If you want to know how to lose belly fat fast, there's one thing you should realise:
Belly fat is a bitch to get rid of!
Belly fat is a bitch to get rid of! Here's how to ditch it for good.
- Stomach fat is usually the last to go (at least for men).
- You can't spot reduce fat, so you have to keep losing weight until it melts off. Unfortunately, the last 5-10 pounds of fat loss are incredibly stubborn.
If you're like most guys, you want to see that shiny six pack as fast as possible...
And you probably don't care about having a nicely shaped ass, or a perfectly chiselled chin.
Fortunately for you, I'm going to share my top strategies for getting rid of your chubby stomach (fast).
Here's what you'll learn in this article:
I've also got a free bonus download for you:
It's a stubborn fat strategy guide that will show you step-by-step how to get lean. It also includes extra tips (not found in the article).
You can download it below:
Why is belly fat so stubborn?
At this point, you're probably wondering what I mean by 'stubborn' fat.
But first, I'll let you in on a secret:
Your body doesn't care about your dreams for a six pack- It will do everything in it's power to maintain homoeostasis, and prevent you from starving.
Your body doesn't care about your dreams for a six pack- It will do everything in it's power to maintain balance. Here's how to trick it...
Of course, you aren't actually 'starving', but your body doesn't know this.
As you get leaner, physiological adaptations occur:
- Leptin is lowered: Leptin is the hormone responsible for regulating energy balance (aka weight loss). It signals to an area in the brain (the hypothalamus), that you are full. It's therefore an important hormone for weight loss and satiety.
- Ghrelin is increased: Ghrelin is the hunger hormone responsible for stimulating appetite, and promoting fat storage.
- You burn less calories at rest: As you lose weight, basal metabolic rate is lowered. Your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) expenditure is also greatly reduced. This accounts for calories burned during fidgeting, yawning, walking etc. Studies have shown that NEAT can account for upwards of 2000 calories.
- You burn less calories during exercise: The lighter you are, the less energy you expend during exercise. This makes cardio less effective as you get leaner.
These adaptations can cause fat loss plateaus and increased cravings when dieting.
But this still doesn't explain why belly fat is so stubborn.
The role of insulin
After you've eaten a meal, the food is broken down and is met by the hormone insulin.
The role of insulin, is to shuttle the nutrients to different cells in the body.
Your body switches it's primary fuel source to glycogen.
Effectively no fat burning occurs in this 'fed' state as lipolysis and fat oxidation are blunted by insulin.
Several hours later, insulin lowers back down to baseline levels and the body enters a 'post-absorptive' state.
When you're in this fasted condition, the body burns fat exclusively from fat stores.
Chemical agents, known as catecholamines, are dispatched into the bloodstream.
They latch on to fat receptors and trigger them for fat mobilisation (almost like a lock and key).
There are 2 types of fat receptor:
- Alpha receptors: These are more resistant to fat mobilisation -
- Beta receptors: Speed up fat mobilisation +
As you may have guessed, the higher the concentration of alpha:beta receptors, the tougher it is to mobilise the fat.
Areas like the lower abdomen have a higher concentration of alpha receptors, which make them more 'stubborn'.
To make things even more difficult, there is also less blood flow to these lower regions.
Why is this important?
Well, the less blood flow there is to a region, the harder it is for our buddy Mr C (catecholamine) to reach the area.
This slows the process of fat burning to a crawl...
So anything you can do to increase catecholamines and blood flow is a godsend for fat loss.
The only problem is...how do you do it?
Keep reading to find out!
How to lose belly fat fast for men (4 Winning strategies)
Below, I've listed my top 4 tactics for burning stubborn belly fat fast.
Method #1 Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting increases subcutaneous blood flow and catecholamine production.
One study showed that fasting increased blood flow by a whopping 50%.
Research has shown that the 12-18 hour region is the sweet spot for fat oxidation & lipolysis.
But beyond that, there is clearly diminishing returns.
After 20 hours of fasting, energy is taken from intramuscular fat stores (inside the muscle) rather than subcutaneous fat (under the skin).
