Complete Guide: How To Get Rid of Lower Belly Fat (The Untold Truth)
Lower Belly fat sucks doesn’t it?
Trust me, I know how it feels – to look in the mirror and have your self-confidence tested by the accumulation of stubborn stomach fat (particularly that hard-to-reach lower belly).
As a natural bodybuilder and certified personal trainer, belly fat is often the topic of conversation between my clients and me: “How do I get rid of it?”, “What exercises should I be doing for it?”, “What foods should I eat?”… the list goes on.
Unfortunately, most blog articles on belly fat are either (1) misleading, or (2) based on opinion and not science.
So, in this article, my aim is to provide you with the complete, A-Z guide (based on science) on everything you need to know about belly fat and how to get rid of it.
This article is beneficial for those who have a lot of belly fat to lose, as well as those who are already fairly lean, but want to tone their lower abdominals specifically.
First things first, you CANNOT target fat in certain areas.
As a matter of fact, the Department of Kinesiology & Health Education at Southern Illinois University conducted a study to put this myth of spot reduction (being able to target belly fat) to the test.
They took a group of 24 healthy participants (14 men and 10 women), between the ages of 18 and 40 years old, and randomly assigned them to 1 of the following 2 groups: control group (CG) or abdominal exercise group (AG).
The CG was not prescribed anything, but the AG was prescribed an exercise program consisting of 7 abdominal exercises once a week, for 6 weeks.
After the 6th week, they analyzed the abdominal fat and overall body composition of both groups.
They found that the AG had no changes in abdominal fat or body composition. The only difference between the groups was that the AG developed more muscular endurance, being able to perform more repetitions than the CG.
In other words, it doesn’t matter how many crunches or sit-ups you do, you will not get rid of abdominal fat.
Also, you can’t lose fat in your stomach, but want to keep fat in your butt (ladies…). You must focus on reducing body fat throughout your entire body.
So, in the preceding sections, I’ll be going over my top tips on how to reduce overall body fat so that you can see those abs and get rid of that stubborn belly, as well as specific exercises you can do to help tone the lower abdominals.
There is a lot of information in this article, ranging from the anatomy of belly fat, all the way to what exercises you should be doing and what foods you should be eating.
If you’d like to skip all the anatomy stuff and get right to the meat and potatoes of how to go about getting rid of lower belly fat, then go ahead and skip to sections 5-9.
However, I personally recommend taking the time to read the full article so that you are equipped with a complete understanding of the subject matter; which in turn, will hopefully allow you to make better, informed decisions on how to get rid of belly fat.
So there are 2 types of fat: brown fat and white fat.
White fat on the other hand is the culprit behind the stubborn belly fat that we accumulate as a result of over-eating and lack of exercise.
This is the type of fat associated with health-related diseases like heart disease, liver disease, and high blood pressure.
Although there are many factors that play a role into the accumulation of visceral fat (belly fat), including stress, genetics, sedentary lifestyle, to name a few, the main cause of lower belly fat and overall body fat, is over-eating!
If you are eating more calories on a daily and weekly basis than what you are burning, you will gain weight…it’s that simple.
So, in order to lose weight, and in-turn lose that stubborn belt of fat that wraps around our mid-section, you must be in a caloric deficit – burning more calories than what you are consuming on a daily/weekly basis.
Perform HIIT Cardio
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of cardio that burns more calories than other, less intense forms of cardio (i.e. walking, jogging, etc.).
Although it is obvious that a full-on sprint would burn more calories than a light jog, several studies have proven this as well, showing that HIIT is more effective than low to moderate intensity forms of exercise for reducing visceral fat (AKA belly fat).
Click the thumbnail below to get a more in-depth look on HIIT cardio for fat loss.
Exercise with Weights
Resistance training (or weight training) builds lean muscle, and muscle burns more calories than fat mass, in addition to boosting the body’s metabolism.
Here is a sample workout plan to serve as a good starting point (regardless if you are a beginner or advanced in working out):
Reduce Calorie Intake
It’s simple, if you eat more calories than what you burn on a daily/weekly basis, you will gain weight…
Negative energy expenditure is crucial to weight loss. In other words, you need to be in a caloric deficit, burning more calories every day/week than what you are consuming.
If you need help figuring out how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis to lose an average of 1-2lbs per week, head over to our free, calorie calculator.
Calorie Calculator: https://www.unalteredathletics.com/tools/nutrition-calculator/
Stress is an over-looked cause for belly fat. However, studies show that increased cortisol levels (caused by stress) can cause stomach fat gain.
As a matter of fact, a recent study published by Yale University, explains that “Cortisol affects fat distribution by causing fat to be stored centrally-around the organs”.
They found that men and women who have higher levels of stress, also have more visceral fat than those who don’t have as much stress.
The bottom line here is to try and reduce your stress.
Stress is nearly impossible to avoid completely. However, there are ways we can limit/reduce our stress levels (i.e. meditation, exercise regularly, to name a few).
