“Is there anything extra I can do to get rid of belly fat?”
“What’s the best exercises?”
“Can I speed things up?”
These are some questions I get a lot from clients and people who follow my stuff.
So I’m going to give you some answers in this article to help you understand:
Let’s dive in…
Exercise doesn’t target fat. It targets muscle.
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So there’s no best exercise for getting rid of belly fat.
The actual process of losing fat happens through your breath. You don’t burn it out. You breathe it out.
But you can develop your abs better with the right exercises (we’ll get to that soon) so that you look and feel a lot stronger when you do get lean enough.
Fat loss happens when you eat plenty of good foods, not more than you need, and exercise plenty.
Us men tend to gather fat in excess around the gut area when we don’t do this.
If you have a gut, or jelly-belly you don’t want?
It didn’t appear over the space of 3 months.
It’s been a gradual build-up of eating or drinking more than you need, over a long period of time.
Which usually involves a shit diet. And usually accompanied by low energy levels and crabbit moods around the family after work.
So we can’t really expect to see that disappear within 3-6 months. Can we?
It really depends on where you’re at right now.
Your age, stress levels, responsibilities, available time, and what you’re willing to do to improve things.
99.9% of the men I coach are busy Dads with high stress in their lives.
If that’s you?
You can’t expect to get the same results 23-year-old Joe Bloggs with no kids who still lives in his parent’s house got in 12 weeks.
But you can get the same results, or better, eventually, and maintain them for life if you take things slowly, keep your head in the long-game and approach this as a lifestyle change.
No 12-week plans, diets or anything unsustainable. Healthier eating and fitness should enhance your life and help you deal with stress better. Not make it worse or hard to cope with.
Here’s some transformation photos from myself and some people I’ve helped. All have different ages, work, life commitments, and responsibilities. No 1 approach is identical, but everyone achieves their goal.
Weekly Activity: Desk job. 3 x strength/resistance workouts per week (2 at gym, 1 at home). Got his cardio (running) in to and from work and the gym.
Timeline between photos: Around 8 months.
Weekly activity: Active job (vehicle mechanic). 3 x strength/resistance workouts per week at gym + 1 x resistance-based interval session (sled pushes, drags, kettlebell swings, farmer carries)
Timeline between photos: 12 weeks.
Weekly activity: Active job (train engineer). 3 x home strength workouts per week with resistance bands and weighted vest. 1 x 30-45 min cardio at weekends (Whenever he has the time).
Timeline between photos: 12 months.
Weekly activity: Inactive job. 2 x gym strength/resistance workouts per week at gym + 2 x boxing classes.
Timeline between photos: 6 months.
Weekly activity: Active job training PT clients. 3 x gym-based strength workouts per week + lots of daily dog walking.
Timeline between photos: 6 months.
Weekly activity: Very active job (roof layer) 2 x gym-based strength workouts per week + 1 x cardio (cycle or rowing) and 1 x yoga class.
Timeline between photos: Around 12 months.
Weekly activity: Very active job (tree surgeon). 3 x strength-based workouts per week (sometimes in a gym, often in the woods, lifting logs and petrol cans for quick workouts when time was against him) + 1-2 x swimming sessions per week.
Timeline between photos: 5 months.
There’s no one blueprint to get a leaner, healthier and stronger body.
It’s about identifying what you can commit to at any given time, no matter how small that is, and being consistent.
But there are a few things everyone listed above has in common:
It doesn’t matter if they did 2, 3 or 4 strength workouts per week. It was in there every week and the foundation of their exercise program.
You have to make yourself stronger and maintain strength to lose fat successfully and stay healthier as you grow older. If you’re not using your muscles for anything physical enough, you’ll lose it.
I see so many men make the mistake of losing more muscle, getting weaker and not losing fat after finishing an exercise program, because they followed some follow-along bodyweight circuit routine promising great results.
That might give you a workout, but it won’t maximize the muscle you retain or build whilst losing fat.
Focus on slow, controlled, compound exercises like press-ups, weighted vest press, pull-ups, 1 arm rows, dumbbell bench press, squats, deadlifts, split squats, step-ups, ab roll-outs, planks, resistance band exercises, weighted carries.
Those build true strength, develop your abs, and you can do most of them at home with minimal equipment.
Cardio just fills in the gaps. It’s not the most important stuff for improving how you look. But it does help make you leaner, healthier… And even stronger in the right doses.
Don’t overcomplicate this. Do what you enjoy doing… Play a sport, swim, cycle, row, run (if you’re not too overweight), whatever.
The biggest changes and contributor to progress for myself and everyone I’ve coached is their eating habits and lifestyle changes outside of their workouts. Hands down.
I’ll leave the specifics for another article.
But from 1 photo to the next…
They all ate more fresh veggies and fruit, got enough protein, ate less processed foods and more nutritious whole foods.
They drank more water, improved their sleep and reduced stress each day.
Eating better isn’t about dieting or going strict.
It’s making a lot of small lifestyle changes for the better.
I hope this helped.
PS – If you’re feeling a little stuck with your health and body goals, and need some help?
Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or PM me on my Facebook page and we can have a chat about your goals.
Dean McMenamin is an Army veteran, father, dog-lover and online nutrition & exercise coach helping busy men transform their bodies, regain self-confidence and be healthier role models for their kids. He's also a big eater of ice-cream.