If you're new to fasting, follow these guidelines to get started:
- Wake up
- Fast for 4 hours (drink black coffee & sparkling water)
- Eat your first meal
- Wait for 3-4 hours then eat your 2nd meal
- Wait another 3-4 hours and eat your last meal.
- Stop eating 2 hours before bed.
Method #2 Use fasted training
Fasted weight training is the most effective way to increase catecholamine production.
In order to preserve muscle, take HMB, an anti-catabolic agent.
If you already have BCAA's, they'll work fine too.
Method #3 Take 300-500mg of caffeine
Caffeine raises energy expenditure because it stimulates Epinephrine (adrenaline).
Studies have shown that an effective dose is 300-500mg of caffeine.
This equates to 3-5 large cups of coffee, or 2 caffeine capsules.
Besides burning more calories, caffeine also improves focus and can increase strength.
Caffeine burns 80-100 extra calories per day, and improves strength in the gym!
However, there is a catch:
Research has found that the effects of caffeine ware off with extended exposure.
If you're a habitual coffee drinker, then caffeine will be far less effective for fat loss.
But there is an easy way around this- you can cycle your intake.
- 4 high caffeine days (300-500mg): Try to fit these around your workouts.
- 2 Low caffeine days (150-200mg)
- 1 Zero caffeine day (<50mg )
Method #4 Take these 2 fat loss supplements
99% of fat loss supplements on the market are trash.
However, there are 2 supplements I recommend:
- Green tea extract: GT is filled with anti-oxidants, in particular, catechins which increase metabolic rate. Caffeine and green tea work in a synergistic fashion and have a greater impact on fat loss when combined. *Optimal dose: 400-500mg per day
- Yohimbine: Studies conducted on yohimbine show that it is very effective for fat loss. The only downside, is that it can have harmful side effects if you suffer from a panic disorder (such as anxiety). *Optimal dose: 0.2g per kg bodyweight
Foods to avoid to lose belly fat
If you want to lose fat as fast as possible, you need to avoid energy dense foods.
Energy dense foods are high calories (typically fat) and aren't very satiating.
If you fill your diet with too much junk it will increase cravings and the likelihood of binging.
You should also keep your fat intake as low as possible.
A gram of fat contains double the calories of protein and carbohydrates (9 vs 4).
It's also the least satiating macro-nutrient, having the lowest impact on satiety.
Here are some examples of energy dense foods you should limit in your diet:
*A good rule of thumb is to eat 80-90% of your diet from whole-grains, fruit, veg, and lean meats. The remaining 10-20% can be filled with treats.
Foods that help burn belly fat
Nutrient dense foods are the key to maximising satiety, and burning fat.
These foods contain high amounts of protein and fibre which are both crucial for weight loss.
The 'superfood' label has been abused to death in the last decade.
However, protein is as close to a miracle for weight loss as you can get:
- It increases satiety: Protein will help you stay full for longer and consume less calories.
- It has a high thermic effect: Studies have shown that protein has the highest thermic effect (15-30%). By increasing your protein intake, you can eat more, and stay full for longer. Win win!
- It spares muscle mass: Protein provides the essential amino acids used in protein synthesis. A higher protein intake will aid recovery and spare muscle mass in a calorie deficit. This is beneficial for two reasons: It will prevent the skinny fat appearance and allow you to lose a greater amount of fat.
Here are some great protein sources:
And here are the protein sources to avoid:
*I recommend you eat 1 gram of protein per lb of bodyweight.
Fibre keeps you full, lowers blood sugar, and helps regulate your bowel movements (for a smooth toilet experience).
Here are some great sources of fibre:
*You should be aiming for 10 grams of fibre for every 1000 calories you consume.
How to lose belly fat with exercise
In addition to supplementation and dieting, you should also optimise cardio for maximum fat burning.
Research has shown that HIIT cardio is more effective compared to low intensity training.
One study found that after 6 weeks of training, the participants who used HIIT lost 113% more fat than those who used LISS cardio.
In addition to burning more calories during exercise, high intensity interval training also increases metabolic rate upwards of 24 hours after exercise.
Not bad eh?
But before you get too excited, you need to consider the type of exercise you'll use for HIIT.
