This is probably the one question that females all around the whole world seek an answer for. What exercises will cut through that stubborn layer of belly fat?
Then there’s the distinct possibility that you are genetically prone to carry more fat on the belly, than on the hips, like the rest of the fairer sex.
Regardless of whether its genetics or hormones, how do you peel off those layers?
Unfortunately, there’s no one-size fits all in fitness. If you come across a coach or a guru who offers a cookie cutter solution for cutting belly fat, skedaddle.
Fat loss is a physiological process that involves so many variables, most of which are personal and unique to you.
How old are you? What’s your current body composition? What’s your lifestyle? What is your activity level?
What’s your VO2 Max? What does your diet look like? Do you know your TDEE?
We can go on and on, about more parameters that will determine your ability to cut belly fat.
But I assume that you are not here to know about hormones, enzymes & oxygen outputs.
You are more interested in knowing which exercises offer the most bang for your buck, when you are trying to lose fat at home.
Let’s dive in.
Can Belly Fat Be Reduced at Home?
First things first, is it even worth trying to lose belly fat at home?
If fitness club adverts are to be believed, you can do little to lose belly fat at home. You need a beefy elliptical machine or a smart treadmill remotely controlled by a fitness instructor from his studio.
That’s a load of bull. Of course you can lose belly fat at home. Regardless of whether you do it in a dingy basement or a swanky gym, the fat loss process remains the same.
Calories in vs. Calories out
That’s all there is to know while trying to lose fat. The exercises that we are going to discuss will help you with the ‘calories out’ part of that equation.
Your diet, will determine the ‘calories in’. We will touch on that too.
If you fix both, you will successfully lose fat from any part of the body, including the belly, regardless of how stubborn it appears to be.
Best Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat for Females at Home
Let’s get down to the crux of the matter. What are our recommendations for the top exercises for females to lose belly fat at home?
Before we get to exercises, it’s time for some myth busting.
- Myth 1 – Crunches will burn belly fat. No they won’t. You can do 1000 crunches a day and you probably won’t notice any difference in your belly fat levels until you burn more calories than you consume.
- Myth 2 – Fancy/As-seen-on-TV machines will bust belly fat. No they won’t. They will make you poorer and wiser.
- Myth 3–There’s some secret sauce for burning belly fat that you are not aware of. No, there isn’t.
Belly fat will happen when you rev up your metabolism enough to force your body to use fat for fuel, instead of glucose/carbs. There’s no better choice for this than High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT
How Does HIIT Help Burn Belly Fat?
HIIT is one of the most researched types of training methods that increases the amount of oxygen your body needs to return to its basal, resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC).
In other words, this is an increase in your metabolism, which will force your body to burn more calories.
So, all the exercises that we recommend for burning belly fat, are in fact HIIT exercises. They involve performing the exercise at max intensity for short bursts of time, followed by short rest intervals when your heart rate will reduce slightly.
Then you repeat the process again until you complete the exercise, which can be anywhere from 10-30 minutes. Let’s get started.
#1 – Burpees
Burpees are the bee's knees for fat loss. The Holy Grail, the be-all, end-all. Okay, we are sure you get the gist. Burpees are a form of HIIT exercise that combines strength training and functional fitness burning tons of calories and recruiting a whole bunch of muscles.
Now you know why they are the most widely performed exercise by the Special Forces and elite athletes. But the exercise is so simple, that anyone can learn and do it at home to torch some belly fat.
Muscles Worked with Burpees
A burpee is a combination of a jump, a squat, a plank and a push-up. So it will recruit all the muscles that these four exercises involve. The list is huge.
The Muscles of The Jump
When you jump off the floor, you will power the move through a ‘Plantar Flexion’, which occurs at the ankle and recruits the gastrocnemius and soleus of the calves. The quads kick-in as you extend the knee, the glutes and hamstrings fire when you extend your hips, and finally, the erector spinae is engaged as you extend the spinal column.
The Muscles of The Squat
Next up is the squat which will recruit the gluteus maximus, the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the adductor muscles in the groin, the hip flexor muscles and finally, the calves.
The Muscles of The Plank
As you jump backwards from the squat to the plank, you will engage the rectus abdominis and your oblique muscles to stretch the spine. The Glutes and the hamstrings will engage as you flex the hips and the knees.
The Muscles of The Push up
Some people choose to skip the pushup during a burpee and go from plank to squat to jump and back to plank. But if you are doing the pushup (which you should), you will engage the pectoralis major, the triceps, the deltoids, the oblique, the rectus abdominis & the erector spinae.
Instructions on How to Do Burpees
- Stand straight and do a bodyweight squat with your arms extended in front of you
- At the deepest position of the squat, push your legs back, and get into the plank position
- Do a push up, jump your feet back to your palm and get in to the lowest position of the squat again.
