How to Lose Stubborn Abdominal Fat

Developing a lean, flat stomach takes time and patience, especially when it comes to losing those last few pounds. The lower abdominal fat and "love handles" can be two of the most stubborn and exercise-resistant areas.

There is only one way to lose fat in these so-called "stubborn areas," and that is with the correct combination of proper diet, aerobic exercise, abdominal training, and weight training. Abdominal fat loss is combination of 50% exercise and 50% nutrition.

Remember to keep the following 5 things in mind:

  1. It is impossible to "spot reduce" fat from one specific part of the body. Fat loss occurs systemically, meaning that you can’t control where the fat is lost. In women, the stubborn areas tend to be hips, thighs, and waist. In men, the troublesome areas are usually the lower abs and the "love handles."
 Training the abdominals every day with crunches and sit-ups will certainly tighten and tone the abdominal muscles, but it won’t do anything to remove the fat obscuring the muscles.
  2. The most effective way to burn this layer of flab from your midsection is not to do more abdominal exercise but to do more cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic exercise is the real secret to burning fat. Walking, jogging, bicycling, elliptical exercise and stair climbing are all great fat burners. The key to maximum fat loss is to work out for 30-60 minutes continuously every session.
  3. Even if you do cardio every day, without a balanced diet, you still won’t see results. A fat loss diet must also be low in calories. Regardless of how much you workout, if the number of calories you take in is greater than the amount you burn, you’ll still have abdominal fat. Ideally, you should spread your calories out into five small meals a day instead of two or three big ones so that you don’t overeat. Eat a variety of foods that are all natural, low in fat and low in sugar, with about 55% of the total calories coming from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 15% from fat.
  4. Sit-ups and leg raises do not isolate the abs but recruit the hip flexor muscles. The hip flexors attach the thigh to the spinal column, so working them with exercises such as straight leg raises creates a strong pull on the lumbar area, which is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. Safer, more effective alternatives are crunches, crunch machines, hip lifts, and reverse crunches.
  5. The final component of your abdominal fat-reducing program is to incorporate resistance training. Many people are under the impression that they should only do cardiovascular activities until the weight comes off and then add weight training later on. Working out with weights will increase your lean body mass, which in turn raises your resting metabolic rate. The faster your metabolism is, the more fat you will burn!

This article was provided courtesy of Tom Venuto and Weighing Foods for Energy Content. Tom is a lifetime natural bodybuilder, personal trainer, freelance writer and author of "Burn the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models.


11 Responses to How to Lose Stubborn Abdominal Fat

  1. This is usually the first part of the body people want to get rid of. It's really a combination of 3 different things that will greatly help you. They are ab exercises, eating healthy and motivation.

    You must begin to eat small meals...this may take some time to get used to, but after about two to three week you will be used to it.

    Put down all of your goals in writing! If you wan to lose 3 inches off your waist, put it in writing. You will have a higher success rate if you do this.

  2. Adam says:

    This is so it! I have worked like crazy over the last 13 months and have the rest of my body looking pretty darn good compared to where I was a year ago (if I do say so myself), but I have this little section of paunch on my abs which I just can't get rid of! I'm going to up the cardio and really give it a blast, I'm determined to get there.

    • Adam,

      You should combine your cardio exercises with lower ab exercises. This will help you get rid of the "pouch" section of your stomach. You seem to be pretty motivated to get their. Adam it doe require alot of patience to get a flat stomach...so make sure you keep this in mind.

  3. Tim says:

    It can be frustrating as well because as mentioned the abdominal area is the last place the body takes fat from. A good analogy is draining a swimming pool. No matter how hard to try the deep end of the pool (abdominal area) will not be drained before the shallow end (legs, arms, shoulders, etc).

  4. lynn ferguson says:

    Your advice is spot on , I have trained for years but just since october 10 I changed my eating habits i.e smaller portions and less fat content and I have the best abs i've ever had (I teach fitness classes so it's nice to show them off when teaching)
    Best Regards
    Lynn x (Glasgow)

  5. Gwen says:

    I'm 5.2" and 110 pounds so not a big person but I had 30% body fat that I'm working on with smaller meals/good carbs/kickboxing and resistance training. Eventually I'd like to get rid of the stomach flab . Hope it works.. I'm trying really hard. I have overly large breasts...will this work on them too???

    • Preeti says:

      Gwen,
      Breasts are also comprised of fat and muscle tissues. Should you be working out, your breasts may get smaller (but may also gain some muscle).

      If possible, find a physical trainer who can help with female body types.
      Good luck and keep up the good work!

  6. Ila says:

    I am short 4'11". I have a long neck, little bust,no shoulders, larger upper arms, short arms and legs, waist not to bad, but from there on down I need help. hips. thieghs and stomack. I do water aerobics and I love to walk. My asthma holds me up from walking to much.I try to really eat right. do you think there is any help for me. do you think small amonts through the day could help me. Blessings ( I C A Bee)

    • Preeti says:

      Ila - It's good you love walking! Exercising when you are asthmatic is difficult but definitely possible. First you should speak to your doctor about your current health. Then you need to ask what kind of exercise regiment will help you and keep your asthma at bay.

      You never want to overexert yourself but as you build stamina, your heart will become stronger and you will have less asthma attacks. There is always hope and help but get advice from your doctor before starting any serious exercise plans.

  7. jay says:

    I would love to know what exercises I can do to get fast results and keep them.

  8. Maverick says:

    I am 15 and healthy 107 pounds but I have a jelly belly will all this excersise really help tighten my stomach muscles up

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