I'm going to show you how to lose belly fat for good with a 4-week plan. A little background: research has found that there are 4 things that are key to losing fat and keeping it off. So, during each week, we'll implement one of the 4 things - for a total of 4 weeks. Here's what you can expect to learn:
By the end of this article, you'll have a full plan - packed with tips on how to lose belly fat - that you can get started with immediately. Follow it consistently, and you can say goodbye to that belly fat.
By the way: these are precisely the things you'll learn in our Built With Science Programs. Only, you'll get access to much more guidance than this - including a software that automates the whole process of tracking your calorie intake for you. That's why thousands of our members have successfully shed stubborn fat. If you'd like to be one of them:
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In week 1, you need to start weighing yourself every day. You'd need to use a specific method that'll significantly improve the accuracy of your weigh-ins. But wait - why do you need to weigh yourself in the first place? That's because consistently tracking weight has been found in several studies to be a significant predictor of those who successfully lose weight. You need to get this step right before we cover diet tweaks to kickstart fat loss in the next week.
To do so, weigh yourself every morning after waking up and after using the bathroom. Don’t drink or eat anything before. After 7 days, take an average of your weight. This 7-day average will then be your “weight” for that week. Every week you will repeat this process. You will then compare these weekly averages to assess how much fat you’re losing with what we will implement next in weeks 2-4.
It’s important to weigh yourself in this fashion because your weight will fluctuate day-to-day. Factors such as:
... Can all affect your weight by up to 10 lbs! If you're just weighing yourself whenever you feel like it, these fluctuations make it next to impossible to assess if you're losing fat or not.
As for what to look for with your weekly average weight? A reasonable goal is to lose weight at a rate of around 0.5-1% of your body weight per week. For most people, this will amount to about 0.5-1 kg of weight loss weekly. If you were to lose more weight than this, you may be doing too much, too soon. And that not only makes adherence difficult but also puts you at risk of losing muscle. But what if you lose less than this? Then you can step up what you're doing - as we'll go through - in the next 3 weeks.
During the second week, you'll still need to weigh yourself daily. But in addition to that, you'd also need to close the gap between:
This will help start the fat loss process, which we will then speed up in weeks 3 and 4.
So, first, figure out roughly how many calories you can eat to kickstart fat loss. In our Built With Science programs (which I'll cover in more detail later on in this article), we've developed software that automates this whole process for you. For now, a simple method to get a rough estimate is to take your body weight and multiply it by either 13 or 29 if you're using lbs or kgs. For instance:
Write that number down. And now, we need to figure out how much you're eating. Download a food tracking app (e.g. MyFitnessPal) and start logging down every single thing you eat during a typical day. By the end of the first day, you'll be able to see roughly how many calories you're eating. You can do this for a few more days to improve its accuracy. What you'll notice is that this number will most likely be higher than the number of calories you can eat to lose fat.
We need to close this gap to kickstart fat loss - and help you (finally) lose belly fat. So, how do you do that, now that you have your calorie goal? Well, research shows that almost any diet can be effective as long as it's sustainable. Avoid eliminating foods from your diet. Doing so has been correlated with less fat loss and less dieting success.
Instead, employ a flexible approach toward your diet plan for the best chance of success at losing belly fat. This is where you more or less continue eating what you want, but gradually make swaps to reduce your calorie intake. Here's a recent guide that I've written on specific food swaps that'll help you lose fat faster. Be sure to check that out - but some examples are to swap:
These easy food swaps can significantly drop your calorie intake to kickstart fat loss.
And the best part? You don't need to make drastic changes to what you're eating.
But take this step at your own pace. It may take you longer than a week to implement. Which is perfectly fine. After all, this will serve as the foundation for losing that belly fat. And when paired with the next 2 steps, you'll be able to speed up the process.
It's worth acknowledging that these food swaps may not be suitable for you because of your dietary preferences. Don't worry. We've got you covered with our 3-on-1 coaching program. You'll get access to a dietitian who'll be able to tweak your meal plans based on all the foods you can (and cannot) eat - while ensuring that you stay within a calorie deficit needed to lose stubborn fat. To find out more:
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Reducing calories is the primary way to kickstart fat loss. But being active should not be overlooked as it will speed up the process. To ensure you're being active enough, we'll track something called NEAT starting in week 3. NEAT is something we'll work on boosting to help you burn more calories. Any activity you perform outside your scheduled workouts is referred to as NEAT (Non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
It may not seem like it, but daily living activities like:
... All increase how many calories you burn a day. And, thus, can make a big difference when it comes to fat loss. For example, taking 10,000 steps a data can burn well over 500 calories, which equates to roughly 1 lb of fat loss per week.
In addition, research shows that having low levels of NEAT can make it more difficult to control your calorie intake. More specifically, studies show that in individuals with very low NEAT levels, hunger levels are not well-regulated - and they're more likely to overeat as a result. But, once activity levels are increased, your body seems to start doing a better job of regulating your hunger levels. And the calories you consume.
The easiest way to track your general activity is through your step count. Most phones and smartwatches nowadays can track this with high accuracy.
As for how many steps to aim for, the greatest benefits seem to occur in the neighbourhood of 7,000-9,000 steps per day. And is a good minimum goal to aim for. If you’re well below this number, gradually increase your current step count by about 10% at a time until you’re within that range. This can be as easy as adding in a 10-minute walk in the morning and evening or after each meal.
Once you’ve nailed this down, then you can finally move onto week 4, to further speed up the process.
During week 4, you need to implement a structured workout routine with the right amount and the right type of exercise to lose belly fat. As a recommendation, you should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise 3 times per week. If you can up this to at least 60 minutes 4-5 days per week that is even better.
For reference, research has shown that people getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week were able to lose TWICE as much weight as people getting 75 minutes of exercise per week.
To add to this, when exercise is combined with your diet that we established back in week 2, it is even more effective for losing weight than either method by itself.
As for the type of exercise to do? While people often gravitate to an “all or nothing” approach to doing either weights or cardio, a combination of both is going to get you the best fat loss results:
What we recommend within our Built With Science programs that have worked wonders for thousands of members (like Andrew), is to start with a foundation of about 3-5 weight training days per week.
Once you’re consistent with that, add in 20-30 minute cardio sessions to help you hit the weight loss targets we established back in week 1. Now, for those who are eager, combining all of this with the next bonus tip can indirectly help with your results.
Here's the thing. You can’t directly target fat loss from your belly. But you can grow your abs just like any other muscle by training them with weights. As they grow, they will pop more through your skin. And as a result, make them more visible even if you haven’t lost all the belly fat.
To do this, train your abs with weighted movements regularly 2-3 times a week. Great exercise options include weighted:
I do have an article covering weighted ab training as well - so, if you're truly serious about belly fat loss, do check it out.
Just keep in mind that weighted ab training is the icing on the cake. It should not be implemented until you’ve nailed down the previous 4 things. Once you get all 4 implemented, you’ll start experiencing fat loss. Keep this up for long enough and stay consistent with it, and eventually, the fat will come off from stubborn areas like your belly.
And for those looking to take this one step further with a program that puts all of this together for you, such that you know exactly how to train and what to eat week after week to lose stubborn fat for good and build lean muscle just like thousands of our members have done, then:
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