- Stand up straight again and do a jump extending your arms straight above your head
- That’s one rep. Repeat for 15-20 reps.
To ensure that you engage the right muscles, and you don’t end up murdering your spine, brace your abdominal muscles and keep them engaged throughout the move. Your lower back must never sulk or bend inwards.
Focus on speed. Do as many as you can without passing out, with the maximum intensity.
If this is the first time you are trying burpees, you might not be able to crank out more than 15-reps at one time, at high intensity. But try and increase this slowly, as your cardiovascular strength improves.
#2 –Standing Mountain Climbers
Mountain Climbers are a floor exercise. Think of them like an active version of a plank, where you hold an upper plank position and try to touch your wrists with your knees. But we are on a mission to find calorie scorchers, dear ladies.
So we recommend the standing mountain climber instead. The standing mountain climber is a combo move again that combines ‘High Knees’ with arm raises. Picture yourself trying to climb up an imaginary vertical rock face in your home.
Muscles worked with Standing Mountain Climbers
Just like burpees, standing mountain climbers are a compound move that will engage multiple muscles in your lower body, core and upper body.
Muscles of Your Legs
As you raise your knees repeatedly, it will engage both, the quadriceps and the glutes. The hamstrings will also assist with the knee extension. But the bulk of the work will be done by the quads and glutes. Lastly, the calf muscles will play the role of shock absorbers.
Muscles of The Core
The transverse abdominis and the oblique will ensure that your back stays stable throughout the exercise and your lower back is spared from some of the impact of this high-intensity move. Other exercises that work your core include cable crunches and double crunches.
Upper Body Muscles
Lastly, as you raise your arms and pump them, you will also engage the biceps, the triceps and deltoids, as well as multiple stabilizer muscles which will help you maintain balance and stability.
Instructions on How to Do Standing Mountain Climbers
- Stand straight. Arms by your sides and feet about shoulder-width
- Raise your right knee maintaining a straight back, and raise your left arm straight above the head, at the same time.
- Bring your knee down and repeat with the other knee & arm.
- Alternate both sides and increase the speed and intensity, doing as many as you can
- Continue for 30-60 seconds
Maintain a neutral spine throughout the exercise. After you finish the first two sets of 30-seconds, you will find it tough to maintain form and speed.
This is generally when your shoulders hunch and your back bends. Try to reduce the speed and focus instead on maintaining form.
Focus on steady breathing.
Standing mountain climbers are deceptive. They seem to be easier than they are and hence it’s not uncommon for people to bite off more than they can chew. We recommend that you start with 3-sets of 30-seconds each at max intensity.
Once you can do this without a dip in form, increase the duration to 40-seconds and then 50, and eventually a minute. Do 5-sets of a minute each and you will weep.
An easier alternative to this exercise, that works most of the same muscles areas, is the standing oblique crunches.
#3 –Jumping Jacks
The Good old jumping jack is terribly underrated for what it brings to the table. There’s a misconception that this is more of a warmup exercise than an actual cardiovascular one. That’s not true.
The Jumping Jack is a terrific cardiovascular exercise and a must-add to your routine, if you are looking for quick and effective ways to burn belly fat at home.
Muscles Worked with The Jumping Jack
The Jumping Jack is an explosive move that engages most muscles of the lower body, the core and the upper body.
Just like the jump-off in a burpee, the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles of the calves play an important role during the first phase of the jumping jack. As you spread the legs and then land on the floor again, your hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings work in synergy to stabilize your body.
You have to maintain a stable core throughout the exercise as you jump up with high intensity. The rectus and transversus abdominis, the muscles of your lower back and your hip flexors, are the primary muscles that the Jack recruits.
Shoulders & Back
The final part is when you flap your arms, which will not only engage the biceps and the triceps, but also the shoulder adductor muscles.
Instructions on How to Do the Jumping Jack
- Stand straight, arms by your side with a neutral spine and feet about shoulder-wide.
- Power the jump from the ankle, using the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles
- Ensure that you land on your toes to prevent an injury.
- As you jump, move both hands upwards as if you were trying to clap overhead. You can choose to clap or just raise the arms till they are level with your ears.
- Land on the toes and that’s one rep for you.
The jumping jack is all about coordination, balance and synergy. Multiple muscle groups, stabilizes, adductors, everything has to work together.
If you feel that your coordination is off, or you are off balance, pause and reset. Do not bend your knees when you land, although that’s a common piece of wisdom shared on the internet. Similarly, do not bend your elbows.
Your arms must be straight throughout the move.
The jumping jacks are one of the safest and most effective cardio exercises. So, you can do as many as it takes to get your heart rate up.
I did the 100 jumping jacks per day challenge for a month and it was one of the most fun and doable workout challenges I ever did, so 50~100 reps should be no problem.
Diet Plan to Follow to Reduce the Amount of Belly Fat You Have
We gave you three amazing options that will help you deal with the calories out. Now let’s shine some light on how to deal with calories in.
