Today, I am going to show you how to lose the fat from your belly.
Not only will I explain it, I will also tell you exactly how to get started.
This is a very simple strategy.
It’s so simple that the vast majority of the people who read it will take no action and decide that it’s not for them.
They’ll continue the quest for that special diet, weight loss supplement or special combination of exercises that will help them lose belly fat.
Most will suffer from paralysis by analysis, feeling so confused by all the different ideas and theories that they end up doing nothing.
One year from now, the vast majority will look exactly the same as they do today.
I’m not going to promise a magic bullet, as it seems every website on nutrition and exercise seems to do these days, because there isn’t one.
I have no capitalized Three Letter Abbreviations (TLAs), “underground” training methods or “closely guarded” fat burning secrets to share — just a proven strategy for delivering results.
So, if I woke up tomorrow, looked in the mirror and saw a big fat belly staring right back at me, here’s what I’d do to get rid of it as quickly as possible.
Step 1. First of all I’d pick up a pen and a piece of paper and write down exactly how I wanted my body to change. This would be an “outcome based” goal, such as dropping 30 pounds of fat or stripping 5 inches off my waist. I’d also find a picture of the way I wanted to look and put it on my bathroom mirror so I could see it every day.
Step 2. Next, I’d set up a number of “process based” goals, such as eating X number of calories per day, X grams of protein per day, and so on. Then I’d create a daily checklist and tick off each goal at the end of the day. My goal would be 90% compliance. So if there were 5 goals per day, I’d have 35 goals each week (5 x 7 = 35). A 90% compliance rate means that I’d need 32 ticks each week.
Step 3. I’d lift weights 2-3 days each week. Lifting weights isn’t just for people who want to gain muscle, and will improve your body composition in two ways.
Firstly, if you don’t do some form of resistance exercise while you diet, much of the weight you lose will come from muscle as well as fat.
Second, with a properly designed strength-training program, you’ll burn fat both during and after your workout. Some of that fat will come straight from your belly.
My routine would be based on squats, deadlifts, rows, chin-ups (or pulldowns) and presses using heavy(ish) weights and low (5-8) repetitions. I’d also include some work in the 10-15 repetition range. Each workout would take around 45 minutes. I’d use whatever resistance was available – barbells and dumbbells, kettlebells, sandbags, fixed resistance machines, my own bodyweight – to get the job done.
Step 4. Next I’d add some cardio. Some of this would be HIIT 1-2 times a week, and some of it would involve nothing more than a brisk walk first thing in the morning for 30-60 minutes. I would adopt a “zero excuse” mentality to my morning cardio. If I was struggling to fit it into my day I’d get out of bed earlier, or do 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. If it was raining I’d put my coat on. If it was cold, I’d wear a hat.
Step 5. I’d follow a diet based on the principles outlined here. And if I was eating out a lot, or I just couldn’t be bothered planning my meals, I’d follow these three simple nutrition rules, the latter two of which I stole from fitness professional Jill Coleman:
1. Eggs for breakfast.
2. Lunch is always a protein-based salad and never a sandwich.
3. Dinner is always protein and vegetables.
Step 6. No food would be off limits. As long as I was hitting my calorie and protein targets for the day, I wouldn’t worry too much where the rest of the calories came from. Nor would I pay the slightest bit of attention to the glycemic index, eating six small meals a day, not eating carbs late at night, the effect of certain foods on my insulin levels, or any of the other minor details that people like to waste time thinking about.
Step 7. I’d monitor my progress on a weekly basis. But I wouldn’t bother measuring my body fat, mainly because most body composition tests are a total waste of time. I’d be more interested in the way I looked in the mirror, my weight on the scales and my strength levels in the gym.
Step 8. I’d adjust things every week or two based on the results I was getting. If I stopped losing fat, I’d make some adjustments to my calorie intake and then assess the results. If I was getting weaker in the gym, I’d cut back on my training volume and maybe give myself an extra day off. I’d stay committed to my goal while remaining flexible in the approach I used to reach it.
Step 9. I’d be patient. I wouldn’t have completely unrealistic expectations, such as losing 25 pounds of fat in 25 days. I’d also accept that my rate of fat loss would gradually slow down the closer I got to my goal. So I might start out losing 2-3 pounds of fat per week. But as I closed in on my target bodyweight, I’d be happy losing a pound of fat every other week.
And then I would sit back, relax and watch the fat drop off my body.
If you enjoyed this post, there’s a good chance you’ll also like Truth and Lies about Burning Fat: 10 Weight Loss Myths Debunked By Science.
It's a FREE 16-page special report (PDF) I put together to debunk 10 popular weight loss myths that are still widely believed, despite all the evidence to the contrary. You can download a copy here.
About Christian FinnChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a certified personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.