased water intake can help keep you fuller, reduce hunger and even increase your metabolism (Lappalainen, et al., 1993; Boschmann et al., 2013) . Aim to drink at least 3 – 4 liters per day.
- Take These Supplements: certain research supported fat loss supplements can help you take your program one step further. These include supplements such as caffeine and green tea. Take a more detailed look at the benefits of fat loss supplements HERE.
- Increase Your NEAT: Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) describes all the daily activity you perform which isn’t a structured sport or exercise. This includes activities such as walking around the house, cleaning, taking the stairs etc. Unaware to most, NEAT is actually a huge part of health and fat loss. Some research has even suggested low daily levels of NEAT may be a leading factor in obesity risk and development (Villablanca et al., 2015). Try to increase your daily NEAT everyday by making simple lifestyle changes such as walking to work or taking the stairs.
- Use Intermittent Fasting: Intermittent fasting is a dietary technique where you go several hours without food upon waking or before bed. This is a great method to help lose belly fat as it reduces your total caloric intake for the day by effectively removing a whole meal from your daily intake. Read a full article on intermittent fasting HERE.
Remember, these add on strategies can help contribute to achieving your goals however it is important to have the basics in first place.
8. Stay Consistent to Lose Belly Fat
Consistency is ultimately key for long-term success.
There is no point combining all the advanced principles but not sticking with them. If you want to see results you need to stay consistent over weeks and months.
Remember, you’ve probably gained the excess fat over months, years, or even decades. Therefore, taking this into consideration you must allow at least several months to see drastic results. Don’t expect to be able to turn the clocks back overnight.
As always, build a sustainable, enjoyable plan that works for you. This will give you a much greater chance of long term success and ultimately help you achieve your physique goals.
Join The 90 Day Bikini Transformation Program
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Known as one of the world’s leading female transformation plan, it is guaranteed to help you achieve rapid results and finally lose that unwanted belly fat!
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