Most of us want to lose belly fat or love handles - understanding how the body loses fat can make it a lot easier to tackle a fat loss program that actually works.
Hundreds or even thousands of situps and crunches are not going to help you get a flat, toned stomach unless your body fat is already relatively low. You can't spot reduce fat from one specific trouble zone, you have to lose it allover.
To reduce overall body fat, you need a combination of cardio, total body strength training, and a clean diet (lots of fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains & healthy fats). You don't need specialty shakes, powders, pills, etc, just hard work and the discipline to eat healthily.
In general, an effective belly fat loss workout program might look something like this - you can also check out our 4 Week FBabs Program for Abs, Obliques & Lower Back, which does all the planning for you:
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) 2-3 x per week (no more than 4 times a week, as the body needs to heal from this kind of intense training)
- Lower intensity, steady state cardio on remaining days of the week, aside from 1-2 rest days
- Strength training for the upper and lower body 2x a week each, or 2-3 total body strength sessions
In this video we also tackle the truth about six pack abs, a concept that we think has gotten pretty distorted as of late. There's a trending mindset that unless you've got a super low body fat percentage and/or a six pack, you're not fit. A concept that you shouldn't have an inch to pinch, anywhere. In reality, some body fat - and yes even belly fat - is normal and healthy.
A six pack takes a very low body fat percentage - for many people, a low enough percentage that the body would be put under unnecessary stress and strain. For some people this comes very easily and even naturally, and there's nothing wrong with that. There is something less than ideal, however, with looking at the photoshopped images on the covers of magazines and deciding that your one goal in life is attaining this hard to attain appearance that really is not even associated with a healthy or strong body.
Many of the people you see in those photo shoots haven't had a bite of real, healthy food in weeks or months, and couldn't run a half mile or lift a 10 lb weight to save themselves. Some people even go through (potentially harmful) dehydration routines in order to look leaner before a shoot or competition. Realizing that a lot of the physiques that are pushed as the epitome of "fitness" are incredibly difficult to attain - and unhealthy to maintain - can help you keep your focus on goals that are smarter & healthier.
What it comes down to is that you should strive to be fit and healthy in order to look and feel your best, but not necessarily set your sights on a goal that is purely aesthetics based. It's not about what you look like, it's about what your body can do.