logo builtwithscience


Thoroughly researched and scientifically sound products to help hit your goals.
The #1 Exercise To Lose Belly Fat (FOR GOOD!) thumbnail

The #1 Exercise To Lose Belly Fat FOR GOOD (It'll Surprise You!)

by Jeremy Ethier - June 4, 2022

Hitting the gym, doing loads of cardio, and eating right — but still struggling to lose belly fat? It's frustrating. But hey, what if I told you there's 1 exercise that could change everything?

Belly fat is really easy to gain and notoriously hard to lose. It can seem as though no matter what exercises you try and no matter how well you eat, the belly fat just won’t budge. And unfortunately, with the exception of surgery, there is currently no proven method of being able to spot reduce fat from the belly.

There is an exercise, however, that is incredibly underutilized yet powerfully effective when it comes to losing belly fat. Today I’ll share what that is and how you can start using it right away to lose belly fat (for good!).

Before that: if you're looking for a training program that'll take care of all the factors necessary for optimal fat loss (training, nutrition, and even supplementation), I've got just the thing for you. Every BWS program is designed to help you transform your physique in the most time-efficient manner. And best of all? It's all rooted in science. For more information on how BWS programs can help you to look better — FAST:

Click the button below to take my analysis quiz to discover the best program for you:

Many Of Us Struggle To Lose Belly Fat — Here's Why

Many of us struggle to lose belly fat. It's one of the top complaints, regardless of whether someone is working out or not. But why is this so? Why is belly fat so hard to lose in the first place? As it turns out, it comes down to your genetics.

This was first brought to attention in the literature back in 1997 by Dr. Bouchard, where he discovered that certain areas of your body are easier to lose fat than others, and is largely determined by genetics. They found that although some individuals seem to be less inclined to store fat around their abdomen, most people’s genetics prioritize abdominal fat loss last.

Now, having your genetics stacked against you may seem problematic if you’re looking to develop a slim or lean-looking abdomen, but there is a solution.

Genetics determine belly fat

How To "Overcome" Your Genetics To Lose Belly Fat

As long as you create a calorie deficit and continue to burn more calories than you consume every day, you will continue to lose fat. Eventually, if maintained long enough, you will lose excess fat from all areas of your body, even if your genetics put your belly fat at the back of the line.

There are 2 aspects you could tweak to create (and/or maintain) a calorie deficit to lose belly fat:

  1. Diet: Your main way of creating a calorie deficit
  2. Exercise: Adding additional exercise can help speed it up and ensure that you’re continuing to lose fat (and to lose belly fat) even as your metabolism slows down from dieting

Now you guys are smart, and you’re probably already aware of exercise's importance in helping you to lose belly fat. And you may have attempted to burn more calories and shed belly fat faster by incorporating things like running, rowing, cycling, or even HIIT workouts. But there's an issue. And that is ...

Traditional Forms Of Cardio Suck At Helping You To Lose Belly Fat

These forms of cardio tend to burn calories very quickly, making them seem like a great way to lose belly fat over time.

For example, based on what’s known as the Compendium of Physical Activities, a regularly updated database that outlines the calorie burn from various exercises, a 170lb individual, compared to if they were to just sit around, can expect to burn roughly an additional 12 calories per minute running at a moderate pace of 6 miles per hour.

So, a 30-minute running session would lead to a net total of about 360 calories burned. Do that 3 times a week for a year, and that would lead to an additional 56,160 calories burned.

Given that back in 1958, researcher Wishnofsky discovered that losing 1 pound of fat requires burning 3,500 calories more than you consume, then this routine would amount to about 16 lbs of additional fat loss per year.

They Work In The Short-Term, Sure, But They're Unsustainable

Now while this does sound great on paper, the truth is, that the overwhelming majority of people can’t actually stick with traditional cardio long enough for fat loss to reach stubborn areas.

In fact, even in studies where subjects are assigned cardio sessions to do, drop-out rates tend to be on average almost 20%.

And it’s not that these methods don’t work if you stick to them, because they do. I’ve personally used running and HIIT regularly in the past to get me down to very lean levels. In fact, I used to believe these intense cardio sessions were the key to burning off stubborn fat.

But they were brutal. They required a LOT of willpower. I got sore from them, it really impacted my energy, and I just dreaded doing them most of the time. And although I stuck it through and eventually did get the six-pack I was after simply because I was burning a lot of calories, I just couldn’t get myself to continue these grueling sessions especially outside of summertime, and eventually, I lost a lot of the progress I had made.

Now, don’t get me wrong, these forms of cardio definitely do have their place and some people have no problem sticking to them — and to lose belly fat successfully.

In fact, I still do these intense sessions once or twice a week for conditioning. But I no longer rely on them as my main form of cardio to lose fat (or to lose belly fat) and neither should most people. Because if you want to lose belly fat, and more importantly, keep it off once it’s gone, then you need something you can stick to for life.

What’s the solution?

The Best Exercise To Lose Belly Fat

It’s the easiest to maintain, lowest stress, lowest fatigue, and most versatile form of cardio: walking.

Walking is the best exercise to lose belly fat

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Will walking really help me to lose belly fat? Walking doesn’t burn many calories. There’s no way I can walk my way to a six-pack!”

Years back, I would have said the exact same thing. I would have laughed if anyone even suggested that I could lose belly fat simply by walking.

