How To Reduce Stomach Fat With Exercise Or Not: The Definite Guide For Men & Women
Who doesn’t love a body that looks amazing? Especially a body with visible abdominals, or at least without a fat belly that looks like a little balloon.
Most men and women would like to lose their belly fat and look more toned and sexy. But they don’t know how to reduce stomach fat effectively.
The majority of those who attempt to get rid of belly fat fast end up getting back all the weight after a while.
If this has happened to you, don’t worry because you can finally learn how to reduce stomach fat and build a body that you would be proud to show at the beach.
But before getting into the nitty-gritty details, let’s clarify what your metabolism is:
It is a combination of chemical reactions within the cells of your body by which your body converts whatever you eat or drink into energy.
Even when you are resting, your body spends some energy to cover your basic needs like breathing or thinking. The amount of calories your body burns at resting state is called “basal metabolic state”.
Your basal metabolic rate is determined by a number of factors like your age or gender. Certainly, one of the factors that play a significant role in your metabolism is your body size and composition.
Bigger people burn more calories. Sounds logical right?
How to Reduce Stomach Fat By Increasing Your Muscle Tissue
Muscle is a fat metabolizer. The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. And the better you look.
Your muscle tissue assists in reducing your body fat. If you build more muscle and get bigger your metabolism will increase. Thus your body will burn additional calories.
Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue. If you want to burn more calories and reduce your belly fat you have to build more muscle.
Think that your muscle is for your body like an engine is for a car. On the other side your tummy fat is like the gasoline that a car’s engine uses as fuel.
Imagine that you have two cars, the first one has a 400 horse power engine while the second has a 100 horse power engine. Both cars need gasoline for fuel. Which car do you think will burn more gasoline? The car with the 400 horse power engine or the other one with the 100 horse power engine?
Of course the car with the 400 horse power engine will burn more gasoline.
The muscle on your body works in a pretty similar way. The more muscle you have, the more horse power your body has.
Consequently, you need more fuel, more gasoline to burn.
The Question is: How Much Calories Can A Pound Of Additional Muscle Burn?
There seems to be a widespread theory that 1 pound of gained muscle can burn 50 additional calories. However this seems to be a myth because logic, as well as scientific research doesn’t support this theory.
If one pound of muscle burned about 50 calories then a 185lbs man would need about 3800 calories to support his muscle tissue. What about the rest of his bodyweight as well as the calories that his vital organs like his brain (109kcal/lb),kidney(91kcal/lb), liver(91kcal/lb) burn? All this would add up to more than 4500 calories per day. Imagine how high the number would go if he exercised.
The real number seems to be about 6 calories per pound of muscle(link). So an increase of 20 pound of muscle would result to burning just 120 calories more.
However there are a lot of variables except an easy scale of 1 pound of muscle = 6 or 15 or 50 calories. Your body is a very complicated system and these numbers might not actually represent the reality.
On the other side resistance training can cause an elevation of the metabolic rate by a rate of 50-100 calories during the next 24 hours after exercising because of reasons like increase of protein synthesis.
In conclusion, the exact number of calories that a pound of additional muscle burns doesn’t really matter. Logic says that you get bigger, you build more muscle and your energy requirements will increase. If your energy expenditure increases by a certain amount while you continue to eat the same way, you will burn this stupid belly fat.
So focus on building more muscle, because it can help you burn more fat and look more “toned” ,”fit” or whatever you want to call it. You will just look better.
If you focus on increasing your muscle size, you will definitely look better and your belly fat will be less obvious because your whole body composition will change by the increased muscle mass.
Focus on building more muscle.
But How Do you Build More Muscle?
Generally speaking, there are hundreds of books out there dedicated to teach you how you can build muscle. Just like anything in life, some of these books are completely crappy, others are mediocre and a few are great and offer amazing advice.
However If you are not a fitness nerd or someone who wants to read and constantly learn fitness stuff then I suppose you need a simpler solution than reading 5 books on losing fat.
The truth is that building muscle and developing a well-built physique is more a matter of a mindset, dedication and consistency rather than trying over-complicated and phony routines or buying expensive supplements.
The Rule Of Consistency
The best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell has stated that it needs roughly 10.000 of practice to master something in any field. For example, if you practice something for 2 hours every day you will need about 12 years to become absolutely amazing. That’s too much, isn’t it?
From my personal experience it takes about 3-4 years to become really good at something whether that is building your body, learning how to cook or playing an instrument. Warning, I said really good, not mastering your craft.
Of course it depends on other factors like the hours you devote to these tasks daily or weekly but generally if you remain consistent for 3-4 years you will become great at whatever you do.
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” -Stephen King
Stephen King didn’t sell 350 millions of books worldwide because he was talented in writing or because he had found the magic formula of success. He sold millions of copies and made millions of dollars because he remained consistent.
I really can’t stress enough the importance of the statement above!
He was reading and writing every day for years. After some years, he was able to reap the rewards.
