This article was contributed by guest trainer Mike Chang who specializes in helping men lose belly fat and get defined abs. To learn more from Mike, watch his free video at sixpackshortcuts.com
One of the most common questions that I get from my clients is “how can I lose my belly fat?” Most of us these days have a few extra pounds around our waist that we’d love to lose. But if you’re trying to lose your belly fat using ineffective methods — like many people are — losing your belly fat can seem extremely difficult and frustrating.
But don’t lose hope! If you avoid the most common mistakes that people make when losing your belly fat, you’ll be able to get that flat stomach you want much easier.
Here are the three most common mistakes I see people making when trying to lose their belly fat:
Mistake #1: Trying To Lose ONLY Your Belly Fat (spot reduction)
The most important thing that you must know about fat loss is that you CANNOT “target” your fat loss to one part of your body. In other words, you will not lose lots of stomach fat just by doing crunches or other exercises that use your ab muscles.
The only way to lose fat is to burn more calories than you consume, which will cause you to lose fat over your entire body. There is no way to control or “target” the fat loss to any one specific spot.
For advanced exercisers this is probably common sense…but there are many, many beginners who still believe in the myth of “spot reduction.”
For example, you’ve probably seen many people with 20-30 lbs. of belly fat doing tons of crunches and ab exercises in the gym. They think it’s “targeting” their belly fat, but actually it’s doing nothing of the kind. The ab exercises they are doing burn very few calories, and cause minimal fat loss. The only thing they are doing is building up their abdominal muscle.
Ironically this can actually make your belly appear BIGGER if you have lots of belly fat, because your abdominal muscle will not be visible — it’ll just make your fat bulge out more.
So if you want to lose your belly fat, realize the only way to do it is by burning more calories than you consume. Rather than focusing on bogus ways to “target” your belly fat, start figuring out how you can consume fewer calories and burn more.
Mistake #2: Severe calorie restriction is not sustainable
Once people realize they must burn more calories than they consume to lose fat, their first instinct is to dramatically cut down the calories that they are consuming. This seems like a good idea…but it actually tremendously reduces your chances of successfully getting a flat stomach.
Why is this? The truth is, changing your diet habits is much more difficult than most of us think that it’s going to be when starting. You can follow an extreme “crash diet” for a few months…but you won’t be able to sustain it beyond that. And once you go off your diet, you’ll probably gain back all the weight you lost and more.
In addition to this, if you drastically reduce the amount of calories you are consuming far below your daily calorie needs, you will begin to lose muscle mass. Even if you don’t care about being muscular, this is important because each pound of muscle burns a small amount of calories each day through your metabolism. Each additional pound of muscle also causes you to burn more calories through your workouts, especially if you are doing intense cardio workouts.
So rather than trying to drastically drop your calories, aim for a small reduction that is sustainable for the long term. My clients have gotten far better results with that approach, and I recommend it for you as well.
Mistake #3: Trying To Lose Belly Fat Through Diet Alone Or Exercise Alone
Just starting to exercise or starting to eat healthy alone will help you a lot to lose your belly fat. And just getting your diet or workouts right is far better than doing nothing. But the truth is, the most effective, the fastest, and in my opinion the EASIEST way to lose your belly fat is by using a combination of both exercise and diet.
Here’s why: if you’re trying to lose fat through diet alone, you’re going to have to cut your calories down pretty severely. Burning more calories through exercise will allow you to eat more, and will make your diet much easier to follow.
And if you’re trying to lose weight with exercise alone, you’re going to have to burn a ton of calories through your workouts. And if your diet is really bad, it may not even be possible to burn off all those extra calories through working out even if you exercise for hours every day.
Instead, here is the approach to losing your belly fat and getting abs that I recommend to my clients:
For your workouts, I recommend doing short workouts (20-30 minutes long) 4-5x per week. I find that my clients have a MUCH easier time sticking to shorter workouts, and are also able to maintain a much higher workout intensity.
The workout style I use to lose belly fat is called Afterburn Training. Basically, it’s a combination of heavy weightlifting using mainly compound movements and short, high intensity bodyweight cardio. The reason why I like it is that it gives you the muscle building benefits of a traditional weightlifting routine, but also allows you to burn more more calories.
On the diet side, I recommend that my clients prepare 20-30 healthy meals at the beginning of each week. Then throughout the week, they just pop them in the microwave for a convenient and delicious healthy meal.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get six pack abs then watch this video:
Hope you enjoyed the article! Leave me a comment below to let me know your thoughts, or if you have any other questions about losing your belly fat I can help you out with.
Train Hard, Mike Chang