Ok, hands up if you’ve got a problem area on your body that you want to fix? You just want to know how to lose belly fat? Fend off flabby arms? See a toned butt? Flaunt some lean legs? We bet you also want the quickest, easiest way for spot fat reduction? … Don’t we all!
Today we want to bring you some truth and reality around the big fat lies that media junkies feed you about the secret of ‘how to lose belly fat instantly’ or ‘get lean legs with this one easy exercise’. So read on for the truth around this often asked question.
Can you choose where you lose?
The simple answer is NO! We know that this is not the answer you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth. It is not possible to target and burn fat from one specific area of your body (spot reduction). Even though your body tends to deposit fat in certain areas, burning it off doesn’t work the same way. The human body is only capable of losing fat from the entire body as a whole. When you do a set of crunches, the fat cells above your abs don’t automatically give up their fat. Instead, your body notices that you’re in need of energy and mobilizes it where necessary (it isn’t picky where it takes stored fat from).
Now, what you can do is resistance and weight exercises that build up a muscle group in one specific area. So, when you do lower your overall body fat, the underlying muscle that you’ve developed will be seen, giving you that toned appearance. But you cannot choose where you lose body fat. And if anyone says differently, then they are trying to fool you, because the body doesn’t work that way!
The good news though is there are so many other choices you have control over that will determine how effective your body fat loss will be in achieving the toned body (or parts of your body) that you desire.
The best way to lose belly fat is total body fat loss
Instead of you thinking ‘how to lose belly fat?’, you need to think ‘how do I go about total body fat loss?’ The best way to do this is to lose fat overall and build muscle at the same time (and this doesn’t mean body-building style muscle, just enough to give you the fat-burning benefits and the toned look). To lose fat, the first step is to take a critical look at your diet.
Washboard abs are made in the kitchen. Up to 80% of your fat loss will come from nutritional changes that take into consideration consuming less calories than you burn, so you end up in calorie deficit. Calorie deficit means your body needs to draw energy from within itself as the calories from the food you have eaten have already been burned. Ideally, it would automatically take it from your problem area fat stores and you’d never have to ask, ‘how to lose belly fat?’ again, but that’s not how it works! So, before you get out there and hit the pavement with cardio workouts to burn calories, take a critical look at your diet as that is where the biggest results will come from.
Why you need to do weights and resistance exercises if you want to lose body fat
Essentially, that leaves at least 20% of your fat loss efforts up to exercise. So, how do you maximize the benefits of exercise to achieve that toned look, without worrying purely about how to lose belly fat? It comes down to two things: Cardio plus weights/ resistance training. By now you know that your cardio efforts burn calories, but let us explain again why you need to do weights and resistance exercises if you want to lose belly fat.
There is a difference between losing weight and losing fat. You want to lose body fat first and foremost. Sometimes your body takes energy from the most readily available source and this could also be your muscle mass. If you lose weight because you lose muscle you have not improved your body composition and in fact, you are setting yourself up for long-term failure. You weigh less, but you’ve lost muscle not fat, which is the equivalent of being “skinny fat”, as we refer to it.
The benefits of gaining muscle to lose body fat
Simply, muscles burn more calories than fat. If you have less muscle then you’re automatically burning less calories and your metabolism is going to slow. This makes it easier to put on more body fat, undermining your efforts to improve your health and weight. Therefore, it is imperative to include strength training into any fat loss mission. (Please understand us here – doing weights and resistance exercises DOES NOT mean you become big and bulky. This depends on lots of factors including your sex and your testosterone levels; how heavy the weights are; the number of reps you are doing; the overall training program; diet and nutrition; your personal physiology).
We are talking about maintaining and building lean muscle so you become more efficient at fat burning.
Know and understand your body
Knowing and understanding your body allows you to set realistic, achievable goals and utilise exercise to best accentuate your figure. Your genetics determine your body shape, however, where you deposit excess fat (from overeating) will be determined by your sex, age, hormones and unique physiological make-up. You can take this into consideration when choosing the type of strength workout you do.
If you are still asking ‘how to lose belly fat?’ remember, as we said above, while you can’t spot reduce fat, you can most definitely strengthen and tone specific areas of your body, that will then be further enhanced when you have reduced your overall body fat. For example, if you have ‘skinny little chicken legs’ you may want to focus on resistance training that strengthens your thigh and glute (butt) muscles. Or, strengthening your upper body and arms can give you the appearance of a more curvaceous figure if you’re normally a ‘straight up and down’ type. Try this quick and easy chair workout. It will help burn overall body fat and tone a variety of areas using your own body weight as resistance. All you need is a chair or bench!
The honest answer to ‘how to lose belly fat?’
We hope that by now you know that asking the question of ‘how to lose belly fat’ will never give you the quick fix answer that you want – no matter what you want to hear and no matter what some marketing or media effort says. Here are your three, important take-aways:
1.Don’t be fooled by an overly simple, quick fix solution to lose belly fat. The truthful answer is that you can only lose body fat across your whole body (and there is no set pattern to where you gain it or lose it).
2. You can most definitely sculpt your body to look the way you want through strength and toning exercises. But, keep in mind that you are an individual and your genetics, sex and unique qualities play a role in this.
3. 80% of your body fat loss results will come from your nutrition. Focus on this. For the other 20% make sure you include weights and resistance exercises in your program.
All this is great to know, but if you’re still unsure of where and how to start getting the results you want or even achieving a complete body transformation, then download the Active8me app for a FREE 21-Day Trial. It is like having a personal trainer, dietician and life coach in your pocket. We’re here to help you with a convenient solution put together by incredible experts. Your success is our success. Whether that means becoming leaner, more toned, fitter, healthier, feeling more confident… or now really knowing how to lose belly fat!