We’ve all been there. You get out of the shower in the morning, and before putting a shirt on you casually reach down and pinch the squishy part of your body just to the side of your belly button – your belly fat.
You’re not quite sure how it got there, or when it became so noticeable. But it’s making your pants tight and uncomfortable, so it’s time for it to go.
So how do you get rid of belly fat? And does strength training burn belly fat?
That’s exactly what we’ll answer for you in today’s article:
- How Do You Lose Belly Fat?
- Does Strength Training Burn Belly Fat?
- Best Workouts To Lose Belly Fat
- Ready To Lose Your Belly Fat For Good? Here’s What To Do Next…
This is a problem we solve for our members every day inside our 1-1 online Transformation Coaching Experience.
I recently recorded a 30 minute “behind the scenes” workshop laying out the exact “BIG ROCKS” you should focus on for long-term, sustainable weight loss. This is based on over 14 years of experience, helping more than 1247 people around the world lose over 10,684 lbs.
And today you can watch it for free here:
How Do You Lose Belly Fat?
Very simply, you lose belly fat the same way you lose body fat everywhere else – controlling energy balance. Also known as creating a calorie deficit.
Energy balance is made up of 2 areas:
- Energy Consumption (or “calories in”)
- Energy Expenditure (or “calories out”)
When energy consumption is LESS THAN energy expenditure, we lose weight.
Energy Consumption < Energy Expenditure = Weight Loss
And when energy consumption is GREATER THAN energy expenditure, we gain weight.
Energy Consumption > Energy Expenditure = Weight Gain
Energy consumption is the food we eat. When we eat food, we’re giving our body energy in the form of calories. This is also known as “calories in”.
Energy expenditure (“calories out”) is made up of 4 main components:
- Basal metabolic rate
- N.E.A.T. (non-exercise activity thermogenesis)
- Thermic Effect Of Food
So if we want to lose belly fat, we need to either increase our energy expenditure (by burning more calories), or we need to decrease our energy consumption (by eating less calories from food), or a combination of both.
In calorie terms, we need to burn more calories than we eat.
Unfortunately we can’t specifically target the fat around our belly. But if we’re consistently using more energy than we’re consuming through food, that belly fat will eventually disappear.
It just takes a while sometimes. And probably more consistent focus than you think. This is why one of our mottos at BluePhoenix Fitness is “patience and consistency.”
The good news is that we have a few levers we can pull to help this process. And while nutrition is definitely the most important one, strength training is the second.
Does Strength Training Burn Belly Fat?
In our article Hierarchy Of Effective Fat Loss Workouts you learned that not all exercise is created equal when it comes to fat loss.
Now don’t get me wrong, all exercise is great! And it’s important to find a way to exercise that you actually enjoy; or can learn to enjoy.
However, when it comes to long-term, sustainable fat loss some forms of exercise are just more effective than others. Strength training is one of those forms of exercise, and is where your focus should be.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note one more time that the absolute most important factor for losing belly fat (and fat loss in general) is nutrition. If you don’t clean up your diet, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. It will be incredibly difficult for any amount of exercise to get rid of those inches around your waist.
If you need some help with that be sure to check out all of the nutrition articles at BluePhoenixFitness.com, or better yet get help from one of our BPX Super Coaches.
Lift Weights To Lose Belly Fat
If you’re serious about tightening up that waistline, then proper strength training needs to be the foundation of your exercise plan.
As we discussed in our Simple Guide To Strength Training For Beginners, strength training to build muscle and get stronger helps you lose belly fat (and lose weight in general) in a few ways:
- Increases your energy expenditure during exercise 1
- Increases your energy expenditure after exercise through Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (E.P.O.C.)2
- Builds muscle which increases your basal metabolic rate3
- Leads to increased N.E.A.T. when compared to no exercise4
- Helps improve blood sugar control & insulin sensitivity5
How To Lose Belly Fat With F.I.R.E. Workouts, Metabolic Training, & H.I.I.T. Workouts
Coming in at number 2 on our list of best workouts to lose belly fat are F.I.R.E. Workouts.
F.I.R.E. Workouts are the highly effective BPX-version of high-intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) or metabolic training.
