I have been in the fitness business for 18 years and the most popular question I get asked is still by far this one: “How do I get great abs and lose belly fat fast?” This is because the abs are the one body part that most people are frustrated with.
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Although each question is phrased differently and each person’s situation is unique, my answer to “how do I get great abs and burn belly fat fast” is almost always the same. I will tell you what it is in a moment.
One question I recently received really got my attention. Namely, a young guy told me he was doing 1000 ab crunches a day and said he still couldn’t see his abdominals.
This is what he wrote:
“Tom, I’ve been working out for a year and I can’t get my lower abs into shape at all.
I’m starting to see the upper abs a bit, but despite doing 900 crunches and 100 sit-ups four days per week, along with regular workouts with weights, I still have belly fat around my waist.
Is there anything else that I should do to lose belly fat fast and get great abs?”
So, what did I tell him I gave him the same answer I’ve given thousands of people, which is the true “secret” to getting great abs.
The answer is that it takes consistent training to increase strength, build endurance and develop abdominal muscles. However, tolose belly fat fast and SEE definition and clear muscle separation in your abdominals (or any other muscle group) you need to have low body fat levels.
If you can’t see your abs, it’s not an issue of muscle development at all. It means you simply have too much body fat covering your abdominal muscles. The lower abdominal area is the place that most people, especially men, accumulate body fat first.
There is a simple scientific reason for this. Namely, most people don’t have fat distributed evenly throughout the body. Each person inherits a genetically pre-determined and hormonally-influenced pattern of fat storage. Thus, fat tends to “stick” to certain areas more than others.
Fat cells are not just inert “storage tanks” for excess or reserve fuel. They’re actually endocrine glands that send and receive signals from the rest of your body. In essence, one could say that fat cells “talk to the body” and the body “talks to our fat cells”. This occurs through a hormone and receptor system.
To lose belly fat fast or for any body fat loss to occur, you have to get the fat cell to release the fat into the bloodstream. Then, the free fatty acids have to be delivered to the working muscles where they are burned as energy.
For fat to be released, the hormone adrenaline must be secreted and needs to send a signal to your fat cells. Fat cells receive this hormonal signal via adrenaline receptors called adrenoreceptors.
Fat cells have Beta 1 (B1) and Alpha 2 (A2) receptors. B1 receptors are the good guys. They activate hormone sensitive lipase, the enzyme that breaks down fat and allows for it to be released into the bloodstream to be burned as fuel. A2 receptors are the bad guys. They block the fat-releasing enzymes in the fat cell and encourage body fat accumulation.
Lose Belly Fat Fast – How Body Fat Storage Patterns Affect You & Prevent Your Abs From Showing
What’s the point of all this physiology? Well, it turns out that in men, the lower abdominal region has a higher concentration of A2 receptors, so this is one possible explanation why the lower abdominal region is the first place the fat goes and the last place it comes off. Incidentally, the fat in women’s hips and thighs is also higher in A2 receptors. This is dictated by genetics and by the hormonal and enzymatic pathways we discussed earlier.
Think of abdominal fat as the deep end of the swimming pool. There’s no way you can drain the deep end of the pool before the shallow end. But, you shouldn’t let this discourage you. You can still lose belly fast fast, it will simply be the last place to come off.
This explains why ab exercises have little impact on belly fat loss. It’s a big mistake to think that loads of repetitions of abs exercises will help you lose belly fast fast (except to the degree that it burns calories and contributes to a calorie deficit). What removes the fat all over your body is a calorie deficit. This comes as a result of decreasing food intake, increasing activity or a combination of both.
Lose Belly Fat Fast – My Championship-Winning Ab Workout Routine
I only do 15 minutes of ab work 2 times a week. I do anywhere from 2 to 4 exercises for about 10 to 25 reps per exercise. Doing thousands of sit ups is a monumental waste of time. The reason my abs look the way they do is not because of endless repetitions, but because I get my body fat down to single digits via a highly specialized fat-burning diet program.
Here’s a recent abs workout routine that I’ve used (for bodybuilding/ab-development purposes). I do this routine 2 times a week and I change the exercises every month so my body doesn’t adapt. I prefer slightly higher rep ranges than for other muscle groups, but as you can see, it’s far from doing a thousand reps a day.
