What’ve you been doing to lose belly fat even though the pudge won’t budge?

Are you doing any of these 10 things?

Excessive Cardio Workouts

Many people believe that spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical is the key to melting away belly fat.

However, excessive cardio can lead to muscle loss (and with less muscle is a slower metabolism) and may not be the most efficient way to burn fat.

Instead, incorporate a mix of cardio and strength training for optimal results.

The illusion that cardio, cardio and more cardio is the best way to strip off stomach fat comes from the fact that marathon runners are so thin.

But serious marathon runners log 10-15 miles nearly every day, sometimes up to 20 miles — and cover that distance in as short a time as possible to always achieve personal bests: a frightfully grueling endeavor. 

Overlooking Strength Training

Incorporating strength training into your routine helps build lean muscle, which boosts metabolism and contributes to overall fat loss, including in the abdominal region.

Hanging out only in the pool just won’t cut it.

Neither will hanging out only in the cardio machine area.

Lifting only Light Weights

Lifting light weights (being able to do 15+ repetitions) is not the formula for optimal fat loss.

Neither is doing a lot of isolation work such as dumbbell curls, dumbbell side lifts and dumbbell kickbacks.

Use heavier resistance and focus mostly on exercises that recruit the largest muscles in the body: glutes, legs, back and chest.

Ignoring High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Some people focus solely on steady-state or fixed-pace cardio and neglect the benefits of high intensity interval training.

HIIT has been shown, in study after study, to be more effective than steady or long-duration cardio in burning calories and promoting fat loss, including in the abdominal area.

I can easily tell at the gym when someone’s doing HIIT on a cardio machine.

I’ve been to many gyms over the years, and I can honestly say that spotting someone doing HIIT is quite the rare experience.

Over-Reliance on Ab Exercise

While targeted ab exercises may strengthen your core, they alone won’t spot-reduce belly fat.

You should spend less time doing a ton of crunches and side bends and replace that time with big strength training moves that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time.

The ab muscles are small, designed for stabilizing the spine.

Muscles in the glutes, legs, back and chest are much bigger, designed for force production.

It’s a no-brainer which muscle groups require more energy for exercise and for recovery.

Inconsistent Workouts

Consistency is key when it comes to fitness. Irregular gym attendance or sporadic workout routines can hinder progress in losing belly fat.

Develop a consistent exercise schedule and stick to it to see lasting results.

Many people skip workouts based on what they ate earlier that day.

A common scenario is “blowing” one’s diet at lunchtime, then foregoing a planned visit to the gym after work in the name of “what’s the point?”

No matter what or how much you ate prior to a scheduled workout, you absolutely must complete that workout.

Poor Nutrition Habits

No amount of exercise can compensate for a poor diet.

Consuming excessive calories or relying on processed foods can sabotage your efforts to lose belly fat.

Focus on a plant-based diet rich in whole foods to complement your gym routine.

Another issue is portion size. Make sure you control your portions.

If you’re not losing weight, you’re taking in more calories than your body is burning.

Not Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain and make it challenging to lose belly fat.

Ensure you prioritize quality sleep, as it plays a crucial role in regulating hormones that affect appetite and metabolism.

Inadequate Hydration

Staying properly hydrated is essential for overall health and can aid in weight loss.

Dehydration can slow down your metabolism, making it harder to shed belly fat.

Drink enough water throughout the day (minimum of six, eight-ounce glasses), especially during and after your workouts.

Crash Dieting

I once read about a woman who lost a hundred pounds.

She gained it all back. That’s because the diet was only 900 calories.

Did she really think she’d be able to sustain this for the rest of her life?

You may lose a lot of gut fat from a crash diet, but you’ll gain it all back: guaranteed.

The best way to lose weight through diet is to control your portions and limit processed foods.

More Information

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness, where she was also a group fitness instructor, she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


­Top image: ©Lorra Garrick