How To Lose Belly Fat By Baraa El Sabbagh, Personal Trainer In Dubai
This is a question I got on Instagram the other day and it made me SO happy:
“Hi Baraa. I know you can’t lose fat from a specific area, but is there any workout for belly fat?”
First of all, I have to thank the sender of that question for phrasing it that way, I love when you guys remember the things I say on my Instagram, blog posts or podcast. Speaking of podcasts, you guys can always head over to B for Better Health to hear this episode instead of reading about it.
What Is Spot Reduction?
So let’s backtrack a little, no you can’t lose fat from a specific area. I always say, and you probably hear other trainers say, you can’t do SPOT REDUCTION. But first, what is spot reduction? It means picking a part of your body and working on it over and over till you reduce and tone it. If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know what I think about this method:
Thank you, next.
The Key To Losing Belly Fat
There is no magic move you can do on your belly to shrink it and reveal those abs, HOWEVER, there is a magic formula that will do the trick:
Consistent exercise PLUS calorie deficit PLUS meditation WILL reduce your belly fat.
Just a side note: If you’re pretty lean already, and you simply want more muscle definition like showing your ab muscles or quad definition, this might not be the blog post for you, this is for those who want to lose weight in certain parts like losing love handles, belly fat, thigh fat etc. But if you’re looking for more arm or shoulder muscle definition, the advice would be: train better and eat better.
Is It Impossible To Target Belly Fat?
Doing crunches, sit ups, oblique exercise, HIIT sessions, and all those fun ab workouts will make an incredible difference to your core and abdominal muscles. The thing is, a stronger core doesn’t mean LEANER and TONED abdominal muscles where you see a six pack right away. In most cases, there’s a layer of fat, the belly, covering all that muscle definition.
A lot of people say: “But B, you said we have to workout to lose weight, and the fat will disappear from my belly, but it’s not working, what's the problem here?” This is happening because while you did put in the work at the gym, you didn’t put in the same work in the kitchen, and you weren’t in a calorie deficit. And that makes all the difference.
Are Abs Really Made In The Kitchen?
You’ve all heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? Now even though I don’t believe that 100%, it is true to a certain degree. When you’re eating less, you will lose overall fat. Combine it with exercise, and boom, you have a lovely combo to lose belly fat. Simple as that! Losing weight in the belly needs work in both the kitchen and the gym.
Have Abs Without Going To The Gym?
Have you ever wondered why a young boy or girl on the beach has noticeable abs when you know for a fact they’ve never set foot in a gym? Well, that’s because their bodies are burning more calories than they’re eating. So they’re in a natural maintenance state or even a calorie deficit, which explains the abs! They simply don’t have fat covering it.
Can You Lose Fat In Your Legs?
It’s the same when it comes to doing leg workouts, like the ones you’d find on my YouTube channel: when you work your legs, you’re building muscles there and making them stronger. But stronger does not mean leaner, because again: if you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning, there’s still going to be a layer of fat on your legs, meaning your muscles won’t show. So by just training your legs, you’re not just burning the fat there.
But it doesn’t mean any of your training is going to waste. On the contrary, you are burning more calories overtime, so your work will show up in your strengthened performance and weight lifting progress. Not to mention feeling better generally and in your body and doing more during the day. But the bottom line is: Your legs won’t LOOK as toned as they would if you were to lose additional body fat that might be covering up the muscle in the area.
Solution To Losing Fat From Certain Body Parts
Before continuing, check in with yourself as you read this: Are you eating more calories than you’re burning? Or are they equal to one another?
If you answered yes to either of those, you’re likely putting on or maintaining your weight. So because you’re not losing any weight, the belly fat, thigh fat, or love handles won’t be disappearing anytime soon.
Celebrate The Small Victories In Health
Before I go on, how about we celebrate victories that don’t have to do with our physical appearance? If you’ve been working out for years, constantly in the first row of spin class showing tons of effort and enthusiasm, and just ENJOYING being active and healthy, that’s awesome! You’re strong, fit, and committed, which is not easy to be. So give yourselves props for that. Well done!
My Professional Advice In Losing Weight
Let’s say you’re following my advice and you started losing weight. Before you start saying goodbye to your belly fat, keep this in mind: You WILL be saying goodbye to fat ALL over your body. From your butt, arms, thighs, boobs, to your cheeks. That’s just the reality of the situation, which a lot of people complain about because some of us like the extra fat on our cheeks or our full bootys. I just wanted to remind you: fat loss can’t be targeted OR avoided.
The Importance Of Full Body Workouts
Can you just train your abs or glutes? Nope, if you target one muscle group in your training, it will lead to an imbalance in your body. You have to train your entire body to balance everything out. Imagine just getting your abs and glutes stronger, eventually your butt will be much stronger than other parts of your body that you’ll experience an actual imbalance! Sounds funny to imagine, but it’s possible and I know none of you want that.
When you target each muscle group at least twice a week, you’ll be burning more calories and you’ll be on your way to a healthy, fit, and balanced body. When you’re a beginner and working with me, you can bet I’ll be giving you lots of full body workouts at first to flatten any imbalances until you’re ready for more targeted workouts. And if you’re more advanced, I'd help you stay challenged!
If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, take a look at my 8 week program details, I’m taking on a whole new set of people in August and I’d be honored to help you start your fitness journey through nutritious meal plans and an awesome workout program.
Reduce Stress, Reduce Belly Fat
Last but not least, I need to give a shout out to meditation. Remember how I told you the magic formula for losing belly fat was exercise, a calorie deficit and mindfulness? You can’t leave out that third and important factor. We don’t give it enough credit, but once you introduce meditation into your life, you’ll reach your goals a lot faster than you’d expect.
Meditation will help you reduce stress, and if you heard my podcast episode on it you’ll know how helpful it is in all things weight loss. Extra stress raises certain hormones like cortisol and insulin in your body that make it harder for you to lose weight, workout, or control your appetite. You’ll be demotivated to exercise and prone to excess snacking, which gets in the way of that calorie deficit you were planning.
So do yourself a favor and take up meditating, journaling, or even improving your bedtime, ALL of which will reduce stress and get you to your goals. It’s multifaceted, but once you get all of these things in order, you’ll get rid of that belly fat that's bothering you but also gain SO much more on this health journey. You’ll be the best version of you. How does that sound?
How To Lose Belly Fat At Home
What can you do at home to take action?
If you’ve been working out for a while and not seeing the abs you already have that are hiding behind your belly, try going into a calorie deficit while working out. When you lose weight, you’ll lose the belly. Remember you’ll also lose fat in other parts of the body!
- Learn how to track your progress properly so you see if what you’re doing is working before you give up! Check out episode 80 on B for Better Health.
Don’t underestimate the power of training when you’re not seeing physical results, you are progressing and getting STRONGER, which is awesome all on its own. And it sets you up for the future!
- Think about trying out meditation or anything that helps you relieve stress! The stress factor is often overlooked on the weight loss journey, but once it’s handled with care and patience, it can make things a lot easier for you.
There you have it! Stay strong, stay healthy and stay motivated, team. See you next week.