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how to lose belly fat


If you have “stubborn” belly fat that just won’t seem to go away, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ll take you step by step through the solution to get rid of that excess belly fat for good!

You’ll have to ask yourself some tough questions and perhaps make some difficult choices.


I promise you’ll get the results you’re looking for if you follow this advice.

Losing fat is one of the easiest and hardest things to do when it comes to getting in shape.

Easy because science makes it very clear what the process for fat loss is.

Hard because it’s challenging to stick to what science says we should do, and fat loss can stall pretty quickly and regain of weight is all too easy.

That said, the first thing we all must do is look in the mirror for the benefit of our health.

No, not to look at the areas where weight gain is most noticeable like around your waist, hips or love handles!

Losing fat is one of the easiest and hardest things to do when it comes to getting in shape. Easy because science makes it very clear what the process for fat loss is. Hard because it’s challenging to stick to what science says we should do, and fat loss can stall pretty quickly.

I want you to look in the mirror and give yourself honest answers to the questions that I’m going to ask you. Because if you can do that, I promise you’re going to reach your fat loss goals, maybe for the first time ever!

We’re going to be looking at several different factors that could impact your ability to lose fat including drinking alcoholic beverages, nutrition, sugar intake, water intake, type of training, and specific ab training. Let’s start asking those tough questions and more importantly, being honest about the answers!

what is stubborn belly fat


First, we have to address the “how to lose stubborn belly fat” question.

Is your abdominal fat really “stubborn”?

Meaning, are your overall body fat levels high due to less-than-optimal daily habits, including eating fast food and processed foods, drinking sugary beverages and a lack of physical activity?

Here, I’m referring to someone who looks like the photo on the left (below) with the larger waist size.

Or do you already have a flat stomach, but you’re struggling to lower those last few body fat percentage points despite your best and most consistent efforts at weight training and a healthy lifestyle and diet?

Here, I’m referring to someone who looks like the guy on the right, with a flat belly, even a bit of visible six pack, but still has a little bit of belly fat storage around the love handles.

I’ll be honest with you.

If you’re in the camp of the guy on the left, it’s not a case of “stubborn” belly fat. It’s a case of not doing the right things often enough and maybe doing some unhealthy things too often (the big ones are excess calories from sugary drinks and other sugar intake). If you’re willing to try to do the right things more often, I can show you how to lose belly fat quickly.

If you think you’re in the position of the guy on the right, doing everything you can but still can’t seem to get to the lean ripped level you want to be, then the remaining questions below will help to dig into the “why” to help you get to looking closer to the photo below.

But, let me be honest with you once again.

This level of “ripped” isn’t what everyone wants, because not a lot of people want to do everything it takes to get here.

They may not be willing to have the level of consistency and commitment that it takes, or maybe would be unwilling to give up some things to get there.

And that’s ok.

Your own goals and health are what should matter to you.

The good news is that if you can take an honest look at the factors in each of these 4 simple steps, you’ll learn how to lose belly fat fast and you should be able to make the adjustments necessary to get you on your way to whatever level of leanness you’re looking to achieve.

Now, let’s take a hard and honest look at some of the most important habits that factor into losing fat.


I understand that the desire to drink alcohol is driven far more by social benefits than it is by simply trying to quench your thirst.

For this reason, it is often something that many people are unwilling to give up entirely.

And you may not have to, depending on your goals. Alcohol in moderation might not have to interfere with your goals.

It’s easy to consume and pile up liquid calories when you drink. And these liquid calories have a huge negative effect on your fat loss goals.

Not only that, but metabolically alcohol is handled differently by our body. Our liver prefers to metabolize it over fat for energy as if it were liquid sugar. So, if you’re trying to get rid of body fat, you’re interrupting your own process if you drink often.

This means that you’ll have to ask yourself how important it is for you to have a six pack.

If you’re happy with a flat stomach, drinking can be part of that equation.

Metabolically, alcohol is handled differently by our body. Our liver prefers to metabolize it over fat for energy. So, if you’re trying to get rid of body fat, you’re interrupting your own process if you drink often.

How much? Let’s say a maximum one to two days per week with maybe 1-2 glasses of wine or mixed drinks, or 2-3 beers at a sitting. If you’re drinking more often than that, those quantities would have to decrease. Ever one drink per day is probably too much.