Studies have found an inverse relationship between how much cardio you do and diminished strength adaptations.
This is known as the concurrent training effect.
The best way to minimise this, is to pick exercises that mimic strength training movement patterns.
That's why biking, rowing, and sprinting are the most popular methods of HIIT (and what I personally recommend).
*For a free HIIT workout routine, check out the link below:
9 Cool fat loss tips (you need to try)
Tip#1 Eat more protein
A high protein diet is the key to a successful diet:
- You'll burn more calories
- You'll stay full for longer
- You'll retain more muscle mass and lose more fat
*Aim for 40-60 grams of protein with every meal.
Tip #2 Eat more fibre
Fibre should be included in every meal to increase satiety and improve blood sugar levels.
*Aim for roughly 10-15 grams of fibre for every meal.
Tip# 3 Get motivated
Staying motivated is crucial for adherence on a diet.
The best way to stay motivated is to create SMART goals:
Specific: Your goals need to be detailed and actionable. The more specific you are, the easier you'll be able to visualise (and achieve) it.
Measurable: Feedback is incredibly important for goal-setting. You need to be able to measure your progress in some way- whether it be weighing yourself everyday, taking caliper readings, or measuring your waist.
Attainable: Your goals need to have an element of challenge to be motivating. At the same time, you want to ensure that they're realistic and achievable within the time-frame you set.
Relevant: Are your goals important to your development?
Time-based: Having a tight deadline creates a sens of urgency and compels you to act, even when you don't feel like it.
Here is a simple step process you can use to create your very own SMART goals:
Step #1 Define your broad goal: e.g. I want to look good on the beach
Step #2 make it specific: e.g. I want to get lean
Step #3 Make it measurable: e.g. I want to lose 20 pounds
Step #4 Set a deadline: e.g. I want to lose 20 pounds in 12 weeks.
Tip #4 Use small plates
Studies have shown that the size of the plates you use effects the portion size and perceived satiety
Scientists have dubbed this the size-contrast illusion.
You can take advantage of this by using small plates for meals.
Tip #5 Lower meal frequency
One of the biggest dieting myths is that small, frequent meals increase metabolic rate and decrease hunger.
Research has proven this to be false.
New studies have even theorised that larger, less frequent meals are better for satiety.
*Try eating 2-3 meals per day and eliminating snacking from your diet- it should have a positive impact on satiety and reduce cravings.
Tip #6 Chewing gum
The research on chewing gum and long-term satiety is quite conflicted, however there have been numerous studies that show chewing gum can reduce post-meal appetite.
*Try chewing sugar-free gum when fasting, or directly after a meal.
Tip #7 Zero calorie beverages
Diet sodas are a neat way to satisfy cravings.
The carbonation from these soft drinks will also help you to stay full in-between meals.
Tip #8 Eat slowly
It's common knowledge that it takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that you're full.
By chewing your food more, you naturally eat slower and therefore increase satiety.
*Next time you eat, take your time and chew 2x more than you usually do.
Tip #9 Walk everywhere
Try walking more often, instead of taking public transport.
If you were to walk an extra hour every single day, you could increase calorie expenditure by 180-240 calories per day.
Not too shabby.
Bonus: Stubborn fat strategy guide
Burning belly fat requires a lot of patience, but if you use these strategies you can speed up the process:
- Practice intermittent fasting 12-18 hours per day
- Train fasted (don't forget to use HMB or BCAA's)
- Drink 3-5 cups of coffee on training days.
- Take 300-500mg of green tea extract & supplement with yohimbine (0.2g per kg of bodyweight).
- Do HIIT cardio 4x per week for 20-30 minutes.
By using these tactics, you can increase blood flow to the lower abdomen and produce a higher amount of catecholamines (needed for fat burning).
These tactics are awesome... but they are only so effective on their own.
Remember, to lose fat you need to be in a calorie defiict by:
- Eating less AND/OR
- Moving more
Energy balance is the single most important factor for weight loss!
Ok, now it's over to you:
Which stubborn fat strategy do you plan on using to melt belly fat? Let me know in the comments below: