How Do You Lose Belly Fat?

November 13, 2012 | Brian Lebo

Must See Nutrition Videos

Did you know it takes approximately 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of fat? Do all the abdominal exercises you want, but if you truly want six-pack abs, take a look at what you eat and how you train cardio-wise. Diet and cardio are the biggest influencers of belly fat. (Pick up some Smart Tips on How to Lose Belly Fat.)

Shedding belly fat is important not just for your appearance but for your health. Excessive belly fat has been linked to illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.

Diet

You don't have to starve yourself, you just have to make a few changes to the way you eat and the foods you consume. (Are There Foods to Help You Lose Belly Fat?) Here are a few tips:

  • Reduce your calories/portion sizes by about 20%
  • Eat five to six smaller, more frequent "mini-meals" throughout the day
  • Drink lots of water. Aim for at least a half-gallon a day to accelerate the fat burning process (See Talking Water: Facts and Tips on Staying Hydrated.)
  • Reduce carbohydrate consumption by about 20%. Be smarter with the carbs you eat; aim for whole grains and high fiber choices. (Balancing Your Training Diet)
  • Increase protein intake to at least half a gram per pound of body weight
  • Don't reduce dietary fats, but make sure they are the mono- and poly-unsaturated varieties, like those found in olive oil, nuts, and salmon

Cardio

Ab exercises are great to strengthen your core, but alone they do little to burn off the layer of fat covering those muscles. Vigorous, high-intensity exercise is the key to burning belly fat. These types of workouts take your fat into the bloodstream where it can be used for energy. What qualifies as vigorous training? High-intensity interval training, or HIIT.

A cardiovascular exercise that alternates between intervals of high- and low-intensity activity, HIIT can be done regardless of the type of cardio you prefer—walking, running, treadmill, elliptical, stair-climber or circuit training—as long as you are using a 3:1 rest to work ratio. As your conditioning improves, you can reduce it. Try this 10-minute HIIT approach:

  • Warm up
  • Divide 10 minutes into five two-minute intervals
  • Go as hard as you can, keeping as aggressive a pace as you can maintain, for 30 seconds
  • Immediately reduce your pace to light/slow for 90 seconds, but don't stop. (That's your first two-minute interval.)
  • Repeat this interval (30 seconds hard/90 seconds easy) four more times.
  • Cool down

Additional Fat Loss Tips

  • Get your sleep: People who get six to seven hours of sleep per night put on less belly fat over time than those who sleep five or fewer hours per night, or eight or more hours per night
  • Reduce stress: Especially if it serves as a trigger for overeating. Regular exercise is a great stress reducer.
photo: speedcoverage.com

Topics: BURN FAT
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...
Brian Lebo
- Brian Lebo is the owner and director of Athletic Performance Training Center, a strength and conditioning facility in North Royalton, Ohio. He specializes in helping...

Featured Videos

Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,664
Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Views: 241,761
Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Views: 284,490
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,844
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,009,040

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

To perform at their best athletes need to eat the right foods to fuel their workouts and rebuild muscle. However, most athletes tend to eat foods that...

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

YardBarker