By Leah Groth and Meghan Rabbit
When many people think of losing weight, one of the first things that comes to mind is getting a toned and taut tummy. We hate to break it to you, but doing hundreds of crunches every day isn’t the best way to lose belly fat. In fact, exercises that promote spot reduction just don’t exist.
“Spot reduction isn’t a viable approach to losing belly fat,” explains fitness trainer and nutrition expert Corey Phelps, creator of the Cultivate by Corey Fitness Program. “But there are some great core-focused exercises that will torch fat all over the body, resulting in a strong and more chiseled core.”
Celebrity trainer and nutrition expert Jillian Michaels adds that doing a variety of exercises that combine cardio, strength, and core work will ultimately help you reduce body fat. “I’m a big fan of exercises that are core-focused, but work multiple muscle groups simultaneously with a HIIT component for added calorie burn,” she says.
Please note: It’s absolutely true that you can’t outrun a less-than-nutritious diet—eating healthy, vitamin-rich foods and a balanced diet play a big role in overall fitness and helping you reach your goals (it’s best to consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to figure out what works best for you).
Here are the best exercises and workouts to lose belly fat, according to personal trainers. Need more workout inspiration? Pick up the Tone Up in 15 workout DVD, which is filled with 15-minute total-body workouts that you can do at home.
This exercise works your core, as well as your chest, shoulders, lats, triceps and quads, explains Michaels. Since burpees involve explosive plyometric movement, they’ll get your heart pumping too.
How to do burpees: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and send your hips back as you lower your body toward the ground in a low squat. Then, place your hands right outside of your feet and hop your feet back, allowing your chest to touch the floor. Push your hands against the floor to lift your body up into a plank and then jump your feet just outside of your hands. With your weight in your heels, jump explosively into the air with your arms overhead.
2 Mountain Climbers
Like burpees, Michaels is a fan of this moving plank exercise because it works your core, in addition to a slew of other body muscles.
How to do mountain climbers: Get into a high-plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Keep your core tight, drawing your belly button in toward your spine. Drive your right knee toward your chest and then bring it back to plank. Then, drive your left knee toward your chest and bring it back. Continue to alternate sides.
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