How to Lose Belly Fat Fast – My Workout Regimen Exercise Sets Reps A1 Hanging leg raises 3 15 to 20 Superset To: A2 Hanging knee-ups (bent-knee leg raises) 3 15 to 20 *no rest between supersetted exercises A1 & A2; 60 sec rest between supersets Exercise Sets Reps B1 Weighted swiss ball crunches (or cable crunches) 3 15 to 20 Superset To: B2 Incline bench reverse crunches 3 15 to 20 *no rest between supersetted exercises B1 & B2; 60 sec rest between supersets
How to Lose Belly Fat Fast – How To Use Cardio For Fat-Burning
Times have changed since the Aerobics revolution in 70’s and 80’s. For many years, aerobics was the hit of the fitness world. Then scientists began to uncover and acknowledge the benefits of weight training – for everyone, not just for bodybuilders.
Now the pendulum has swung in the other direction and we can hear fitness “experts” suggest that cardio should be kept to a minimum. That’s how things go in the fitness world – trends swing back and forth.
I recommend that you avoid “trend hopping” and just pay attention to what actually works and listen to those who know what they are talking about (such as bodybuilders, who are the leanest muscular athletes in the world).
Eliminating cardio is a mistake. To lose belly fat fast and achieve maximum fat burning you need to combine cardio training and weight training together.
Those with great genetics and above average metabolisms will find that just a slight drop in food intake and just a few days per week of cardio will help them lose belly fat fast.
However, most people who are struggling to lose fat (“endomorph” body types) are simply NOT burning enough calories to get the results they want.
The answer for them is to do more activity in order to burn more calories.
This is a simple principle to follow.
For health and weight maintenance, I would suggest 3 short cardio workouts per week, about 20 to 30 minutes per session. If you want to lose belly fat even faster, I recommend 4 to 7 days per week of cardio at a moderate pace. You can mix up the types of cardio you do, or choose what you enjoy most – stationary cycle, stair climber, elliptical machine or other activities that are excellent at fat burning (your cardio routine doesn’t always need to be indoors or on a cardio machine).
If time is a concern, you could do 2 to 3 cardio workouts of high intensity interval training and you’ll achieve very good results even with shorter workouts. Even as little as 20 to 25 minutes per session can get great results IF your intensity level is high enough.
Remember, getting your abs to show is about low body fat. How to lose belly fat fast and low body fat is about burning calories and creating a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is created by increasing the number of calories you burn or decreasing the amount of calories you take in from food. Increasing your cardio intensity is one way to burn more calories in less time.
NOTE: To reach the “ripped” 3.9% body fat level you see in my photo above, I do cardio 7 days per week for 30 to 45 minutes each session, in addition to weight training 4 times per week.
How to Lose Belly Fat Fast – 7 Nutrition Secrets For Great Abs
The final piece of the puzzle is nutrition. Many people say that “abdominals are made in the kitchen, not in the gym,” and there’s a lot of truth to this statement. Even thousands of reps of ab work every week won’t help you if your nutrition is not in order.
Therefore, here’s what ou need to do:
Eat about 15% to 20% below your calorie maintenance level (to determine your daily calorie needs use this calorie calculator). If you want to use a more aggressive calorie deficit of 25% to 30% below maintenance, then don’t keep your calories too low for too long. Increase calories to maintenance or maintenance +10% to 15% at least 1 to 2 das each week. If you want to lose belly fat fast, spread your calories into 5 to 6 smaller meals rather than 2 to 3 big ones. Be very conscious of your portion sizes. If you eat too much of anything (even healthy food), you can say bye bye to your abs. Eat high quality lean proteins with each meal (egg whites, lean meat, fish, protein powder). Choose natural, complex carbs such as vegetables, oatmeal, yams, potatoes, beans, brown rice and whole grains. Start with roughly 50% of your calories from natural carbs. Reduce carbs slightly late in the day if you’re not losing fat.
Avoid refined, simple carbs that contain white flour or white sugar. Keep total fats low and saturated fats extra low. Aim for 20% of your total calories from fat (and no more than 30%). A little bit of “good fat” like flax oil, fish fat, nuts & seeds is better than a no fat diet. Essential fatty acids assist the fat burning process and help you lose belly fat fast. Drink plenty of water – a gallon is a good amount to shoot for if you’re physically active.
Thus, once again, the secret to lose belly fat fast and seeing your abs is reducing your body fat! You lose belly fat and get great abs from reducing your body fat, and you reduce your body fat by creating a caloric deficit through nutrition and metabolism-stimulating and calorie-burning exercises.
I’ve spent my entire career, of more than 18 years and 28 bodybuilding competitions, studying the science and practicing the art of body fat reduction. I speak from experience and I walk the talk as you can see from my pictures.
If youd like to learn for yourself, what I’ve learned about fat burning nutrition and how to lose belly fast fast and about getting your body fat level low enough so that you can finally see a 6-pack, then be sure to take a look at the Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle program.