Believe it or not, it’s not half as complex as it appears to be. We are going to use a simple, three-step process that will help you create a deficit of around 250-500 calories.
Step 1 – Know Your Calorie Intake and Your TDEE
To cut calories, you must know how much you consume. So start off by tracking everything that you consume on a daily basis for a week. This is probably the toughest phase of the weight loss process, but one that will yield great results.
Tracking is important because many a time, we unknowingly consume more calories than we should. Also, we discount the amount of calories that mid-meal snacks and innocuous-looking foods contain.
Remember, it doesn’t need to be 100% accurate. Estimates will do fine. Once you have a log of the amount of calories you are consuming, let’s calculate your TDEE, or Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
This is again an estimate of the amount of calories you burn currently.
Once you complete this, you have two important numbers. Calories In & Calories Out. All you need to do is ensure that one is lesser than the other.
Step 2 – Cut Portion Sizes
Making huge changes to your eating habits can be overwhelming for anybody. Besides, it’s never sustainable in the long run. So, it’s vital that you make small changes, giving your body sufficient time to adapt to those changes before graduating to bigger ones.
For instance, try to reduce the portion-sizes of what you consume already. We can work on the macros later. Let’s use the calorie approach to begin with.
The idea should be to create a calorie deficit of 250-500 per day. Once your body is used to the smaller portion sizes, try to value the calories you consume. 1 gram of table sugar for instance is 3.87 calories. 1 gram of protein is 4 calories.
Pick the nutritionally superior one. You don’t have to cut out entirely on sugar, mind you. Just pick a better choice when you can.
Step 3 – Use the 80-20 Rule
The 80-20 rule is one of the simplest concepts in nutritional science. You eat clean 80% of the time, so that you can indulge the rest of the 20%. You don’t feel deprived, and hence are less likely to quit the diet midway.
Rather than using a diet as a short term way to achieve your target weight, try to make it a lifestyle instead and you will find it much easier to lose weight.
What Has Worked from Me – This Is What Helped Me Rid of My Belly Fatness
In all the years that I have been exercising, it’s simple rules that have worked for me. I try to create a calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise.
Leaning excessively on either of these generally results in burnout. You hop on fad diets and get frustrated at the lack of mood and energy.
You hop on severe exercise programs and quit due to CNS fatigue, or an injury. That’s why, it’s important to use a blend of both, which makes it easier for your body to adapt to.
Tips for Females to Reduce Belly Fat as Quickly as Possible
Here are some tips that will help expedite your results to some extent, and make your fat loss journey easier.
Know Your Limitations and Work Around Them
The biggest reason why weight loss journeys fail midway, is because we overestimate ourselves and underestimate the many parameters that are involved in successful completion of the journey, physical ability, endurance, stamina, etc.
Midway through the program, you might discover that your energy levels drop when you cut calories. This results in a dip in intensity in exercise, as well as in your performance in everyday activities. Some women find out that cutting out on certain foods affect their mood.
Maybe they cannot do high-impact exercises.
Find out what your limitations are and try to work around them, so that they are not a hurdle anymore.
Listen to Your Body
Each one of us wants to lose that ungainly layer of fat as soon as possible. But there’s always a risk of overworking your muscles which might cause an injury, putting you out of action for a much longer time span. You don't need to exercise 7 days a week!
If your body shows telltale signs of overworking, it’s generally a good idea to pause for a while and allow it to heal and repair. Taking a few days off will not cause you to regain the lost weight. It’s a slow process.
Focus on Eating Wholesome Meals
Weight loss does not mean that you stop eating real food and start to eat everything out of packets. Your focus should be to consume wholesome, healthy meals that nourish your mind and body.
Don’t get hung up over tiny increments in calories, or a difference in the recommended macros. Focus instead on the big picture. As long as you are consistent, the results will show.
FAQ about Exercises to Reduce Belly Fat for Female at Home
Here are the most commonly asked questions that most ladies have when trying to shed of that annoying unattractive fat around and on their stomachs
Q. Which Exercise Is Best to Reduce Fat?
A. Any one of the three exercises that we recommended above are excellent choices for reducing fat. The fat loss will not be localized though. You will lose fat from everywhere. The place that you lose from first or last will depend on how your body distributes and holds fat.
Q. What Exercise Burns the Most Belly Fat at Home?
A. Try out all three of these exercises in a sequence with no breaks in between. Then take a small break and repeat all three again. Keep doing this for 20-30 minutes and you have a monster HIIT workout program that will torch belly fat in no time.
Q. How Can I Lose My Belly Fat at Home with Exercise?
A. One word? Consistency! Keep showing up and doing the exercises day after day. There will be days when you feel miserable and don’t want to. Just remind yourself why you started this journey and haul your ass into the zone. Just don’t stop till you get the results you envisioned.
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