I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked which exercises target belly fat. Before I became a trainer and health coach, I had the same question. Belly fat is correlated with so many negative health implications. I was concerned that if I continued to gain weight in that area, my health would start suffering.
My friends and I read the lists. You know the ones — the 10 best exercises to burn belly fat, the 5 best exercises to whittle your middle, the 8 best exercises to lose the muffin top…
These lists made it look so easy. Just do these exercises and — presto-chango— you too will have a flat stomach. There was no way to fail but for lack of effort — if you still had belly fat you probably just needed to do more reps. I had a friend that did 200 sit-ups a day — 200! After our hard workouts, we would be starving and devour whatever food was convenient. Usually it wasn’t healthy, but we felt like it was ok because we just worked out so hard.
What I know now is that some exercises are better at strengthening your core than others. (For the record, I like other exercises more than sit-ups.) Having a strong core is really important. However, it it is possible to have a strong core under a layer of fat. New research has shown that what you eat, and how, and when play a much larger role in body composition. My friend and I were unsuccessful because you can’t out-exercise poor nutritional choices.
If you are trying to burn belly fat, I encourage you to put away the lists and take a holistic approach instead. Focus on eating quality food, getting quality sleep, completing quality exercise, and effectively managing stress. If you need help, I encourage you to find a trainer, coach or health advisor who is well-versed in each of these aspects.
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a safe and healthy week.