Workouts to Lose Belly Fat

Expert tips on how to reduce belly fat. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t involve shakes, teas, or crunches.
Published June 20, 2022

If you are searching the internet on how to lose belly fat, you’re bound to come upon quick fixes, usually in the form of products that claim to target belly fat and blast it away. The truth is, you can’t spot target fat loss, unfortunately, the body just doesn’t work like that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t lose belly fat – it just means you have to take a more holistic approach.

Why You Can’t Spot Target Belly Fat Loss

“It’s a well-known myth that it’s impossible to spot-target fat loss from the body. Fat deposits are mostly based on genetics, which includes where you put on the most fat, and where you lose it from first” NASM-certified trainer and contributor for Lift Vault Matt Scarfo explains.

There is a common misconception that if you build muscle in a certain area, the increased calorie burn will pull energy from that location. While wishful thinking may be one reason the myth persists, the other is could be confirmation bias.

“When you work your core, you’ll likely see some improved definition in your abdomen due to improved posture and the appearance of tightening from improved muscle tone (which relates to muscle activation). Those two impacts can make it seem like you’re losing fat from your belly,” says Howard.

What you can focus on is burning fat in general, which will include belly fat. Sustained cardio workouts, such as swimming and rowing, in specific heart rate zones, can do the trick. For more tips and four exercises to burn fat check out our latest read on fat loss exercises.

Building a strong core will also help with overall fat loss, and a number of other things, including strength, posture, and balance.

4 Moves to Build a Strong Core

Certified yoga and Pilates instructor Ivory Howard, who has more than 16 years of experience in the field, recommends these four simple exercises to target fat burn and tone the core.

1. Hundred

“To warm up your body, lie on your back with your legs in tabletop position, maintaining a 90-degree angle at the hip and knee. Lift your head and shoulders, reaching your arms towards your feet. Pump your arms above the abdominal wall. Inhale for five counts and exhale for five counts. Repeat for nine more cycles until you have reached 10 inhales and 10 exhales. For a challenge, extend your legs out to a 45-degree angle.”

2. Roll-up

“From the Hundred, lie on your back with your legs on the mat and toes pointed towards the ceiling. Float your arms above your head. As you inhale, peel your head, shoulders and upper body off the mat bone by bone. Exhale over your body. Inhale and exhale roll down with control to the starting position. Complete 5-7 repetitions. Remember to use full inhalations and exhalations as you move through this pose.”

3. Lower lift

“Keep your head up and place your hands at the base of your neck. Extend both legs up to the ceiling. Slowly lower legs to a 45-degree angle. Then, return legs to a 90-degree angle. Aim for 5-7 repetitions.”

4. Boat pose

“To begin Boat pose, balance on your bottom, lift your legs and float your arms up. Hold for five breaths. For a challenge, float your arms above your head as you inhale. Exhale and tap your legs. Inhale and lift your arms back to the starting position. Repeat eight times.”

To help create a strong core, Scarfo likes to avoid crunches and focus on exercises that target the entire trunk. His favourite exercises are:

Bird dogs

  • Pain, poor posture, or balance issues? This one exercise can help improve five super common health complaints.

Planks and side planks

Mountain climbers

  • Check out this article all about body weight exercises, including mountain climbers.

“The best way to lose belly fat is to slowly and healthily lose body fat through dieting and exercise,” says Scarfo.

Howard adds, “Remember that body and size and fitness are not the same thing. Benefits of exercise can be reaped at any size. Prioritize health over weight.”

Scarfo adds that stress management and good sleep also play a role in the amount of belly fat a person has.

“An increase in cortisol, the stress hormone, often causes increased belly fat. Reducing stress in your regular life and getting enough sleep can also help minimize the appearance of belly fat, as well as helping you have enough energy to get through challenging workouts.”

Related reading: Stress, sleep, and belly fat

And, he notes, sometimes you may actually just be bloated and mistaking it for belly fat.

“Make sure to drink enough water every day to prevent water retention so you can always have an accurate sense of your body composition,” Scarfo says.

The WW program can help you integrate more regular movement into your routine with its science-backed behaviour change approach that arms you with tools and actionable techniques to change your habits and behaviours. The WW program fits into your life and is adaptable to your lifestyle. When a program is easy to follow, you’re more likely to stick with it, which translates directly into being more likely to achieve your goals.

Learn more about the WW approach to food, weight loss, and wellness here.