Think of F.I.R.E. Workouts as strength-based, interval cardio. We’re going to use resistance training exercises to build and maintain muscle.
But we’ll structure your workout in an interval format so that we’re using our anaerobic energy system.
This format pushes the intensity by raising your heart rate during “work” intervals, then resting long enough to let your heart rate come back down during “rest” intervals. Then we repeat that process over and over again throughout your workout.
Research has shown that anaerobic exercise like F.I.R.E. Workouts can lead to better subcutaneous and abdominal fat loss in less workout time when compared to traditional aerobic exercise (i.e. cardio).6
For example, your F.I.R.E. Workout might look like this:
Complete 2-4 rounds of the following F.I.R.E. Circuit, resting 2 minutes between rounds.
1a. Bodyweight Squats x 10 reps
1b. Push-Ups x 8 reps
1c. Hip Bridge x 15 reps
1d. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row x 12 reps
1e. Reverse Lunge x 10 reps
Alternatively you could also use F.I.R.E. Finishers at the end of your foundational strength workouts.
For example, you could finish your strength workout by doing 6 rounds of rowing intervals, alternating between 30 seconds of “work” and 30 seconds of “rest”.
To make it easy we’ve put together 21 of our best bodyweight F.I.R.E. Workouts in this fat-burning workout guide – click here to download it, 100% free.
Cardio & Fat Loss
Coming in at number 3 on our list of best workouts to lose belly fat is aerobic cardio.
Unfortunately, when most people want to lose weight their first reaction is to “do more cardio”. This is one reason why so many people struggle to keep the weight off after they lose it.
Now when I say “cardio”, I’m talking about any form of exercise where you’re maintaining an elevated heart rate for longer than 3-5 minutes.
Think of the obvious forms of aerobic cardio like:
- Going for a run
- 20 minutes on the elliptical or bike
- Cycling for an hour
- Stairclimber for 30 minutes
But this also applies to forms of exercise you might not consider “cardio”, like:
- Most group fitness classes at your gym
- A lot of bootcamp-style workouts
- Peloton workouts
- Apple Fitness+, BeachBody, Les Mills
These are different from our F.I.R.E. Workouts and other forms of interval training mentioned above.
Use F.I.R.E. Workouts For Better Fat Loss
With our F.I.R.E. Workouts and other forms of properly designed interval training workouts we’re primarily using our anaerobic energy system.
We do this by spiking your heart rate with exercise but then giving you enough rest time so that your heart rate comes back down. Then we spike it again with exercise, repeating that process throughout the workout.
However with the workouts listed here, you’re spiking your heart rate but never letting it come back down. This means you’ve likely shifted into your aerobic energy system.
All of these forms of exercise are great, and can absolutely have a place in your overall training plan. It’s just important to understand what’s most effective for your specific goals – in this case, losing belly fat – so that you can put your time and focus in the right area.
If you want to go deeper into the differences between our aerobic and anaerobic energy systems, check out our article “Cardio For Fat Loss”.
Walking To Lose Weight
I’ve put walking at the bottom of the list, but honestly this is where most people should probably start.
Walking is very easy to start doing more of, and incredibly safe for most people. It’s the simplest way to start to increase your overall activity level, which in turn increases your energy expenditure.
You don’t need any specific training or workouts. Just go for a walk. Start slowly, and gradually increase your time or distance as you feel comfortable.
Walking also has the benefit of being great for recovery from your strength workouts. And walking is also the only form of exercise that actually decreases cortisol, the “stress hormone”.7
This is why, along with strength training, walking is a foundational element in all of our training programs at BluePhoenix Fitness.
Ready To Lose Belly Fat For Good? Here’s Your Next Steps…
You’ve gotten a lot of great workout strategies here that you can use to start losing belly fat today.
But like I mentioned earlier, fat loss workouts are only a small part of the weight loss equation.
If you want to lose belly fat for good, then you should check out this video I made for you on “The BIG ROCKS of Sustainable Weight Loss”.
It’s only 30 minutes, and it’s 100% free to watch.
During this workshop you’ll get the exact strategies I used to help 1247 successful people lose over 10,684 lbs (including one woman who lost 183 lbs in 16 months!)