But a 2021 meta-analysis titled “Slow and Steady, or Hard and Fast?” helps shed some light on the matter. The researchers analyzed a total of 54 studies to determine the effect that different types of cardio had on fat loss.

What they found is that intense forms of cardio like HIIT or running, while time-efficient, didn’t provide any superior fat loss effect when compared to longer yet less intense forms of cardio such as walking. Meaning? Walking does indeed help you to lose belly fat. Or, in other words, you can lose belly fat while walking.

Which makes sense. It’s simply a numbers game. Your body doesn’t care whether the calories you burned were from some crazy intense fasted cardio session or from plain old walking. What matters most is what you can do consistently over time.

Walking is way easier — and yet, just as effective as other, more "hardcore" cardio forms (like running or HIIT). It's obvious which you'd choose. But imagine not knowing about this, and being left frustrated at failing to lose belly fat. You end up spinning your wheels. Unnecessarily. So, if you don't want to get stuck at making zero progress for months or years on end:

Click the button below to take my analysis quiz to discover the best program for you:

How Many Calories Can Walking Burn?

And if you crunch the numbers, you’ll actually find that the calories burned from simply walking can very quickly add up to a meaningful amount.

For example, using the same exercise database we used earlier, a 170 lb individual walking at a casual 3 miles per hour can expect to burn an additional 3.4 calories per minute, and roughly 200 calories per hour.

If for 3 days per week, you added in an extra hour of walking, that would amount to 600 additional calories burned per week. Over the course of the year, that is an additional 31,200 calories burned, which would amount to about 9 lbs of fat loss.

The math checks out in the literature as well, with one of the few studies out there analyzing walking’s effect on fat loss. Researchers found that subjects who simply added in 2 and a half hours of brisk walking per week experienced an additional 3.5 lbs of fat loss over the course of 12 weeks.

Walking Is Way More Sustainable

Now, although hours of walking may sound like a lot, it doesn’t have to be all at once. Later in this article, I’ll show you how to incorporate this into your life effortlessly to lose belly fat. But first, just compare the walking routine to the running routine I gave earlier.

Yes, the running routine will burn more calories in less time. But how likely would you be to keep that up for a year?

If you go all out for 2 months, but then become inconsistent and give up after, that 16 pounds of additional fat loss we calculated becomes just a couple of pounds. It's nowhere near enough fat for most people to even come close to lose belly fat.

This is why walking is the #1 exercise to lose belly fat and is why it’s now my main form of cardio to get lean and stay lean: it’s easy to stick to.

So, now that I’ve hopefully convinced you of the power of walking, let’s dive into how you can easily start applying it to lose belly fat.

How To Lose Belly Fat By Walking

The first step is to determine an average of how many steps you’re currently taking. You can use the health app on your iPhone or use Google Fit if you’re on Android.

After a week, see what your daily average comes up to. Some of you however might be surprised with how few steps you’re taking, but this is a good thing, as it means you have a big opportunity to bump that up.

For example, here’s one of our Built With Science program members Devyn, who recently hit a plateau and simply bumped up his step count up from 3,000 steps to around 8,000 to 10,000 per day and is back to losing fat every single week, especially in his stubborn areas.

How long it took Trevor to lose belly fat

It’s simple but it works.

Slow And Steady Wins

For most people though, I wouldn’t recommend trying to jump all the way to something like 10,000 steps right away.

Instead, set a realistic goal and first aim to do an extra 2,000 steps a day. Given that the average individual takes about 1,200 steps during 10 minutes of walking, all you have to do is throw in two 10-minute walks into your day to accomplish that.

Gradually increase step count to lose belly fat

Once you’re consistent with that, try bumping it up by another 2,000 steps, and continue doing this with the goal of consistently getting at least 8,000 steps or even up to 15,000 steps, which seems to be the range that provides the greatest fat loss and health benefits.

The key, though, is to make this fit your lifestyle. Some tips I personally use are to always:

  • Choose a far parking spot
  • Take the longest way to the washroom
  • Do 10 minutes of incline walking after each workout
  • Take 10-minute walks after each meal
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
  • Listen to podcasts while walking, and more

And for those who are busy in the office all day, a study that had subjects add just 5 minutes of walking per hour into their office day found that over the course of the year it would amount to over 9 lbs of additional fat loss.

The effect of walking daily compounds to sizeable weight loss benefits

In this case, you can also try to aim for a higher step count on the weekends to boost your weekly average.

But trust me, the little things add up. Apply these tips and you’ll be surprised with just how much they increase your step count and even more surprised by how much of a difference it makes towards your fat loss over time.


That said guys, I want to emphasize that walking or any form of cardio is only effective for fat loss if it’s used in combination with a diet.

Think about it. The calories you burn from a whole hour of walking or a 30-minute run are equivalent to the calories in three pieces of toast, which you could consume in literally a matter of seconds. So use your diet as the primary way to create a calorie deficit and supplement it with walking to help speed up the process.

And if you need help with putting this all together into an easy to follow science-based workout and nutrition plan that you can trust will work to help you burn off stubborn fat and build lean muscle, then:

Click the button below to take my analysis quiz to discover the best program for you:

I’d also highly recommend that you give the following articles a read, to get more tips on how to further speed up your fat loss process:

By the way, here’s the article summed up into a YouTube video:

The #1 Exercise To Lose Belly Fat (FOR GOOD!)

The #1 Exercise To Lose Belly Fat FOR GOOD (It'll Surprise You!)