How to lose belly fat. The one question I get 99% of the time, whenever I ask a client or friend about their health goals. So, today my dear reader, you and I are going to sit down and get this fat loss thing figured out 😉
As you know, your health is your responsibility. The way your body feels (illness, disease, obesity, lack of energy) sure has a huge impact on your mental well-being. By taking care of your body – regardless of your body shape, family health history or conditions you may have – you will be rewarded with vitality, health, and longevity (boring talk I know, but remains true)
I have been getting a lot of questions lately about how to lose belly fat, how to drop the weight and break free from the never ending cycle of being on and off diets, on and off gym classes, while the only thing that seems to stay consistent is the weight on the scale.
If you are ready, then I am ready. I will show you how to lose fat, no matter what body-fat percentage you are at right now and ultimately uncover your abs and train them the right way. You will have a solid plan for long term success and results. It won’t be a short journey (no shortcuts here), I can tell you. But I am sure that if you are willing to put in the effort, you will be rewarded. period.
Let’s get started
BODYWEIGHT vs BODYFAT
Now, for you to start this journey successfully, you will need to keep in mind that your main goal is to reduce body fat, not your overall body weight.
When you just focus on reducing your bodyweight, you will easily neglect things like: your overall health, strength, and muscle mass. You can literally lose just muscle and water (and keep all the fat) and you will see the number on the scale will go down. Obviously, you will end up with a “skinny fat” look and won’t feel too great either. The number on the scale does not reflect anything about you, or your health.
If you look at athletes, such as bodybuilders, they weigh a lot. Their body fat percentage is very low for you to see that great muscle definition. In fact, they are at their lowest when they are competing and they still weigh a lot. So to say that they are obese because they weigh a lot is absurd.
Now that we got that straightened up. I will get started with this guide. I will break it down for you intro categories, so that no matter which category you are at right now, it is easy for you to get started and move down to the next category.
HIGH BODY FAT PERCENTAGE [45% +]
If you have a higher than average fat percentage. Your next goal is to get to the next range. Do not focus on dropping hundreds of pounds. If you emphasize on the latter, you will get overwhelmed.
You should prioritize:
- Focusing all your efforts on nutrition (90%)
- Small changes to your eating and lifestyle habits
- Get yourself moving and introduce interval training
When you have a very high-fat percentage, your main focus is to bring awareness to the foods you consume everyday. What has led you to where you are (good or bad), are your daily eating habits.
Try to get a food journal and write down what you eat, and how much you are eating of it. Are you drinking a lot of soda or deep fried foods? How many days are you eating out on an average week? do you consume the typical office snacks like donuts, pizzas, and muffins?
Your food journal is your way of monitoring yourself. If you are completely lost to even recognize if those foods are not what you should be eating. I seriously encourage you to share your food journal with me by emailing me or just commenting below this post. I will be happy to help you in any way.
However, it can be super easy to want to do it all at this stage. Focusing on monitoring and not trying to change it all.
TIP: Start small with breakfast and decide to make a conscious effort to make a healthy breakfast everyday:
- Eggs fried in coconut oil and whole grain toast with coffee/tea
- A delicious strawberry and banana smoothie with protein powder
- A protein pancake made with almond or coconut flour instead of white flour and stevia instead of sugar
- Greek yogurt and an apple sliced with almond butter dip
- Oatmeal with cinnamon and apple slices and mixed nuts
These are just few examples to help you out! You can write down these 5 breakfasts and rotate between them throughout the week.
Next, you can start drinking more water. So make sure you always have a water bottle available to you anywhere you go.
The step after that would be to take your lunch to work twice a day. Again plan couple healthy recipes and rotate between them.
Nothing too crazy but you get the idea; small incremental changes. You master one, then move to the next.
I have to emphasize this again: If you start this process trying to do everything, you will end up doing nothing. People fail because of that overwhelming thought of having to change their life upside down to lose weight. the result? nothing changes.
So your main goal here is to reduce overwhelm and start with small steps, until they become a habit (as brushing your teeth) and move on to the next step. I assure you that few weeks in, you will feel like a total different person.
If you have been sedentary for years, then it is time for you to engage in daily activities like walking for 30 minutes to the grocery store. If you join a gym or have some space where you can workout at home, start with that.
Introduce yourself to interval training; whatever it is the activity you do, follow this technique: increase the intensity for 30-50 seconds, and decrease your intensity for 10-20 seconds. If you are walking then just walk fast during the first interval and then walk slow during the next. It is important to do this process because interval training is one of the best ways to burn fat fast.
