How to Lose Belly Fat for Men
If you’re looking for a simple but effective formula on ‘how to lose belly fat for men’, you’ve come to the right place. If anyone’s qualified to help men lose belly fat, I am.
“Why’s that”, you ask?
Because I’m a former fat man who’d felt his fat belly had become a permanent fixture. It seemed it would never go away.
As it turned out, that was a false and limiting belief.
Moreover, losing belly fat for men is not difficult if gone about in the right way.
Read on to find out my take on the subject of how to lose belly fat for men.
How You can Get Motivated to Lose Belly Fat
There’s no sense in a man pursuing a formula for losing belly fat if he’s not sufficiently motivated to follow through to success.
Am I stating the obvious?
Maybe, but many of us start down a path of self improvement only to give up along the way, far short of victory.
Oftentimes the reason is that we didn’t build enough motivation at the beginning. When we set our goal, we didn’t get that “fire in the belly” kind of motivation (stupid pun).
So how do we ensure enough motivation for losing belly fat?
It’s simple because high motivation is always a direct effect of creating enough compelling reasons to accomplish something.
Reasons are what fuel motivation. If you have enough exciting and compelling reasons to lose your belly fat, you’ll be driven to make it happen.
And reasons don’t always need to be positive. In fact, some of the best reasons that fuel motivation involve avoiding possible future pain we’ll experience if we don’t accomplish the goal.
Positive reasons for achieving a goal create moving toward motivation.
Negative reasons for achieving a goal – stated in a manner of ‘things to avoid’ – create moving away-from motivation.
If you get good at combining moving toward and moving away-from motivation, it can be like the perfect fuel mixture in a Formula-one racing car. You become unstoppable when setting out after a goal.
So in the context of how to lose belly fat for men, let’s start with an example list of positive (moving toward) reasons to lose belly fat…
- Gain more energy to enjoy loved ones and achieve other goals in life.
- Feel a sense of pride in displaying a more athletic body (gain a positive body image).
- Appear more attractive to your spouse, significant other, or someone to whom you’d like to appeal.
- Enjoy eating “fattening” foods in a guilt-free manner because you no longer allow their consumption to have a negative impact on your body.
- Regain a body resembling that of your youth, along with the increased vibrancy and vitality that comes with that.
Now let’s look at a possible list of negative (moving away-from) reasons to lose belly fat…
- Avoid the increased risk of coronary heart disease that belly fat creates.
- Avoid the increased risk of developing specific cancers that belly fat creates.
- Avoid the increased risk of developing Type-2 diabetes that belly fat creates.
- Avoid the increased chances of Alzheimer’s and dementia to which belly fat contributes.
- Avoid the steep decline in testosterone and increased risk of impotence that’s likely to occur from belly fat.
You can add your own personal reasons to this list.
In fact, the longer you make your list of reasons to shed belly fat, the more motivation you’ll have.
You can make your list of positive reasons longer by thinking ‘systemically’; using cause-and-effect scenarios to add more reasons. For example…
“… If I gain more energy to enjoy loved ones and achieve other goals in life, I’ll improve my relationship with my family and put in the extra work to get that job promotion, which will result in a better financial life.”
You get the idea. Reasons are what build motivation and one positive outcome can lead to other positive outcomes, which provides more reasons.
You can use this with your moving away-from motivation as well…
“… If I don’t lose my belly fat, I could end up an impotent old man with health problems that require a boatload of medications with side-effects that could lead to even more health problems.”
The greater number of compelling reasons you can come up with for getting rid of all that belly fat once and for all, the better your chance of success.
How to Lose Belly Fat for Men with a Two-Pronged Approach
If you’ve encountered other articles on how to lose belly fat for men, you’ve probably noticed most experts recommend losing belly fat through dietary changes.
“You can’t out-exercise bad eating habits”, goes the catchy phrase.
“… An hour of aerobic exercise might burn off 500 calories, but a Double Whopper with Cheese and a large serving of fries will add back those 500 burned calories and then some.”
While this might be true, it also avoids a harsh reality. Losing belly fat solely through strict dieting is a tough road to hoe…
Steep cuts in calories lead to hunger pangs and fatigue. It also requires a lot of meal planning and constant will power.
Losing fat from the body (and thus, the belly) entirely by cutting calorie intake is an act of self-inflicted mini-starvation.
… Not for the faint-of-heart.
But I’m not recommending you shed belly fat entirely through exercise either.
Instead, the best way to go about it is through a two-pronged approach using some combination of improved eating habits and increased activity.
This involves consuming a few hundred fewer calories each day while also exercising to burn off a few hundred calories each day.
In order to lose belly fat, we need to be in a daily calorie deficit. We need to consume fewer calories than we use…
… Or use more calories than we consume.
