The Big 3 for Losing Belly Fat

Forget about crunches, long runs and isolation training. Learn the three big things you need to do to burn belly fat.

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If you want to be taken seriously as an athlete, you need to lose that flabby potbelly protruding over the top of your uniform. The extra weight you're carrying impacts your health and hinders your athletic performance. So how can you lose belly fat quickly?

Spot reduction of fat is impossible, so toss that option out the window. In fact, core training won't be covered at all in this article. Although a strong core and rock-hard abs translate into increased performance on the field or court, they actually have little to do with losing belly fat.

Losing belly fat is a fairly simple process, but simple doesn't mean easy. If you want to lose those love handles, focus on the following:


When it comes to fat loss, it's all about calories, because whether you count them or not, your body does. To burn belly fat, you need to consume fewer calories than you expend. (Read Are There Foods to Help You Lose Belly Fat?)

There are two ways to calculate calories. To find your theoretical maintenance level of calorie intake, either use an online calorie counter, and go with that; or base it off your current diet. If you're maintaining weight at the moment, then what you're currently eating is your approximate maintenance level.

Get Intense with Intervals

Don't listen to folks who preach the benefits of long steady jogs. The real key to getting ripped is intensity. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is far more effective for burning belly fat than steady state cardio.(Read more on STACK's Interval Training page.) Try the following HIIT workout three days per week, preferably on days you're not weight training:

  • Pick any piece of gym cardio equipment
  • Warm up at a steady pace for five minutes
  • Go all out at maximum intensity for 30 seconds
  • Slow down and go steady for 90 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Cool down for five minutes

Basically, you've got to work your butt off when it comes to cardio. Don't believe the hype that it's all about time.

Switch to Full Body Training

When it comes to torching fat, full body training is a clear winner, because you use more muscle groups in a full body session than you do in isolation training. The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn. By causing more overall muscle damage, you'll also increase EPOC.

EPOC stands for Excessive Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption, and it refers to the calories your body uses after a training session. (See EPOC, Your New Workout Best Friend.) When you break down muscle tissue, your body has to use more oxygen and burn more calories to repair the damaged fibers and build them back up again. Hence the more muscular damage you cause in a session, the greater the impact of EPOC and the quicker you lose belly fat.


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