Reduce Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on our body’s insulin levels – the hormone that helps to push blood sugar (glucose) into our cells.
When too much glucose is absorbed by the cell and it cannot intake anymore, the excess glucose is forced to be converted into fat.
This vicious cycle of spiking our body’s insulin levels causes what’s called, insulin resistance – when your body becomes resistant to insulin. This resistance causes excessive weight gain, among a plethora of other health-related issues.
If you’re interested in learning more about this process of insulin and how it affects weight loss, you can check out the following video where I go more in-depth about this topic – http://bit.ly/InsulinResistanceExplained
Increase Protein Intake
Since protein takes the longest to digest among other macro-nutrients, it has the highest thermic effect.
The thermic effect refers to the metabolic response that is caused through the digestion of food. In laymen terms, it means that you burn calories through the process of digestion (the most calories are burned with protein, rather than carbohydrates or fats)
In addition to having a higher thermic effect, protein also makes us feel the most satiated because it takes the longest for our body to break down.
I recommend consuming 1-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight.
For example, I weight 165 pounds, so I would consume 165-198 grams of protein per day.
Drink More Water
Water is an extremely powerful and under-utilized tool for weight loss.
Not only is it involved in nearly every metabolic process in our body, but studies show water intake can have a significant impact on weight loss.
Live in a Colder Environment
I’m not telling you to pack your things and move to a colder state. However, studies show that colder temperatures can convert white fat (bad fat) to brown fat (good fat that helps burn more calories).
This conversion of white fat to brown fat is the body’s defense mechanism to try and maintain a normal temperature (since brown fat creates heat in the body).
For practical use, perhaps you can lower your temperature at home, or try working out in colder temperatures.
If you live in a state that is already cold, then you don’t need to worry about this so much.
Again, I don’t want you to freeze yourself or revolve your life around living in colder temperatures, so please take this tip with a grain of salt.
Supplement with CLA
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is a natural fatty acid derived from the safflower plant. It’s unique effect on our molecular signaling receptor family, known as PPAR, has been shown to aid in abdominal fat loss and the preservation of lean muscle tissue. 
Although we consume CLA regularly through foods like meat, nuts, and yogurt, we do not get enough of it daily to make a real difference when it comes to weight loss, which is exactly why you must get CLA in supplemental form to get the proper dosage.
Based on clinical studies, the proper dose of CLA is 3,000mg.
If you’re interested in taking advantage of this natural weight loss ingredient, I encourage you to check out the UNALTERED CLA: https://www.unalteredathletics.com/shop/cla/
Avoid heavily processed foods like canned and frozen foods. Try to eat as many whole foods as possible.
Simple carbohydrates spike our body’s insulin levels. Prolonged, elevated insulin levels can cause insulin resistance, causing excessive weight gain.
Soft drinks are often loaded with sugar, and artificial ingredients that can negatively impact our hormones and cause weight gain.
Try to move as much as possible in order to maximize calorie-burning. For example, instead of taking the elevator, try using the stairs whenever possible.
Or, if you have a job that requires you to be seated for several hours at a time, make it a point to get up and walk around to get some steps in. Better yet, incorporate some sort of resistance training and/or cardio at least 3 times per week.
Portion control is key when it comes to weight loss. If you are eating more calories than what you are burning every day, you will gain weight.
I recommend having your plate split into 1/3rd’s: 1/3 lean protein, 1/3 complex carbs (i.e. sweet potatoe, white rice), and 1/3 veggies (any veggie will do).
According to the following study, Plaster body wrap: effects on abdominal fat, using a plaster body wrap (see study for exact ingredients contained within body wrap) in combination with aerobic exercise is effective for reducing abdominal fat, more so than aerobic exercise without the wrap.
I’m personally not a fan of any “quick-fix”-type of solutions (as I know it takes hard work to transform one’s physique), but if the science shows that this could help you reduce belly fat, then I’m open to referring it to you as a potential tool to compliment your exercise program.
There is no such thing as targeting fat in specific areas (like the lower belly). Instead, you must focus on overall fat loss throughout the entire body. The fastest and best way to do this is to incorporate resistance training and high-intensity interval training into your exercise regimen.
In addition, you should reduce your calorie intake. I recommend specifically reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing your protein intake, sticking to complex carbs and lean sources of protein.
Carbohydrates spike the body’s insulin levels the highest among any other macro-nutrient (i.e. protein/fat). Insulin is the hormone that helps our cells absorb glucose (blood sugar); when too much glucose is stuffed in our body’s cells, we begin to convert glucose into triglycerides (AKA Fat).
Lastly, only drink water (at least 64 ounces, or 8 full glasses, per day); stay away from all soft drinks.
For those who already have definition in their abs, and want to specifically develop their lower abdominals, incorporate 3 sets (15-20 reps) of leg raises in your exercise routines at least 3 days/week (while following the above tips as well).
The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21804427
Resistance exercise program effects on abdominal function and physique. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2528028