Any more than this, and you’re not getting down to that flat stomach.  And the less you do it, the likely you’ll get there and stay there.

However, if you want to get to that ultra-ripped condition, then your alcohol consumption levels have to go way down.

Either way, if you drink currently and you’re trying to drop excess weight and body fat, drinking less will help significantly.

Drinking is just not beneficial to you in the long run if you’re trying to decrease your body fat level and increase lean muscle mass.

drinking effect on belly fat


No pursuit of fat loss can occur without a frank discussion about what you are consuming every day.

To burn fat, you must be in a caloric deficit, period.

However, your food choices are very important. Let’s take a look at a few questions on this flow chart.

First, are you trying to get rid of belly fat irresponsibly by using crash diet plans, extreme calorie restriction or extreme low carb diets?

If these are your weight loss strategies, you are likely never going to see long term success and you will probably increase fat storage and gain weight in the process.


Because diets like an extremely low-carbohydrate diet or a low carb high fat diet aren’t easy to sustain in the long run.  You may get some results at the beginning but when you inevitably fall of the wagon, you’ll see that belly fat gain return and maybe surpass what was there before.

On the other hand, if you’re dieting responsibly by reducing your calorie intake by around 200-500 extra calories per day, you’re making the right changes in your pursuit of a lower body at percentage, flat abs and increased lean muscle mass.

Second, are you eating clean?

I’m serious…

How healthy are you really eating?


Often, people aren’t really eating as ‘clean’ as they think they are. Eating clean means eating a healthy diet consistently over a long period of time. This is where portion size also comes in.

How is your food intake? Are you eating two plates of everything? Are you getting the optimal portion sizes for protein sources, fibrous carbs and starchy carbs? How much sugar are you eating? Are you drinking enough water?

This doesn’t have to be as complicated as counting calories, tracking macros or weighing your food.

My recommendation is to divide up your plate.

If you imagine your plate as a pie chart, you’ll want it to have about 40% protein intake, 40% fibrous carb intake (vegetables and fruit) and 20% starchy carb intake (whole grain bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.)  When it comes to protein sources, lean proteins are best.

Finally, how consistently are you “eating clean”?

Healthy eating is not a temporary thing, and consistency is important. This is where I think things tend to fall apart for a lot of people.

If you imagine your plate as a pie chart, you’ll want it to have about 40% protein, 40% fibrous carbs (vegetables and fruit) and 20% starchy carbs (whole grain bread, pasta, potatoes, etc.)

This is another place where you have some tough decisions to make.

Are you good with flat abs and maybe the beginnings of a six pack?  Or do you want to be ultra-ripped? If it’s the former, you can get away with a little more leeway in your eating plan. If it’s the latter, you’re going to have to be more strict.

What about cheat days?

If you’re having entire cheat days, you may not be able to reach either of these goals.  Because in a one-day feeding frenzy, you can do enough damage to undo a week of good eating and cause blood sugar spikes. Especially if we’re talking about lots of refined carbs and refined sugars. And forget about sugar-sweetened beverages like sugary coffee drinks or softdrinks.

If we’re talking cheat meals (and not whole days) I’d say you can get away with 1 or 2 a week and get yourself down from that protruding belly to the flat belly.

Can you have a cheat meal every single week and get down to ultra-ripped condition? Sometimes, if you’re doing everything else right, and that’s a big IF. You’re more likely to get there if you’re having a cheat meal maybe only every other week or once a month.

how caloric deficit affects belly fat


Healthy eating alone is never going to be enough if you want to reduce belly fat and keep it off forever.

Nutrition is the most important thing in your lifestyle when it comes to dropping body fat levels. Higher protein diets are best to shed excess weight and increase lean muscle mass. But you MUST supplement your nutritional improvements with the right type of training to maximize your results.

And I’m not talking about JUST cardiovascular exercise or aerobic exercise.

You also need to build muscle mass through moderate strength training exercises to help you increase your metabolism to burn calories more easily.

Should you be doing aerobic exercise training at all?

That depends on your current body fat level. If you’re less than 15% for men or less than 25% for women, achieving additional calorie burn by doing a cardio routine 2-4 times per week could help you burn fat and make some drops in body fat percentage.

However, if you’re above 15 – 20% body fat for men and 25 – 30% for women, nutrition and lifting weights should be the greater focus for you.

How often should you be doing weight training?

