Hands down, the most searched item on any fitness website is “how to get rid of belly fat” or any iteration of that phrase you can conjur up. So apparently, you aren’t the only one with this concern. Unfortunately, most of the quick-fix answers given to this problem are, at best, less than straight-forward and, at worst, all-out lies. With titles like: “4 Moves to Rid of Belly Fat in 4 Days” or “Shrink Your Muffin Top By Sunday,” it’s no wonder people remain frustrated and waistlines continue to expand. So if it’s a quick fix you were hoping for, you can stop reading now. If it’s real, long-lasting change you want, then read on for our 28-Day Belly Fat Blast Challenge!
First, let’s get one thing straight: there are no quick fixes to get rid of belly fat.
It’s frustrating. You think you have so many healthy habits, and yet it won’t go away.
It’s unattractive. The fun summer outfits on magazine models and store mannequins don’t look nearly as cute when there’s a real, human body involved with a waistline bigger than 22 inches. And a bikini? Forget about it!
It’s surprising. Somewhere, somehow, seemingly out of nowhere, your former waistline disappeared and turned into this strange new shape that looks more like a car tire than an hourglass.
It’s sneaky. Perhaps the extra fat that used to sit in your butt and thighs where it belongs has now moved right to your belly and you don’t ever remember it happening.
It’s unhealthy. Perhaps the most important thing to know about the fat around your middle is that it is the most dangerous fat to have.
Male and female alike, the fat around the middle – or the “apple shape” – indicates a deeper layer of fat. This visceral fat not only weighs you down on the outside, but it surrounds your internal organs putting you at risk for much bigger problems than a larger pant size. According to the Mayo Clinic, belly fat increases your risk of:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Colorectal cancer
- Sleep apnea
In addition to that, Robert Eckel M.D., President of the American Heart Association, adds two more to that list:
- High blood pressure
So belly fat is no laughing matter. Still, fitting into a smaller size and feeling better about the way you look continues to be a driving force for change. The “why” you want to change is less important than the “how.” So how do you get rid of belly fat? Like any other healthy goal, you will need to focus on the basics in a consistent way. This includes strengthening muscle, getting your cardio exercise to burn extra fat and, of course, healthy eating!
In order to burn more fat, you have to have more muscle. It’s just science, my friends. A stronger body is a leaner body, whether it’s arms, shoulders, or abs. The Harvard School of Public Health states that, “Engaging in resistance training [strength training] or, ideally, combining it with aerobic exercise could help older adults lessen abdominal fat while increasing or preserving muscle mass.”
Ab exercises alone will not change your belly. That kind of spot reducing is a myth. In order to help eliminate the layer of fat that is covering your beautiful six-pack, you will need to get your cardio fix in at least 3-4 days a week.
That’s correct. A good clean diet full of lean protein, complex carbohydrates (especially fruits and veggies), and healthy fat in balance is key! Skip the sugar. Nix the trans fat. Get rid of the white breads and pastas. Eat smaller portions of the right things and half your battle is won.
All things considered, the trifecta listed above is your main ticket! A publication by Harvard Medical School states: “For now, experts stress that lifestyle, especially exercise, is the very best way to fight visceral fat.” All-over strength training matters, and yes, abdominal exercises are important too. Strengthening your core and building the muscle in your belly remains an important piece of the belly fat puzzle.
To get this party started, we’ve set up a FREE 28-Day Crunchless Ab Challenge for you to tackle. Why crunchless you ask? It’s not that we’re hating on crunches entirely, but there are more effective exercises to do, and we want to get you out of the rut of thinking that crunches are the only way to a toned belly. Just follow the chart below and by the end of 28 days, you will be well on your way to a tighter mid-section and a healthier you. Please remember as we stated above, we are not trying to fool you into believing that it’s as easy as these few moves. You need to do cardio and strength consistently, and you need to eat clean, hence the reference to trifecta. So, we’ve included an extra workout on the chart. Try to complete at least 30 minutes of cardio and/or strength at least four days a week in addition to these core exercises and remember to drink water and eat clean! We love HIIT workouts because they combine cardio and strength into the same sweat session.
Here are five ab exercises you’ll be doing for our Challenge. Click to get the description and pictures!
*Alternate means right side then left and the count on the chart is for the total number of reps.