Q:What is the best type of exercise to get rid of belly fat?


Well, the quick answer is that there is NO exercise that “targets” fat in a specific area. That said, there are many things you can do to increase the likelihood that your belly fat will diminish. Once the fat decreases, you can see the definition that is underneath.

My first answer is that defined abs (or simply a flatter belly) are not built in the gym. They are built in the kitchen. I know that is strange to think about, but it is true. The people you see with flat bellies and defined abs not only exercise (definitely a piece of it), but they eat well. Eating a low glycemic, high protein diet is what works for most people to achieve the level of leanness they desire. Genetics plays into that as well though. It is easier for some people to achieve a certain shape than others. If you want to know more about genetics and metabolism, I am happy to answer some questions about that.

Women are especially prone to holding weight in the midsection because of the reproductive system. Fat around the midsection actually increases our estrogen levels and raises the risk for cancers (especially female cancers). As women go through hormonal changes throughout life (pregnancy, menopause, monthly cycles), estrogen levels ebb and flow. After menopause (and as women approach this time), belly fat becomes the primary source of estrogen. That is why as women age, it gets harder to keep belly fat away. The body wants to maintain estrogen levels, so it holds onto fat.

Men and women both gain fat around the midsection when the diet contains more carbohydrates than the body needs. This can come in the form of bread, pasta, rice, cereal, alcohol, milk, granola bars, soda, and even fruit (especially canned), and many other things.

Bottom line, there is no quick and easy answer to that question. The answer will be slightly different for everyone. Here are the best things to try when you desire less belly fat.

  1. Eat clean, whole, low glycemic and high protein foods.
  2. Avoid alcohol as much as possible.
  3. Eat protein EVERY TIME YOU EAT. Protein slows the rise in blood sugar. Rises in blood sugar cause insulin levels to rise, which leads to belly fat storage in both men AND women. There are articles about this that all subscribers will receive as part of the program. They teach about the role of carbs/sugars and how to make the best choices. It is certainly not about deprivation, but there are strategies to employ when making these choices.
  4. Lift weights. The more muscle you have on your body, the higher your resting metabolic rate.
  5. Don’t overdo cardio. Long cardio sessions over time (like race training) can cause the body to hold onto fat. Intense exercise is fine if that’s what you enjoy. Just know that in some people, it causes them to hold onto fat to fuel those long workout sessions.
  6. Make sure not to “compensate” for exercise by eating more if your goal is weight loss. Let your exercise be a bonus, and stick to a consistent eating plan.
  7. Eat enough. This is a huge issue that I will happily address further if subscribers are interested. Under-eating slows the metabolism. Then when you go out on a weekend to “treat yourself,” you have an already slowed metabolism. This means that more of your calories will be stored as fat than if you had eaten enough calories during the week.
  8. Change your lifestyle. Going on and off diets over time lowers the metabolism which makes the storage of fat more likely. Find a plan that works for your life, and stick to it.

As far as exercise, PILATES is hands down the most effective way to pull abdominal muscles tight. It is my favorite exercise to do. Each month, subscribers will get one of my Pilates videos in addition to the other workout videos. I have gotten the best results both for myself and my clients with deep core Pilates exercises.