If you like to use cardio machines at the gym, you want to use the interval example likewise.
Weighted strength training should be used with caution. When you are overweight and haven’t been working out in years, your body tends to get weaker. You are also putting a lot of pressure on the joints, and for this reason, I would only do very basic bodyweight exercises (that should challenge you enough at this point) that include full body movements instead of isolation work (forget about crunches for now)
The thing is, you have work to do to uncover layers of fat to actually see any muscle definition. I would never advise any person in this category to do crunches and isolation exercises because they are not likely to see any results, which may only overwhelm them even more.
MEDIUM BODY FAT PERCENTAGE [ 40% – 30%]
When you start losing fat (through nutrition and smart training), and you reach this range (first, let me give you a virtual high five) your priorities are going to slightly shift..in a good way 🙂
At this point, your nutrition is still the most important part to focus on. You already have made a few changes, you feel confident you can get results, and you are ready to go to the next step.
Meal planning is something to introduce yourself to and work on at this point. If you have been taking your meals twice a week to work, now you want to be planning more meals, and try to cook at home more often. Check out this meal planning guide here for more information on how to do that.
Supplementation can be introduced at this point. Since you probably will be working out more often it would be beneficial to supplement with a protein powder, minerals and things that will support your recovery process. Although this is not necessary, it is up to you and how your body feels.
Interval workouts will always be part of your routine. If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to strength training basics – you want to be doing a lot of core work here. You don’t want to rush into heavy lifting as there is a risk to injure yourself if you are not ready for demanding exercises if you haven’t mastered the basics first. Although you can experiment with light weights and just get yourself used to them.
Your abs and overall muscle definition can still be hard to see, but that’s totally okay. You still need to be focused on the following
- Core strength
- Full body, compound movements
- High intensity interval training
- Low impact activities (walks, cycling, yoga, etc.)
Following this plan, will get you down to the next category.
- RELATED: How to start lifting – for beginners
LOW BODY FAT PERCENTAGE [25%-20%]
This is a typical range of a fit body. Getting here is a great accomplishment, especially if you have started from the top. you are now a master of your nutrition and training. It takes a lot of dedication, consistency, and determination to take your body from a very high body fat to this range.
For individuals who are natural ectomorphs (thin), and looking to add lean muscle. You will still want to follow the next steps.
Nutrition is still key at this stage. If you started with a very high body fat percentage, then you have the advantage of easily integrating healthy foods into your lifestyle – as you developed the habit to do that throughout this process.
The drawback? it can be quite easy to give up on eating healthy because you think that you “arrived”.
If you are a naturally thin percent. Your main obstacle here is to actually change your eating habits (90% nutrition – going back to the top). A lot of thin people get away with eating unhealthy, so we think that by just eating that way and training, that’s enough. Sorry bud, but it doesn’t work that way.
Supplementation can be beneficial at this stage as well. If you are engaging in intense workouts, than it would be good to supplement to boost recovery.
I personally take this Collagen protein in the morning and some minerals and Vitamin C. I am not too crazy about supplementation.
There is a frustrating aspect about being in this body fat percentage range. You are likely to face plateaus. Your body has gotten used to all the exercises and training methods you put it through and constantly needs variety. You want to be changing your routine quite often. You don’t have to follow different programs all the time, but you do need to keep your body guessing either through changing up:
- The intensity
- The load
- The time under tension
- Workout routines
If you followed the guide, you probably developed a decent core strength and you want to start lifting more challenging weights which will help you easily lose belly fat and also add definition to your midsection.
Keep in mind that it is important to train your abs the way they like to move. So instead of always doing plank exercises, you can start doing standing ab exercises, rotation, extension and flexion.
How to lose belly fat? now my friend, you know what steps to take 🙂
Women should maintain a minimum essential body fat percentage (at least 15%) or we could face some health related effect (not so great). It is hard for a typical healthy woman to get in that range -below 15%- unless they are putting themselves in a very restricted diet and exercise routine to prepare for a competition – it shouldn’t happen if your nutrition and training routine are balanced. So keep that in mind 🙂
I hope you now have a way to get started on your fat loss journey, or on your tone-up journey 🙂 this is based on my own experience and also working with people who have started from the top. All the people I know, who are committed, have patience, dedication, and faith in themselves, have achieved their end goal and feel amazing.
Please leave me a comment below if this was helpful.