Do you want to build muscle?
Then all you have to do is going to the gym 3-5 times per week consistently and with some other minor tweaks in your lifestyle you will build an amazing physique.
It’s actually so simple. All fitness experts that give advice on how to build your body have amazing bodies because they remained consistent and exercised for years, not because of a new supplement, a book or workout routine.
A supplement, a book or a routine can help in a certain degree, but nothing beats consistency.
Working Out Your Abs Doesn’t Mean You Will Become Shredded
Revealing your abdominals and becoming shredded is mostly a nutritional challenge. Calories in vs calories out. You have to consume less calories than you burn.
It’s literally so simple. You can even become shredded if you eat chocolate and ice-cream every day.
Working your abs muscle because you hope this will reduce your belly fat is pointless. That’s because you are working only a small group of muscles. No matter how hard you work your abs, if you don’t spend time developing your other muscles you won’t be able to get rid of that stupid belly fat.
Targeted fat loss doesn’t exist. You can’t lose fat only from a specific body part neither can you lose fat by working out a specific muscle group.
I have seen many misinformed people believing that they can lose fat in specific spots, for instance in their belly or glutes.
However, this isn’t possible from physiological standpoint as well. To understand why targeted fat loss doesn’t work let me explain you how fat loss works.
The fat in your body exists in the form of triglycerides. Your muscle cells can’t directly used them as fuel just like your car can’t use crude oil as a fuel.
That’s why your body has to break triglycerides to free fatty acids and glycerol and then direct them to the bloodstream.
But when this process happens and fat needs to be used as fuel because of exercise it can come from different parts of your body and not from the specific muscle that you exercised this day.
A study (link) conducted by the University of California on tennis players shows that targeted fat-loss doesn’t exist. Tennis players belong among athletes whose arms have been systematically subjected to different amounts of physical activity for many years.
Researchers found that there was no significant difference in the thickness of subcutaneous fat over the muscles of the arms that received more exercise comparing to the arms that received less exercise.
If “spot reduction” was valid then we should expect a difference between the dominant and the non-dominant hands of the tennis players. The study concluded that there was no statistically significant difference between left and right arms.
Another study (link) conducted by the University of Connecticut observed the results of 104 people(45 men,59 women) who were subjected to a 12 week resistance training program of their non dominant arm. MRI determinations of subcutaneous fat changes were not different between arms in the total sample and by gender.
MRI found a generalized subcutaneous fat loss independent of gender, supporting the idea that spot reduction doesn’t occur as a result of resistance training.
Take home message: targeted fat loss on your belly fat because of excessive exercise of your abdominal muscles is not possible.
The Most Serious Mistake People Make In Their Attempt to Burn Stomach Fat & Lose Weight
That mistake is trying to lose weight only with cardio and dieting.Although this can be an effective approach sometimes, it falls under two serious pitfalls:
1. If you manage to lose weight you will go from fat to skinny and you won’t look much better.
Cardio may help you burn some extra calories but that’s all. You will end being soft and skinny. I suppose your goal is to look fit and toned. The problem is that you will never have the physiques you see on hollywood stars, fitness models and TV celebrities only with cardio and dieting.
Because cardio shrinks down your muscle along with your body fat. Without muscle you don’t look impressive at all.
Sure if you are overweight then reducing your size seems like a nice goal in the beginning. But over-time this is a mediocre goal. Your final goal should be to touch the sky and achieve the best possible physique even if you are starting overweight.
2. It’s not enjoyable.
Come on, running on a treadmill, cycling or using the elliptical is extremely boring for the majority of us. On the other side having a restricting dieting plan that is depriving your body from essential nutrients or the food that you like is also not enjoyable.
Dieting, training and building a great physique should be fun. Otherwise there is no reason to do it.
Compound Lifts Help You Build More Muscle and Burn More Calories= Reduced Tummy Fat
Don’t rely solely on cardio but start doing basic weightlifting exercises.
Compound lifts are exercises like the squat, deadlift and bench press which work multiple muscle groups. For example when you are doing squats you are working your quadriceps, harmstrings, glutes and lower back simultaneously.
On the other side doing isolation exercises like leg curls involves only your harmstrings.
The more muscle groups an exercise activates, the more calories and fat you are going to burn. Compound lifts along with cardio and dieting are a more effective method of reducing your belly fat.
Cardio burns calories the moment you are performing the exercise. On the other side strength training has an effect named ” Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption“. What exactly does this mean?
It means that your metabolism is still elevated long after your exercise. As a result you continue to burn calories for up to 38 hours after exercising.(link)
When you apply strength training to your fat loss arsenal you will notice that you won’t need to follow restrictive diets or spend hours running on a treadmill. You can lose weight with less or no cardio and more friendly to follow diet plans.
All these while becoming stronger, building muscle and setting up the foundation to look amazing. Yet, people still fall in the trap of running on the treadmill 2 hours per day to lose their belly fat while there is such a better solution.
