Strength training to lose belly fat: does it work?

Is that even possible? Our expert will give you the low down.

strength training lose belly fat

No matter how sedentary or active they are, people are always looking for ways to lose weight. There's a lot of inaccurate - and even straight up wrong - information out there about how to shed extra pounds. For example, some would have you think you can spot reduce at your mid-section. But is that even possible?

Can you just lose belly fat?

If you're trying to lose weight, it means you're already carrying around a few extra pounds. As the years go by, our bodies tend to stock rather than free up calories. You generally start to feel this around age 40, especially if you're more sedentary than highly active. We tend to store fat in certain areas of the body more than in others. It all depends on how our body fat is distributed. Women store more fat in the lower body, while in men it accumulates in the stomach area. So is it possible to lose just belly fat? In other words, is spot reduction possible?

Put simply, no, it's not. Although fat does accumulate in some areas more than in others, the body will store fat anywhere it can. This is clear in cases of severe obesity. However, by dropping extra pounds, you'll lose weight from your stomach area and everywhere else.  

strength training lose belly fat
abs spot reduction

Can doing ab exercises reduce belly fat?

Losing weight - including from the belly - depends on the type of exercise you do. Those who are sedentary will have a harder time losing belly fat since they aren't expending much energy. However, there's a strange belief out there that says you can lose the belly weight by doing ab exercises. It sounds great, but this is completely unfounded.

You cannot spot reduce fat by working a particular muscle group because fat has one job: to store energy. It has no direct relationship with your muscles. "Working your abs" means you're working your abdominal muscles. The calories you burn correspond to the muscle effort you've expended - and that's it.

What exercises can you do to lose belly fat?

While you won't always lose just belly fat, strength training exercises will contribute to overall weight loss. The muscle you build through strength training exercises will help you lose weight. However, many people still believe that you can only lose weight by doing endurance exercises.

You can strike a balance by giving your muscles a complete workout, such as by swimming, which works nearly all of your muscles, or by doing a variety of cardio training exercises at the gym. For example, you could do 15 to 20 minutes on the rower to work your upper body, followed by 20 minutes of cycling on an exercise bike or outdoors to work your thighs, calves and other lower body muscles. Doing an endurance sport will shift the focus to cardio. Endurance exercises will draw from your body's carbohydrate stores and later your fat stores, which eventually leads to weight loss. Of course, if you're trying to whittle away your belly, you're likely not in elite physical condition. You should start by talking to a trainer to set up an exercise plan that is tailored to your fitness level and weight loss goals, or try out one of our ab workout programmes on the DECATHLON COACH app.

free belly fat exercises
belly fat exercises

What should you eat to lose belly fat?

Tweaking your diet to lose belly fat starts with knowing how to eat for overall weight loss.

If you're beginning to have a bit of a muffin top, it means you've been eating poorly for a while. Large meals that are high in fat and carbs and low in protein are the most likely culprit behind those accumulating pounds. But all's not lost - Au contraire!

By reducing your calorie intake and eating a more balanced diet that includes complex carbs, proteins and essential fats, you can start on the path to weight loss and trim that belly fat. If you're unsure about how to go about counting calories or choosing nutritious foods, schedule an appointment with a professional dietician who can help you set up a diet plan.  

Should you eat certain foods to lose belly fat?

You may not realise, but there are a lot of different foods that can help you trim that belly fat. For example, foods that are high in protein and low in fat, such as fish or white meat, are healthy options. Some fatty fish like salmon are also good choices. Choose high-fibre vegetables that are full of vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates.

Mixed salads that are full of fresh veggies like tomatoes, carrots and spinach, plus some protein like tuna, should be a daily staple. There's no real secret here - to lose belly fat, you need to eat a healthy, nutritious, balanced diet and keep your calorie intake under control.    

belly fat exercises
supplements to lose belly fat

Which supplements can help you lose belly fat?

Several food supplements can be useful in helping you lose belly fat. The first is directly related to your weight loss diet. Protein powder can help you lose belly fat by increasing your daily protein intake. Protein is also more filling and can help you feel satisfied faster. A fat burner product can also help you lose belly fat thanks to the caffeine it contains, especially if you also exercise to lose weight.

Losing belly fat depends on the right diet, exercise and supplements. If you eat a balanced diet and live a healthy life, losing weight and getting rid of the pudge should happen naturally... 

belly fat exercises

eric mallet

"I've been a passionate bodybuilder for almost 28 years and have always been interested in sports nutrition. As a food supplement consultant, I help companies develop their SEO and sports nutrition communication strategies. I'm also involved in writing several books on bodybuilding, nutrition and weight training for mental health."

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