According to Chris Wharton, Co-owner and Director of the Better Body Group, there are three stages of ‘getting in shape’ before you can consider targeting certain areas for fat loss.
Create a calorie deficit: It is simply impossible to lose body fat without burning more calories than you consume. This is your number one fat loss strategy, and is best achieved by reducing your calorie intake.
Include compound exercises as part of your regular workouts: add squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull ups to make sure you are targeting all muscle groups.
Increase your levels of NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Put simply, move around more throughout the day to increase the total number of calories burned.
He added: “Once you are certain these bases are covered, you can start focusing on more specific body parts. Since a slim, sculpted belly area tends to be the most desired, there are three great abdominal exercises to add into your gym repertoire.”
Chris said: “This is one of my favourite and one of the most effective exercises for sculpting great abs.
- Lie flat on your back, on a Bosu ball or Swiss ball, positioning it under your lower back.
- Plant your feet in front of you with knees bent.
- Lower your shoulders toward the floor with arms above your head. You should feel a stretch through your abs.
- If you feel any pain in your lower back at this point, shuffle the Bosu further up your spine for less of a spinal extension.
- Now raise your shoulders towards your knees as if performing a crunch.
- At the top, contract your abs while exhaling and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
- Both the lifting and lowering should be very controlled, with a few seconds spent contracting at the top and a few seconds spent relaxing when your arms are stretched above your head.
Aim for at least 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
How to lose belly fat: The suitcase carry
How to lose belly fat: The suitcase carry part two
Chris said: “An often-ignored area of core training is the ability to hold and carry a weight on one side of your body. By off-setting the weight, you really challenge your obliques, the side trunk muscles, on the opposite side of the body as well the abs, lower back and deeper trunk musculature.”
- Begin by selecting a kettlebell or a dumbbell that is difficult to carry. Place the weight beside your legs with your feet hip width apart.
- Descend toward the weight by flexing at the knees and hips, your chest should remain proud with your back slightly arched.
- Inhale, then pick the weight up, thrust forward through the hips and stand up into your starting position.
- Now simply walk forward whilst maintaining a neutral spine- it’s harder than it sounds.
- To further challenge the trunk muscles, pull the weight away from your body whilst walking.
- Aim to cover a distance of 20-30m (you may need to add a turn in there somewhere)
- Slowly lower the weight back to the ground then repeat with the other arm.
Aim for at least three sets of 20-30m on each arm.
How to lose belly fat: Barbell roll out
How to lose belly fat: Barbell roll out part two
3. Barbell roll out
Chris said: “Another great core exercise that lengthens the abs, whilst putting them under tension. To give fair warning, this is likely to cause some muscle soreness for those that have never tried it before.”
- Kneel on the floor and hold a barbell beneath your shoulders and grip the bar with your hands shoulder width apart. Start with light plates, 5-10kg, on either side.
- Brace your abs and roll the barbell forward until you feel like you’re about to lose tension in your core or your hips might drop.
- After a second pause, roll back to the starting position, keeping tension through your trunk, without dropping your hips.
- Keep your abs tight throughout the whole range of motion.
- Do as many reps as you can perform with perfect form.
But this exercise is not advised for those suffering with any kind of back pain or hernias.
Chris added: “If you find this too difficult, replace this exercise with a simple plank variation.
“Incorporate these three moves into your regular workouts and you will soon start to notice that you have a flatter stomach and more defined waist.”