Losing belly fat and getting a flat stomach, maybe even six-pack abs for the most ambitious, is like the holy grail of fitness. It might make you feel better to know that certified personal trainer and fat-loss coach Oualid Zaim says, "Even people who seem to be able to lose weight often end up struggling in the face of their stubborn belly fat." So if you're working hard to get a flat belly, and it's not working, you're not alone. It may be as simple as focusing on these four things.
- Smart dieting: Oualid says losing belly fat doesn't demand some magical approach. It's difficult because it takes patience and being in a calorie deficit for a longer period of time. Jade Jenny, head CrossFit coach and owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit, told POPSUGAR you need to focus on eating whole foods complete with lean protein, healthy fats, and tons of veggies, while limiting the sugar and refined carbs. Crash diets are unsustainable, so even if they do get you results, you won't be able to maintain them.
- Weight training: Instead of hours of cardio, strength train three to four times a week. Use a variety of equipment including dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, bars, boxes, and medicine balls — mix it up to keep your muscles guessing. Do compound movements to work multiple body parts at once such as deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, and thrusters.
- High protein: Aim to get 0.8 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Protein will build your muscles, which will not only help you burn more fat, lowering your body fat percentage, but will also help your muscles look bigger, helping your abs pop. Eating enough protein will also satisfy your hunger and reduce cravings for not-so-healthy food.
- Cardio as a tool: Skip the hours of steady-state cardio and include high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts instead, which are proven to diminish belly fat. Try this 20-minute HIIT workout to reduce belly fat or this 30-minute HIIT treadmill workout.