Either way, we need to reach a point each day in which our bodies dig into their stored fat to provide us the energy we need to get through the day.
We need our bodies to dig into their belly fat stores to meet energy expenditure requirements.
If we attempt to do that strictly through dietary calorie cutting, we’ll end up too hungry and likely to back-slide out of our diet.
If we attempt to do it strictly through exercise, we risk simply working up a greater appetite from performing workouts. By satiating that bigger appetite, we just end up replacing the calories we burned during exercise.
But with a balanced two-pronged approach, we don’t rely too much on either calorie cutting or calorie burning. This increases our odds of success.
Think about it. If someone told you to eliminate 600 calories from your body each day, would you rather deprive yourself of 600 calories going in?
… Or would you rather slice 300 measly calories from your eating and burn 300 more with some increased movement?
Keep in mind, if you’re the sedentary type, increased exercise can be as easy as taking a brisk walk around your neighborhood each day.
No, You Can’t “Spot-Reduce” Belly Fat, But…
… Adding abdominal work to your belly fat removal efforts is a great motivator.
We hear it ad nauseam… “You can’t lose fat from a specific area on your body by working the muscles of that area. Fat comes off the body evenly…”
But most guys have probably gotten the memo on this already; it’s not news to them.
And constantly repeating it might miss a point – that some guys with big bellies are doing crunches so they’ll have visible abdominals AFTER they lose the belly fat.
That can be a great motivator as well. If you add abdominal exercises to your calorie-burning efforts, you can look forward to a six-pack (or at least a four-pack) showing once the fat is off.
Plus, if abdominal exercises are done with enough effort and high repetitions, they can burn a lot of calories.
How to Lose Belly Fat for Men with Small Eating Habit Changes
The best way for men to lose belly fat is with small changes in eating habits.
These small changes can result in reduced calorie intake without having to go on a drastic diet.
The following is a list of 7 easy changes you can make to your eating habits – changes that can reduce your calorie intake and start shedding belly fat without needing to count calories…
- Have a serving of at least 30 grams of protein during every meal
- Eat at least a large portion of protein before eating carbs during every meal.
- Visibly increase your serving of vegetables at every meal.
- Visibly reduce your serving of starchy carbohydrates at every meal.
- Decrease your intake of dietary fat at every meal.
- Eliminate as much simple sugar food as possible.
- Consume alcoholic beverages only on the weekends.
Years ago I was carrying a waistline that was approaching 40 inches. I had a serious roll of excess belly fat.
One day I just resolved to lose it. And I decided it was actually going to be FUN doing it. I couldn’t wait to see the expressions on the faces of my friends and loved ones when they saw my flat waistline within a few weeks or months.
I looked forward to when they saw the new me.
To lose all that fat, I followed a simple list of changes to my eating habits like the 7 listed above.
I never counted a single calorie. I don’t have time for that kind of stuff.
Instead, I began my quest with a very symbolic meal that marked the beginning of my belly fat loss.
I ate some lunch at a buffet restaurant right down the street from where I lived. This was a buffet where I’d regularly gorged myself with multiple plates of excess calories for years.
It was an eatery that had helped me put on those rolls of belly fat that I suddenly could no longer stand.
After paying, I walked into the serving area and put two medium sized chicken breasts on my plate. I put a fist-sized portion of potatoes next to that. I piled a big serving of broccoli alongside that. I might have grabbed a small dinner roll and a little butter too.
I ate the chicken breasts slowly and thoroughly from the bones. The starchy carbs (potatoes) seemed to go down in a few bites. The big serving of broccoli went down with the help of some unsweetened iced tea, and then…
… I was out of there.
As much as my stomach felt unsatisfied, I just got up and walked out before I could be tempted to go back to the serving area. When I got back in my car, I felt like I was still hungry.
But I silently celebrated that feeling. I knew the feeling was just an illusion – a psychosomatic sensation brought on by the fat cells around my belly screaming to be fed.
I realized that each meal needed to leave me feeling like this, at least for a couple weeks until my body became accustomed to fewer calories.
My nutritional needs had been met and I knew it. The hunger I was feeling was because my stomach had been stretched too big and my body had become accustomed to higher blood sugar.
How Small Changes in Eating Habits Work for Losing Belly Fat
The cornerstone practice I adopted to lose belly fat was to make protein my ‘base food.’
Protein is filling; it provides a feeling of satiation more quickly than carbohydrates.
At the same time, it digests more slowly than carbs. It’s a great thing to have in your stomach so that you don’t feel hungry again too soon. This helps reduce overeating.
Protein is a bodybuilder’s macro nutrient. It’s THE macro to eat plentifully if you want an athletically muscular body. That’s because it spares the body of muscle tissue even if you restrict your calorie intake.