Three to five times per week is where I’d like you to be, and including barbell complexes into your training plan is ideal.

Barbell complexes are where we combine compound movements into one flow, such as a Barbell Row into a Hang Clean, into an Overhead Press, into a Front Rack Reverse Lunge.

We’re looking to move a lot of muscles in one coordinated movement flow. This type of training allows you to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, because moving those heavy weights in a flow without longer rest periods boosts heart rate and burns more calories.

You can choose to do only barbell complexes for your resistance training, or you can add a few complexes into your standard weight training program.

what type of training to lose belly fat


No, I’m not talking about spot reduction because we know that’s not possible.

You can’t burn belly fat by doing ab exercises. PERIOD.

However, when the abdominal muscles are developed, you get a visual impact that helps keep you motivated to keep doing more of the other things I mentioned earlier, like minimizing drinking, sticking with a consistent nutrition plan and doing your weight training.

You see, at even higher levels of body fat, when you consistently train the abs you can actually begin to see them. At first it may just be the upper abs and the upper obliques, but it’s particularly rewarding when they start to pop out.


You’re not just going to work your rectus abdominis. You’re going to strengthen your core muscles by training your entire abdominal area in the correct order.

How often should you train your core muscles?

I believe in up to daily ab training for no more than ten minutes at a time. In fact, I have several 6 minute ab workouts on my YouTube channel that you can follow, or you check out my Six Pack Promise app that generates short effective ab workouts for you. All of these workouts follow my 6 Pack Progression to teach you the right way to order your ab exercises for maximum effectiveness.

I’ve found that when you can start with a small commitment, like 6 minutes of abdominal exercises per day, you begin to build the consistency and motivation you need to get the other pieces of the equation right.

Don’t neglect the importance of separate ab training in your overall approach to getting down to those lower levels of body fat.

what type of ab workout to lose belly fat

I hope you were able to take a look in the mirror and answer these questions about your health and daily routine honestly. We all have areas that we need to work on, me included. But when you can be honest with yourself about where you may be falling short, that’s when you can start to address those things and make some big progress.

If you are looking for a step-by-step workout and meal plan that will get rid of belly fat, get you more ripped than ever and help you to build athletic muscle, check out our ATHLEAN-X programs to find one that best matches your current goals.


  1. If you’ve got “stubborn” belly fat that just won’t seem to go away, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve taken you through you a step by step look at areas you may need to make some changes in order to reach your weight loss goals. I’ve asked you to ask yourself some tough questions and give yourself honest answers.
  2. One of the questions you’ll need to answer is whether your belly fat is really “stubborn”. Are you carrying extra body fat due to less-than-optimal nutrition and fitness, or do you have those factors dialed in and are just looking to shave down those final couple percentages of body fat?
  3. Whichever camp you’re in, you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to do all the things it takes to get ultra-ripped, and not many people are!
  4. If you are currently drinking, you may need to decrease your alcohol intake in order to reach your goal. If you’re happy with just a flat stomach, you can probably drink 3-4 servings of alcohol per week. However, if you’re looking to get ultra-ripped, drinking should not be a regular activity because of the excess calories involved.
  5. Your nutrition needs to be healthy, clean, appropriately portioned and consistent. Ensuring you have a good protein intake will help you stay full and build muscle which will help you lose bodyfat. Stay away from unsustainable tactics like an extreme low-carbohydrate diet or high fat diets. Whether you are happy with a flat stomach or looking to get ultra-lean, you can’t get away with entire cheat days. If a flat stomach is enough for you 1-2 cheat meals per week is probably alright, whereas those looking to be very lean should keep it to 1-2 cheat meals per month. A healthy eating plan will be integral to you reaching your goals.
  6. In addition to a balanced diet, you should be training. If you’re less than 15% body fat for men or less than 25% for women, a few aerobic activity sessions per week should be helpful in further reducing body fat percentage. However, if you’re higher than that, nutrition and resistance training should be your main focus. Everyone should be strength training 3-5 times per week, and incorporating barbell complexes into their training plan.
  7. Doing daily short ab workouts is helpful in building the abdominal muscles to create a visual improvement. Regular ab work also helps you create a commitment that will be helpful in keeping you motivated to stick with the other key pieces of your fat loss plan.

Watch the YouTube version of this article
Jeff Cavaliere Headshot

Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS

Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.

Read more about Jeff Cavaliere by clicking here

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