April 12, 2021 10 min read

Lower belly fat is easy to put on and hard to lose. Lifestyle choices like diet and exercise are the main causes of body fat, but it can also stem from your body type and the way you store fat. 

Fortunately, you can get rid of belly fat with a healthy diet and enough physical activity. There are many health benefits to a slimmer waistline and your body will function better overall. Read on to find out how to lose lower belly fat quickly and keep it off for good.

Causes of Lower Belly Fat

If you have medical conditions like diabetes that affect your weight, that could be related to the buildup of fat in your midsection. For everyone else, the cause is more likely to be an overabundance of calories and carbohydrates in their diet and a lack of sufficient physical activity to burn off the excess energy.

The human body stores two different kinds of body fat. One is called subcutaneous fat and it can be found just underneath the skin in various places around the body. Visceral fat is stored in the abdomen, sometimes quite deeply.

Visceral fat has been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Abdominal fat also disrupts the balance of good and bad cholesterol and may cause insulin resistance. Heredity and hormones affect how the body stores excess fat.

How to Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat

It probably comes as no surprise that physical activity and a healthy diet are the two best ways to get rid of belly fat and reduce its harmful effects. While you can’t specifically target fat in one area of the body or change how your body handles fat storage, maintaining the right balance of calories and macronutrients like carbohydrates and protein will help melt belly fat away.

Even if you concentrate specifically on abdominal exercise, that doesn’t mean belly fat will be the first to go. You’ll have to maintain a calorie deficit by limiting your intake of salty processed foods and exercising more.

But what kind of exercises help melt body fat quickest? According to one study, a HIIT routine on a hydraulic resistance machine keeps your heart rate up and burns more calories. That’s because the intensity remains fairly high, which means your body has less time to recover. It might fatigue faster with a HIIT routine, but your body will also burn more calories.

What is a HIIT Routine?

High-intensity interval training aims to reduce the amount of downtime in a workout routine. Thanks to the reduced breaks, you can spend less time exercising, which is good news for anyone who is new to fitness or has to sneak a workout in between work and daily tasks.

There is also some evidence that HIIT routines recalibrate your body’s fuel-burning system to draw energy from fat cells rather than carbs. HIIT workout routines usually focus on cardio by including explosive plyometric exercises.

That’s not a requirement, but if you want to improve your athletic ability and burn tons of calories at the same time all while keeping your cardiovascular system in top shape, a fast-paced HIIT workout with plyo exercises is the best way to do it. 

Effects of Exercise Intensity on Abdominal Visceral Fat

Research involving 27 middle-aged obese participants found that high-intensity exercise reduced the total amount of abdominal fat over 16 weeks. Participants who didn’t exercise or performed low-intensity routines did not see any change in abdominal fat.

That certainly indicates that HIIT or at least high-intensity exercise is the best way to burn off belly fat. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to force yourself to go at full intensity all the time.

The important part of high-intensity exercise is continuing until your body is too exhausted to continue. You still shouldn’t go at a sprinting pace until you get there, although a faster pace will be more challenging. Whatever pace you set, make sure to stick with it.

When you first begin HIIT training, starting slow is important to learn the proper form for all the exercises. As you get better at them and learn their variations, you can pick up the pace. Even at a slightly brisk pace, you can still burn lots of calories at the gym with HIIT exercises.

Dieting to Lose Belly Fat

If you want to lose weight, a healthy diet is a requirement. But you don’t have to cut all contact with carbs or subsist on leafy greens and water. Tracking macronutrients is the best way to make sure your body is getting what it needs to build muscle and function properly while still monitoring caloric consumption.

The essential macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates, and fats are the main macronutrients, although some plans also include water and macrominerals such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, sulfur, chloride, and magnesium. Some diet plans go as far as to prioritize these macronutrients. IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) states that anything within your macronutrient needs is alright.

Many people prefer this approach to counting calories. However, if you’re trying to lose weight then you should probably take care to steer clear of a few things in your diet, even if those foods do fit within your macros

fast food, low carb diet, fattening and unhealthy eating concept

What to Avoid If You Want to Lose Belly Fat

Eating fewer calories is the key to fat loss. Dietitians and nutritionists have invented many different plans for people to reduce caloric consumption and lose weight fast. Virtually all of them advise participants to avoid the following things:

Processed Food

Some food that appears healthy is terrible for your body. Processed and manufactured food often has added sugar and sodium that make it tastier and give it a longer shelf life but may wreak havoc on your body. 

It’s not only canned or frozen food that fits this bill. Processed flour used in bread, pasta, and other carbohydrate-rich items give you all the calories of carbs but none of the nutritional advantages of whole grains.

Most of all, you want to stay away from fast food. Most restaurants cut costs with processed ingredients and increase the appeal of their meal options with extra sugar, salt, and fat that you might not suspect is there.

Large Portions

In the USA, food portions have been steadily increasing for decades. Go to most restaurants or compare a burger from the present day to one in the 1950s and the size difference is undeniable.

Just about anything can be bad for you if you eat in excess. Foods that might only be moderately bad for you can be a nightmare in large portions. Plus, your body starts to feel burdened and lethargic when you overeat, which will destroy your motivation to get the exercise that is so important for burning away belly fat.

Alcohol

Lots of people like to unwind with a glass of wine or a cold beer. It’s not that the alcohol itself makes you fat instantly, but rather that it brings down inhibitions and weakens self-control. When you’re inebriated you tend to gravitate toward salty or fried foods that can wreck a diet.

Cocktails can also be loaded with sugar that your body turns into body fat right away. There are some low-calorie alcoholic beverages, but if you find that they are causing you to snack or break your diet, it’s best to eliminate them altogether.

What Can I Eat?