Now that we have made clear that strength training helps to get rid of your belly fat you might be wondering what program you should follow. Any program could do the work as long as you stick to it and stay consistent.
However, I won’t leave you searching on google for the perfect routine. I have put up a simple training routine that you could follow to increase your strength, build muscle and burn that stupid belly fat.
Fat Killer Routine To Reduce Your Belly Fat, Build Solid Muscle and Get Toned
Bench Press, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Incline Bench Press, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Arnold Press, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Tricep Extensions, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Squats, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Bent Over Barbell Rows, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Lat Pulldowns, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Hammer Curls, 3 sets x 6-10 reps
Keep the resting periods between sets short. For the first 2 exercises of each workout you should rest maximum 2 minutes between sets. That’s because they are compound lifts which require a lot of energy and effort.
On the last 2 exercises keep the resting period around 30-60 seconds. This will help to burn more calories as you will enter every next set a little fatigued.
By using this simple routine you can workout as many days per week as you want. The only thing you have to do is alternating between Workout A and Workout B.
I would suggest doing some warm up cardio before the exercises, somewhere around 7 minutes is fine. Moreover, you could do some stretching and or abdominal exercises for 5-10 minutes in the end of your workout.
All these, including the workout would take 45 to 60 minutes maximum depending on your resting periods and some other factors like how crowded your gym is.
Proper Nutrition For Getting Rid Of Your Belly Fat
The basic concept behind effective weight loss when it comes to nutrition is to eat fewer calories than your body burns. If that happens then you will inevitable burn fat and lose weight.
However most people face problems in their dieting because of functionality issues. Let me explain:
There are 2 categories of people.
1. Those who live with their parents or someone else.
2. Those who live alone.
It’s hard to follow a great diet if you live alone because the temptation and convenience of buying junk food is huge. One of the best ways to stick to a good diet is to cook your meals.
Cooking your meals might not be so much fan if you don’t like cooking but it’s totally better that eating unhealthy and processed meals.
Cooking doesn’t need to be over complicated. You can make it really simple. Think about it. Generally, you need to eat 3 things: Protein, Fats and Carbs.
The only thing you have to do is grab the meat, put it on a baking paper, throw some salt and spices over it and then put it in the oven. It’s actually so damn simple.
Cutting a salad won’t take you more than 4 minutes. On the other side if you want to eat other kind of carbs, cooking some rice is the easiest thing you can do.
You don’t need to be a professional cooker to cook some rice. All you have to do is put some water in the saucepan, wait 10 minutes to boil and then put in there the rice.
Obviously the food you will eat won’t be like Gordon Ramsay’s dishes but your goal is to lose your belly fat, not to win the master chef.
However, a nice way to enhance the taste of your foods and make them way more delicious is to use different kind of sauces and spices.
Living With your Parents or Someone else(like a wife)
If you are living with your parents then your mom is probably doing all the cooking. If the rest of your family eats unhealthy you are more likely to quit your healthy nutrition plan. You will have to be stricter with you diet and don’t let them drag you down.
In case your mother, grandmother or wife can’t cook the food you want to eat then you should take care of the business and do the cooking yourself. Sacrifices must be done sometimes.
Especially if you want to improve your physique.You can’t burn fat and reduce your belly fat if you eat junk all the time.
The Final Component to Losing Your Belly Fat
Two words: Will power.
Without will-power nothing of the above will work. If you don’t have the mental power to stick to a nutrition and workout plan for a period of time long enough to give you some great results then nothing of the above will work.
Will power determines whether you achieve your goals or you let excuses get in the way and stop you.
Will power helps you being consistent. If you are not consistent, if you don’t show up and workout day after day, if you don’t follow your nutrition plan strictly then it’s not going to work.
Most people let obstacles get in their way and when they try to think what did go wrong the start naming all these excuses for their failure.
Have you ever failed to be consistent with a workout/nutrition plan? If yes then who did you blame for that?
Probably life difficulties like lack of money, a stressing and exhausting job or a nagging wife. But the real reason you couldn’t stay consistent was the lack of pure will power.
Will power is what gives you the motivation to keep going even when things look hard.
With a strong will power you can crush every challenge that life throws at you. Even with the best fitness advice, if you don’t have a strong will power there will come a point in the process that obstacles will make you stop.
Your mindset plays a significant role in achieving your fitness goals.
Summary: Take Home Points
Let’s sum up the main points to a short bullet list. So if you want to get rid of your belly fat you have to:
- Build muscle because muscle is a fat metabolizer. The more muscle you have the more fat you will burn.
- Cook your meals and make sure you take enough protein to support muscle perseverance.
- Don’t rely on cardio to lose your belly fat, but use it as an extra method of cutting some extra calories.
- Use compound lifts and you will notice that you won’t need to follow restrictive diets or spend hours running on a treadmill.
- Above all, the most important thing is to stay consistent, your will power will determine if you can do that.
Do you have any other ideas on how to reduce stomach fat? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.