And by eating at least a hefty serving of protein before eating any carbs when you start a meal, you’ll curb your hunger more quickly which reduces the desire to overeat.
To understand this, think of the times when you’ve done the complete opposite.
Have you ever gone out to a dinner restaurant in an extremely hungry state? If the answer is “yes”, what did you find yourself doing when the wait staff brought out a serving of bread and butter?
If you’re like I am, you’ve found yourself eating from the bread plate like it was the main course.
If you’re out to dinner with a few people, sometimes the whole group ravages the bread in such a way. That starch nearly dissolves in your mouth and goes down in multiple clumps when there’s no protein in your stomach first.
… The same goes for some pre-meal glasses of beer.
This is something to avoid as a man who wants to lose belly fat. You want to avoid the tendency to eat carbohydrates – especially ‘starchy’ carbohydrates – all by themselves.
At the same time, you want to increase your intake of another type of carbohydrate. That would be vegetables, especially the green leafy types (spinach, romaine, kale, etc.).
Besides being necessary for good health, vegetables are full of essential fiber which also helps produce a feeling of fullness.
That ‘feeling of fullness’ from fiber helps reduce the tendency to overeat.
My personal food item with which to do this is broccoli (not leafy, but definitely green and full of fiber).
When we eat a lot of protein and vegetables, we tend to eat less starch and sugar. By displacing certain foods with other foods, we can shed belly fat without counting calories and triggering too much hunger.
Think of it as a displacement thing rather than a deprivation thing.
The same goes for reducing dietary fat. Although we need some fat in our diets, it’s important to know that fat delivers a whopping 9 calories in every gram.
To put this in perspective, think about that small and innocent looking slice of sausage in a Sausage McMuffin with Egg (one of my weaknesses). It has only 7 grams of protein but packs 18 grams of saturated fat.
… Just multiply that 18 grams by 9 (calories-per-gram) and you’ve got an easy 160 calories in that tiny patty of “meat.”
Another example: Each tablespoon of Thousand Island dressing added to a salad contains almost 6 grams of fat. Just three little tablespoons adds 18 grams of fat (160 calories), the same amount in that slice of sausage.
The important takeaway on dietary fat is that it only takes small amounts of food containing high ratios of fat to end up with a lot of calories consumed.
So this needs to be controlled. We don’t want to cut down on starchy carbohydrates only to end up replacing those reduced calories with too much fat intake.
How Men can Reduce Belly Fat by Realizing Sugar is Sugar… is Sugar
Tip #6 on the ‘how to lose belly fat for men’ list above is ‘Eliminate as much simple sugar food as possible.’
That’s because eating too much sugar is probably one of the greatest contributors to belly fat.
Some guys think that if they eat a certain “type” of sugar – a source of it deemed ‘natural’ or “healthy” – then they can eat it without worry of adding weight to their waistline.
This is one of the biggest mistakes contributing to belly fat becoming “stubborn”… refusing to go away.
For example, I once had a colleague who believed that it was okay for him to sweeten as much of his food with honey as he wanted. “After all”, he’d insist, “honey is natural…”
Looking back, it’s not surprising that this guy confided he could never shed his last bit of stubborn belly fat.
To realize why, we need only look at what ALL sugar (natural and processed) really is and what it does inside the body.
Simple carbohydrates (‘simple sugars’) are classified as either…
- Monosaccharide (single molecule)
- Disaccharide (combination of two monosaccharide molecules)
Monosaccharides include glucose, galactose, and fructose (fruit sugar).
Disaccharides include sucrose (table sugar), maltose (malt sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and honey.
In order for sugar to enter the bloodstream and be used by the body’s cells for energy, it must be converted to glucose. What we refer to as “blood sugar” is glucose in the blood.
Uncontrolled blood sugar would destroy our bodies if it weren’t regulated by insulin. When glucose enters the blood, insulin is released to take control of that sugar and chaperone it into the cells for energy.
When there’s more glucose than the cells need for energy, insulin transports the excess to the muscles and liver to be stored (as glycogen) and to the fat cells to be stored (as triglycerides).
Simply put, those triglycerides packed into the fat cells in our midsections stored energy.
When the body is hit with too high of glucose levels over time, it naturally results in insulin being chronically high.
… This leads to cells becoming desensitized to insulin (insulin resistance).
When this has happened, losing belly fat can only occur by reducing calories AND lowering average blood sugar levels.
This means we need to cut down on blood sugar spikes from all sources of sugar.
“But isn’t sugar from fruit natural… and therefore healthy”, ask many guys?
Fructose is the monosaccharide from fruit. While it’s true that in absorbs a bit more slowly than sucrose (table sugar) and doesn’t spike blood sugar and insulin as much, it has its own unique drawback.