Some foods are loaded with nutrients and healthy fats that will help you maintain a well-balanced diet. You can even use high-protein foods to feel full for longer and keep yourself from indulging in additional snacks. 

Complete proteins that have all the amino acids are great for building lean muscle and staying full. Fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, tofu, edamame, and tempeh are all examples of this. If you do eat meat to get your complete proteins in, make sure you aren’t consuming too much animal fat alongside it.

Lean protein is the key if you want to lose lower belly fat fast. Leafy greens are another great option. They are usually the most dreaded part of a diet, but they have tons of minerals and they can help add a new dimension of flavor to lean proteins and complex carbohydrates. 

Fibrous veggies like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage are incredibly filling. Beans and legumes are a fantastic plant-based source of protein that fills you up as well. Avocados, nuts, chia seeds, and apple cider vinegar have many benefits, although many people seem to leave them out of their diet plans.

Whole grains are most important. Your body converts carbs to glucose, or blood sugar, and uses them as an energy source, so you don’t want to consume too many carbs in your diet. The goal is to get the body to consume fat for energy, but you most likely won’t be able to cut out carbs altogether.

Opt for a low-carb diet with complex carbohydrate sources like peas, whole grains, and vegetables.

Stress and Weight Gain

Many people experience difficulty in their weight loss journey because they are under lots of stress. In some cases, the weight loss routine can be the source of this stress. When you’re stressed out, your body produces a hormone called cortisol.

It can cause weight gain, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, fatigue, a weakened immune system, or brain fog. If you want to burn fat, you have to block cortisol. Luckily, you can do so fairly easily with some simple lifestyle changes.

Get enough sleep, engage in regular physical activity without overtraining, set time aside to relax, and bring other people into your fitness journey. Even if you don’t work out together, set goals with people to create more accountability for everyone.

Changing your diet can help block the biological effects of cortisol. You should also have more energy to exercise, which will also bring cortisol levels down.

Best Exercises to Lose Belly Fat

We already know that HIIT routines are the most effective for shredding fat. But what are the best exercises to fill out the workout program? Try some of the following exercises to burn calories and drop belly fat fast

Young strong sweaty focused fit muscular man with big muscles holding heavy kettlebell for swing

Kettlebell Swing

The kettlebell swing is a simple exercise that builds strength in your entire posterior chain. As long as you have the kettlebell or some kind of weighted object handy, you can perform these swings just about anywhere whenever you have free time. 

Since it’s so simple and doesn’t require tons of weight, the kettlebell swing is ideal for filling gaps in a HIIT routine. All you need to do is get into a standing position with your feet in a wide stance.

Hold the kettlebell with both hands straight down in front of your groin. Move backward by bending your knees and hinging at the hips. Swing the kettlebell between your legs and then pivot upward with your glutes. Straighten your posture so that you can swing the kettlebell up to shoulder-height in front of you and repeat this motion for 10 - 15 reps.

Dumbbell Overhead Lunge

This exercise is great for toning your abdominal muscles and burning calories. Once the fat has melted away, you’ll be able to see chiseled abs if you do this kind of exercise often enough.

It’s just a combination of a traditional lunge with one arm holding a dumbbell over your head. You can combine resistance bands or use a kettlebell for this overhead lunge if you prefer.

Hold the dumbbell in one hand with your elbow bent so the weight is near your shoulder. Take a large step forward and bend both knees until they’re at right angles. Simultaneously lift the dumbbell as high as you can. Push back through your leading heel to get back into the starting position.

Make sure your front shin doesn’t go further than your toes. As you go back to the starting position, bring the dumbbell back to your shoulder. Repeat an equal number of times with each arm to give your body an even workout.

Burpees

Though bizarrely named, burpees are a great plyometric calorie-burner. It combines a push-up with a vertical jump and will improve your athletic ability in addition to melting belly fat.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend your knees so you can place both palms on the floor. Kick your feet out behind you to get into a push-up position. Do one push-up and then kick your feet up toward your chest to get back into a standing position.

Rather than simply standing up, explode into a vertical jump. Land softly on the ground and repeat the whole process. Burpees are a great way to get tons of muscles working and introduce some intense cardio to your workout routine without having to use the treadmill.

Mountain Climbers

Target your core and continue with the cardio action with this simple move. Mountain climbers are a great warm-up or cooldown move but they can also be used to fill intervals in your HIIT routine.

All you need to do is get down in a push-up position. Make sure your hands are directly beneath your shoulders and your wrists are stacked, meaning they are beneath your elbows and not extending forward.

Move your right knee up and bring it to your chest, then put it back and repeat the process with the left leg. Get through 15 - 20 raises on each leg to complete a set. You can get going pretty quickly with this exercise. It’s also ideal for reaching the final stage of fatigue at the end of the workout.

Young sweaty strong muscular fit man with big muscles doing ball throwing on the floor

Lateral Medicine Ball Slams

Traditional medicine ball slams are perfect for anyone who needs to let out a little bit of anger. Essentially, you’re just slamming the ball into the ground as hard as possible. The lateral variation gets more muscles involved and uniquely moves them to boost their metabolic effect.

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a medicine ball held on one side of your body near the hip. Twist your upper body to the right or left and raise the ball overhead with both hands.

Slam it down on the ground just beside your foot. If it bounces, catch it, but you can also hinge at the hips to pick it up. Make sure you throw it the same number of times on each side for an even workout.

Conclusion:

High-intensity exercise increases your metabolism and burns far more calories than strength training alone. Once you’ve built muscle mass and lost weight, your athletic ability will also improve. You’ll be able to run further, jump higher, and exert more force.

Use the exercises and the dieting tips in this guide to burn calories and take in the right nutrients for building muscle and losing fat. You’ll be glad you did once that lower belly fat has melted away.


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