Spot reducing fat doesn't work, and the only way to lose belly fat is by integrating a full-body weight-loss approach. (See Reference 1, p. 10) When your total body fat reduces, your belly will also slim down. The three key elements needed to achieve this are a sensible, reduced-calorie diet, aerobic exercise and strength training. This combination can accumulate the caloric deficit that's required to lose weight. You'll reduce your risk of obesity-related health conditions, and will look and feel better at the same time.
Set a realistic goal of losing 1 to 2 pounds per week. Achieve this by creating a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories through exercise and diet. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, most women can lose weight by consuming between 1,000 and 1,200 calories a day, and most men can lose weight by eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories a day. (See References 2)
Perform at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, five days a week, to burn calories. (See References 3) Play a doubles tennis, go for a brisk walk, bicycle at a speed that's slower than 10 mph or try ballroom dancing or water aerobics. Exercise at an intensity during which you can comfortably talk, but not sing a song. (See References 4)
Incorporate vigorous intervals into your cardio routine on two days. According to the American Council on Exercise, high-intensity intervals effectively reduce body and belly fat. (See References 5) Perform two minutes of cardio of your choice, and then speed up for about one minute and go all out. For instance, walk briskly for two minutes before accelerating into a vigorous, one-minute sprint. Continue to alternate the intensities until you finish your workout.
Engage in strength training on a minimum of two days of the week. (See References 3) According to research findings published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, strength training can effectively reduce belly fat and prevent an increase in body fat. (See References 6) Target your legs, arms, hips, abdomen, back, chest and shoulders, with exercises, such as lunges, squats biceps curls, triceps dips, crunches, bent-over rows and chest and overhead presses.
Emphasize a healthy diet that consists of foods from the five food groups: whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, lean protein and a variety of vegetables and fruits. When eating, fill half of...