The drawback is that it doesn’t trigger leptin as easily. Leptin is the hormone that provides us a feeling of fullness so we stop eating.
So although fruit does contain fiber, which helps slow down its digestion, it’s easy to overeat fruit and end up with high blood sugar and insulin spikes from eating it.
But there’s a simple rule I follow regarding fruit consumption when I’m trying to lose belly fat…
Don’t eat simple sugar without a complex carbohydrate… and don’t eat a complex carbohydrate without a protein food.
As a man wanting to lose belly fat, follow this food balancing rule and your body’s ability to deal with blood sugar will thank you for it.
… And this can help shed that belly fat without starvation tactics.
Tip #7, ‘Consume alcoholic beverages only on the weekends’, is included because alcoholic drinks are sugary foods. And although they might be fun to consume on an empty stomach, they easily contribute to belly fat when imbibed this way.
As with any other simple sugar, they’re better off consumed after some protein and low glycemic carbohydrates have been taken in.
How to Lose Belly Fat for Men using Additional Tactics
As I mentioned earlier in this article, I once had a real belly fat problem… a waistline just under the 40-inch marker.
Now I don’t have that problem at all.
But while you might assume I’m one of those guys that never indulge in “junk food”, nothing could be further from the truth.
To give you an idea of HOW far from reality that is, I’ll confess that I recently ate an entire large pizza with sausage and extra cheese… by myself.
That’s not an exaggeration.
And while I won’t claim it was a ‘healthy’ choice of food, that fat-laden starch pie also didn’t add one fraction of an inch to my midsection.
And I enjoy ‘junk food’ like this on a regular basis.
“How could that be”… you ask?
It has a lot to do with an elite condition I’ve gotten myself into over a period of time.
I mention that with no intention of impressing you.
… Only with the idea of impressing upon you that it’s possible to go from one extreme to the other… to turn one’s body from a calorie-storing machine to a calorie-burning one.
That said, here are a few additional tactics I’ve used to shed belly fat without using harsh dieting…
- Refrain from calorie intake for at least three hours prior to nighttime sleep.
- Refrain from calorie intake for at least three hours after awaking in the morning.
- Utilize high intensity interval training (HIIT) three times a week.
- Utilize an effective muscle building resistance training routine.
Refrain from calorie intake for at least three hours prior to nighttime sleep
There’s the obvious reason for doing this – extra calories get stored in our fat cells when we’re at rest.
Then there’s the not-so-obvious reason – fat-burning human growth hormone (HGH) is released when we sleep, but its release is hampered by insulin. If we go to bed with rapidly dropping blood sugar, sleep-induced HGH can possibly rise higher.
Higher average HGH over time can help reduce belly fat.
Refrain from calorie intake for at least three hours after awaking in the morning.
The fat-burning HGH released during sleep has a chance to hang around longer if we refrain from calorie-intake for a few hours in the morning. As soon as we eat and insulin is released, growth hormone and its fat-burning quality get squelched.
When we say “refrain from calorie intake”, it doesn’t mean only food. It means refraining from sugar that’s often added to caffeinated morning drinks.
Drinking sugarless coffee or tea is encouraged if you’re a morning-caffeine type of guy, as these tend to rev the metabolism and amplify this early day fat-burning window.
Utilize high intensity interval training (HIIT) three times a week
This is a type of exercise some guys need to build up to being capable of doing. And of course, that’s only with their doctor’s permission.
But a fasted-state, morning bout of slow-fast-slow type cardio training for thirty minutes on an empty stomach can burn belly fat and spike your growth hormone once again before eating.
Utilize an effective muscle building resistance training routine
The key word here is ‘effective.’ There are a lot of ways to apply resistance/weight training and many of them are waste of time.
But once you nail down an effective routine, the benefits for reducing belly fat and keeping it off are incredible.
Speaking personally, as I’ve added muscle, my ability to keep fat off my waistline has gotten increasingly easier.
This has been due to my metabolic rate speeding up as youthful muscle is added to my frame.
Just from an aesthetic standpoint, gaining muscle helps you appear less fat even when you’re not. Nothing offsets a little bit of belly fat better than flaring lats, wider deltoids, muscled-up legs, and a barreled chest.
… If your torso and legs get bigger, your waistline appears smaller. Pretty simple.
The secret in how to lose belly fat for men is using an approach that can be maintained over the long haul. If you attempt to lose the fat around your middle too quickly with stringent dieting, all I can say is… good luck.
Using a multi-pronged methodology, on the other hand, is sustainable for most guys. It begins with building motivation by eliciting enough reasons to follow through. It ends with you having turned your body from a fat-storing reservoir to a calorie-burning machine.
For more detailed information on losing belly fat – including routines outlining how to go from just starting out to elite condition – grab your copy of my body changing book.