Millions of people all over the world wish they could have a flatter belly. So how to reduce belly fat faster is a question for many. However, there’s a big difference between a flat belly and one that is toned. While you can’t have a toned belly if it’s not flat, you can definitely have a flat one that’s not toned.
If all that seems confusing to you, don’t panic. Let’s look at this in greater detail.
• What is skinny fat?
Let’s assume a lady is 20 pounds overweight. She decides to go on a severe calorie-restricted diet and loses all 20 pounds just by dieting. Now she’ll be at her ideal weight and her belly will be flat.
However, because she didn’t exercise, quite a bit of the weight she lost will be muscle mass. So now, she weighs less because she has less muscle mass and fat. In the fitness industry, this is known as being ‘skinny fat’.
She is slimmer, but she still has a higher percentage of fat. The key to losing weight successfully is to shed the fat while retaining as much muscle as you can. That’s how you achieve a body that is toned and healthy. You can reduce belly fat faster.
By losing muscle, she’ll be sabotaging herself in the long run because muscle burns more calories at rest. Now her metabolism will be lower, and she’ll gain fat more easily the moment she comes off the diet. This is an unhealthy and unproductive way to approach weight loss.
• How you should approach it
When trying to lose weight, you should aim for a caloric deficit of about 500 to 600 calories daily. While this will result in slower fat loss, it will prevent your body from going into ‘starvation mode’ and hitting a plateau.
You’ll lose weight slowly but surely, and the body will not go into shock and cling on stubbornly to its fat stores because it thinks that it won’t be getting much food. So, your body works with you instead of against you.
The next important component in weight loss is exercise. You MUST exercise. Ideally, you should have a mix of cardio and resistance training. Resistance training is very important because it signals to the body that it needs muscle to cope with the demands placed upon it.
When you’re on a caloric deficit and working your muscles, your body will realize that it needs to retain the muscle for any future demands. Now it will readily burn the fat stores for fuel, and that is exactly what you want. If you do not give up you can reduce belly fat faster.
Exercising will not only strengthen and tone the body but will also boost your metabolism. It’s possible to even gain lean muscle while you’re trying to lose weight. While you’ll not gain massive amounts of muscle, you may gain some.
This will translate to your body burning more calories while at rest. You’ll be a fat-burning machine round the clock. The weight loss will be much faster and when you strip off the excess fat, you’ll look lithe and have a body that is aesthetically pleasing.
There’s a big difference between looking slim and looking fit. Your goal is to always look fit. Not only will you look and feel better, but your health will improve too. That’s how you should approach weight loss.
The slow and gradual approach will always beat the quick and unhealthy methods in the long run. True progress is slow but sure. This is the key to reduce belly fat faster
Can You Spot Reduce?
A very common mistake that so many people make when trying to get a flat belly is they do tons of crunches and ab exercises. While these are great, they’re only effective if you have a low body fat percentage.
Herein lies the misconception – people think that crunches and ab training will make their fat belly lean. That’s NOT how it works.
There is only one way to get a lean and trim belly. You MUST shed the excess fat… and you can only do that by being at a daily caloric deficit of about 500 to 700 calories. You must consume less calories than you expend.
Then and only then will your body tap into its fat stores for fuel. It has no other choice. If you’re not at a caloric deficit and only do ab exercises, you’ll get a stronger stomach, but it will not be flat.
Even when you’re at a caloric deficit, your body will decide when and where to burn the fat from. It all depends on your genes. If the first place you gain weight on is your thighs, when losing weight, that’s the first place that will see a reduction in size.
This is one fact that trips many people on their fat loss journey. People are so focused on the belly because it’s the most visible area that they miss out the positive changes in the other areas.
For example, the man who is trying to lose weight on his belly may see no visible difference and throw in the towel because he thinks he’s not making progress. However, he may not realize that he lost weight on his face, back and some off his love handles. He doesn’t see those changes because he’s focused on the belly.
If he quits, the fat in the other areas will return over time. If he keeps going, once the body has burned the fat from the other areas, it will start burning the fat off the belly. Rest assured that as long as you’re at a caloric deficit, your body will burn the excess fat.
Sooner or later, it will come for the stubborn fat on your belly. You only need to stay the course and keep going. Never quit because you do not see results fast enough. Weight loss is a slow process. Yes, you can reduce belly fat.
While you can’t spot reduce any one part on your body, there are a few tricks that you can employ to ensure that you burn the most amount of fat in any given period.
Train using high-intensity interval training two or three times a week. You’ll burn more calories overall and boost your metabolism. This is one of the best ways to accelerate your fat loss.
• Adopt intermittent fasting
By having an eating and a fasting window – intermittent fasting, you’ll ensure that your insulin levels are stable, and your body is primed for fat burning. This is one of the keys to reduce belly fat.
• Do an ab workout after your cardio
The best time to do a quick 5 or 6-minute ab workout is after your training session when your blood is flowing, and your body is pumped. The ab workout will draw blood to your midsection and aid in the fat-burning process.
Belly fat is hard to burn because the circulation in the midsection is poor. You may notice this when you place your hand on your belly and it feels cooler than other parts of your body.
• Stay hydrated
Your body needs water to metabolize the fat. Drink sufficient quantities of water throughout the day.
