Noticing your body is not as toned as it used to be? Or maybe you’re struggling with pesky lower belly fat that won’t seem to go away.
As you age, your body is constantly changing, so some weight gain is normal and nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’re looking to make healthier choices or have specific fitness goals you are trying to reach, losing body fat – in a healthy way – can help.
The important thing to keep in mind is that there’s no overnight solution for fat loss and that articles touting “How to lose belly fat in a week” offer tips that are not healthy or sustainable.
Research has found that the best ways to lose fat are through small changes to your diet and exercise habits over time.
What Causes Excess Body Fat?
While various conditions can cause excess fat, the most common cause is overeating and under-exercising. Consuming large amounts of calories, especially if those calories come from fat and sugar, but not getting enough physical activity to burn off those calories results in that excess energy being stored in your body as fat cells.
The good news is that while losing excess body fat can be difficult; it is possible with the proper eating habits and activity levels. Here are a few exercises and diet tips that can help you achieve your physique goals.
Fat Burning Workouts
If you’re wondering how to lose fat in general, any type of increased physical activity can help. However, the below workouts are designed to help you maximize muscle building and fat burning, including exercises to lose belly fat – one of the most common areas your body stores extra weight.
Basic Bodyweight Exercises
Using your body weight for exercise is an easy and accessible way to build up muscle, which helps boost your metabolism. Here are a few to try at home.
Targets the muscles in your legs, stomach, and back.
- Stand with feet hip-width distance apart.
- Engage your core muscles.
- Bend your knees and slowly lower down, keeping your back as upright as possible (like sitting down in a chair).
- Keeping your core engaged, straighten your legs, and return to a standing position.
- Repeat 10 times.
Targets the muscles in your arms, chest, legs, stomach, and back.
- Start with your forearms on the ground, ensuring your elbows are directly under your shoulders.
- Step back onto your toes so that your legs are straight and your feet are hip-width distance apart.
- Keep your back flat and your neck in a neutral position.
- Engage the backs of your legs and your core, and drive your elbows into the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat 5 times.
Targets muscles in your arms, chest, legs, stomach, and back.
- Start on your hands and knees, and place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders.
- Step back onto your toes, straightening your arms and legs to an elevated plank position.
- Without bending your knees, engage your core and bend your elbows until your body is an inch or two off the ground.
- Pause for a moment, then straighten your arms, keep your core engaged, and bring yourself back up to an elevated plank position.
- Repeat 10 times.
Targets the core muscles.
- Start lying on your back.
- Bend your knees and plant your feet on the ground so that they are hip-width distance apart.
- Place your arms across your chest or gently hold them behind your head.
- Engage your core muscles and lift your upper body so that your shoulders come off of the ground, but keep your head and neck aligned.
- Hold for a moment, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat 30 times.
For increased intensity and a more vigorous exercise routine, add some weights to your workout. The below movements can be done with weights of any size to meet your specific needs.
Weighted Glute Bridge
Targets the glutes, legs, and core muscles.
- Lay on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, directly below your knees.
- Place the weight on your lower stomach, holding it on both sides to prevent it from moving.
- Using your core, legs, and glutes, lift your hips toward the ceiling to make a diagonal line with your body.
- Hold, keeping your muscles engaged.
- Lower back to the ground.
- Repeat 10 times.
Targets the arm muscles.
- Start holding the weight in both hands above your head, with arms bent so that your upper arms are perpendicular to the ground.
- Point your elbows to the ceiling, and then bend your arms to lower the weights behind your head.
- Return to starting position.
- Repeat 10 times.
Targets the glutes and leg muscles.
- Hold a weight in each hand and place your arms by your side.
- Place your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Lift one foot off the ground and step forward, bending your knees to lower your body toward the ground.
- Keep your chest upright, shoulders back, and weights by your sides the entire movement.
- Stop when your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
- Push up on your leg to return to the starting position.
- Repeat the motion, leading with your other leg.
- Repeat both sides 10 times.
Diet Changes That Help With Fat Loss
Diet is a key factor in losing body fat. Eating the right foods, and avoiding others, can help your body get rid of surplus fat. Here are a few simple changes you can incorporate into your diet to help target body fat.
Drinking water is excellent for your overall health, including keeping your metabolism working at its best to help you burn fat. Optimize your water intake by aiming to drink three liters a day. For an added metabolism boost, squeeze in some lemon to help detoxify your liver.
Limit Processed Food Consumption
Pre-packed, processed foods are most often high in sodium, fat, and sugar – all ingredients that can cause excess fat storage. While you don’t need to cut out all of your favorite processed foods altogether, try to limit how often you eat them and replace them with healthier snacks and fresh ingredients wherever possible.
While savoring your favorite sweet treats might seem counterproductive when you’re trying to get rid of extra fat, occasionally indulging in a treat will keep you from wanting to binge them. When you eat dessert, eat it slowly so that you can recognize when you’re full and don’t feel the need to overeat.
Excess body fat is most often caused by overconsumption of calories, aka overeating and under-exercising. Making moderate changes to your diet and workout habits will result in fat loss over time. The important thing to remember is that results don’t happen overnight – and don’t come without a little hard work.