Easiest Way to Lose Belly Fat at Home

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Easiest Way to Lose Belly Fat at Homethumbnail
Exercise equipment (Photo: John Panella/Hemera/Getty Images)

The easiest way to lose belly fat at home is to start an exercise routine that incorporates sustained cardiovascular activity. You can choose to outfit your exercise space with many of the sophisticated machines found at a traditional gym, but this isn't always necessary. Losing belly fat at home can be accomplished with a nominal financial investment. All that's required is your time and commitment.

The Belly Fat Myth

Woman using rowing machine (Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Contrary to everything you may have heard anecdotally or vis-a-vis informercials that hawk belly-fat-burning exercise gadgets, fat of any kind cannot be spot-trained away through crunches or sit-ups. Nor is there a magic exercise that targets only belly fat. The pattern in which your body loses fat depends on your genetic makeup, age and hormones. The first area of the body to put on fat in both men and women is the belly, and it's typically the very last place you'll notice a reduction, even if you exercise diligently.

Fat can only be burned in one way: through sustained cardiovascular (aerobic) exercise that keeps your heat beating within 70 to 85 percent of its maximum for a sustained amount of time. Cardiovascular activities use the large muscle groups--examples include power walking, jogging, running, rowing and cycling. Because target heart rate is calculated based on age, you'll need to know your range before you begin your exercise program.

The Mayo Clinic recommends adults put in 300 minutes of medium-intensity cardio activity per week, or 150 minutes of high-intensity exercise. According to Fitness Magazine, beginners should commit to cardiovascular activity every day to establish good exercise habits. So now that you know how belly fat is lost, take inventory of your home environment and see what's at your disposal.

DIY Belly Fat Burning

Woman wearing walking shoes (Photo: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Before you get started, you'll need to make two required purchases: a good pair of walking or running shoes and a heart monitor, which is sold at most sporting goods stores. A heart monitor comes in two pieces: one part of the device is secured around your chest, and the second part of the device is a wrist piece that gives you a digital read-out of your heart rate.

While it might seem implausible that you'll lose belly fat by taking a walk around your neighborhood or in an area park, this is a definite can-do. You don't have to launch into a full run; a brisk walk will do, as long as your heart rate stays within its target. Alternately, dust the cobwebs off your old bicycle, get it in good working condition, and take long bike rides.

Make sure to plan for inclement weather. Now's the time to use that treadmill that's been gathering dust in the garage. Alternately, you can purchase exercise DVDs that allow you to put in cardio time by way of a "virtual" fitness instructor. Before purchasing a new DVD, ascertain if it entails high impact or low impact exercise. High impact exercise DVDs are more strenuous and involve running in place, doing jumping jacks, and other physical activities that put the full "impact" of your weight on your feet. Low impact routines keep your feet on the ground most of the time, and will most likely involve leg lifts, knee raises and kicks. Keep several different exercise DVDs on hand so you won't get bored with the same old routine.

How do you know when you're burning belly fat? Consult your heart monitor throughout the course of your cardiovascular activity regularly to make sure that you're within your target heart rate range.

Toning Tips

Woman doing cross armed crunches with trainer (Photo: Andersen Ross/Blend Images/Getty Images)

So if crunches, sit-ups and other abdominal exercises don't burn belly fat, what do they accomplish? They tone your "core" muscles, adding a pleasant visual aesthetic to a fat-free belly. After you've made a habit of getting daily cardiovascular exercise, you might find that you have no need to do abdominal work. But if you want to pull out all the stops and go for a rippled "six-pack abs" effect, WomenFitness.net suggests incorporating 20 to 30 minutes of abdominal work three to four times weekly. Crunches are a good place to start, but don't forget cross-arm crunches (to tone oblique muscles) and other forms of ab work, such as the plank exercise, pike and "bicycle." If you want more ideas for abdominal exercises, see the link below. Additionally, many exercise DVDs incorporate tummy toning as part of their routine--another thing to consider when stocking your library.

Remember, losing belly fat doesn't just entail exercise. You must modify your eating habits to make sure that you're not consuming more calories daily than you burn. Eschew crash diets and "superfood" diets that claim a certain food or food group has the magical property to help you lose weight more quickly than other foods. These can result in boredom that makes them impossible to sustain, as well as malnutrition. A healthy diet includes daily servings from all of the food groups.

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