If you follow the tips in this article and focus on fat loss as a whole, you’ll see your belly get flatter in a couple of months. That’s how you get a toned and lean midsection that turns heads.
3 Exercises to Get a Flat, Toned Belly
A flat and toned belly can only be achieved if your diet and training are in place. To develop a toned midsection will require exercise. Assuming you’re at a low body fat percentage, your midsection will already be relatively flat.
However, to go from flat to toned will mean that you need to do a few exercises that work the belly. In this article, you’ll be provided with 3 highly effective exercises that give you the toned midriff so many people desire.
• Ab vacuums
This is a very simple exercise that reminds the stomach muscles of one of its functions – to hold your guts in. It’s common to see slim people with a paunch. Some people refer to this as a ‘pooch belly’, and it occurs when the stomach muscles are not holding the organs intact are letting them protrude.
To do an ab vacuum, you’ll need to inhale and exhale deeply 3 times. On the fourth breath, suck in your tummy as much as you can when you exhale. You need to imagine that you’re sucking in your belly so that it touches your spine.
This will create a concave appearance on your belly. Hold the tension for 30 to 45 seconds. Do this exercise 5 times. You can do it anywhere and it doesn’t only have to be at the gym.
It’s a very useful exercise and you can do it several times a day. You could be at the office and do ab vacuums while doing your work. You could be watching TV and doing ab vacuums. Over a few weeks, you’ll notice that your belly gets flatter and more toned.
• Hanging leg raises
To do this exercise, you’ll need a pull-up bar to hang from. When hanging from it, slowly raise both your legs up in a controlled manner towards the bar. The higher up you can get your legs, the better.
If you’re struggling in the beginning because of a lack of strength, you can aim for a 90-degree angle. As you get better, you can go higher.
This exercise tones the entire midsection and is more effective than crunches. Avoid swinging and jerky movements when executing these leg raises. The more controlled you are, the better your abs will be worked.
This is one of the best exercises on the planet. Most people know how to do a plank. If you don’t, you can always get on YouTube and search for planks. The reason this exercise is not explained here is because of the wide variety of plank exercises out there.
There are standard planks, side planks, knee planks, forearm planks, TRX planks and many other variations that range in difficulty. Doing these planks will target the muscles in your midsection very effectively and also strengthen your core.
Your stomach is one of the very few muscles that can be trained daily. Just spending 6 minutes a day working your abs will work wonders over a couple of months. You’ll increase blood circulation to the area which will assist in burning the stubborn belly fat.
You’ll also have the lean and toned look that most of the fitness models have. It all comes down to a clean diet and consistency in training. Use these 3 exercises in your training regimen and you’ll reap the benefits.
Compound Exercises VS Ab Exercises: Which are Better for a Flat Belly?
This is an excellent question and the answer is undoubtedly – compound exercises. It may seem counterproductive to do squats, pull-ups, deadlifts and exercises which work for other muscle groups… and yet, it’s these exercises that are the most beneficial when it comes to getting a toned midsection.
Let’s see why.
• More calories burned
The key to getting a flat belly is to lose weight. More specifically, you want to lose fat. When you do exercises such as squats, lat pulldowns, dips, etc. these compound exercises work for several muscle groups at the same time.
What that means is your body is doing more work and burning more calories. Ab exercises will not burn as many calories as deadlifts because more weight is being lifted and your body is recruiting the larger muscles in your back and legs.
Overall, that means more work done, more calories burned and greater fat loss which will lead to a flatter belly.
• Builds lean muscle
Compound exercises will help your body to retain and build lean muscle all over. Since you’re usually training harder with compound exercises, your body will be forced to develop more muscle to cope with the demands you’re placing upon it.
This is one reason why you shouldn’t trust the weight on the scale during the first month or so when you’re embarking on a weight loss journey. During this time, your body is fully capable of losing fat and gaining muscle as it quickly tries to adapt and cope.
On the scale, muscle gain will offset the fat loss and the numbers will not show much difference and you’ll be misled into thinking that your efforts are yielding no fruit. In reality, you’re making good progress and should keep going.
• Boosts your metabolism
The more muscle you gain, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. Since muscle is more calorically expensive, you’ll be burning more calories at any given time. This will make it easier for you to keep off whatever fat you’ve lost. Those who try to lose weight without exercise often notice that the moment their diet slips, the weight they’ve lost returns with a vengeance.
Compound exercises will build muscle in your body to prevent this. You’ll have more leeway with your diet and will not spiral into a cycle of weight gain all over again. Do not give up – yes, you can reduce belly fat.
• Increase in strength
While ab exercises do have their time and place, they focus mostly on your midsection. You only need to train your abs for about 5 or 6 minutes daily to get them looking great. Hit them quick and hard and you’re good to go.
However, training your abs alone is not enough. What about your thighs, shoulders, back, etc.?
Compound exercises such as dumbbell lunges, barbell squats, pull-ups, burpees, deadlifts, shoulder presses and so on will work several different muscles at the same time. Many of these compound exercises recruit your ab muscles as stabilizers.
You’re working your abs without even knowing it. As a result, your body gets stronger overall and you make much more progress in the same amount of time because your workouts are more productive.
By now you should realize that compound exercises are the better option for getting a flat belly. Do not give up – yes, you can reduce belly fat.
Disclaimer: This website is written by a regular human. I am not a Health Professional. Please get professional medical advice for your specific health needs.