2021 Wellness: Workouts to Lose Belly Fat at Home
As you greet the new year with open arms, you may be experiencing the same unique combination of lifestyle changes as many people around you:
- We’re coming down from the holiday high, filled with sweets, treats, and feasts.
- Our day-to-day lives are more sedentary than they were at this time last year.
- Many gyms and workout classes are closed or operating at limited capacity.
The result of those three compounding factors? For many, it’s the desire to burn off that extra belly fat from the comfort of their living room.
For a toned tummy, athlete-level abs, and an overall babe-like body, these workouts to lose belly fat at home can help you get up, get fit, and get after your goals—no matter where you are in your fitness journey.
The Misconceptions Around Losing Belly Fat
When you take a glance at yourself in the mirror and see a little extra fat around your waist and abdomen, you might immediately jump into a regime of abdominal exercises, like crunches, sit-ups, plank, and so on. While these ab exercises will help tone and strengthen your muscles, they’re not as successful at burning belly fat as you might think.
Burning stomach fat, specifically, requires burning body fat, more generally.1
The best at home workouts to lose weight in the tummy involve full-body, high-intensity exercises, rather than focusing exclusively on the abdomen itself.
Remember: you don’t have to obsess over rock-hard abs or an ultra-slim waist to care about reducing belly fat. Excess abdominal fat can be a risk-factor for several health conditions,2 and it’s certainly not vain to work towards building a better, stronger, healthier you.
High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise (HIIE)
According to this workout philosophy—and some pretty compelling clinical studies—the best way to burn subcutaneous fat (the jiggly parts just under the skin), including abdominal body fat, is through short bursts of explosive exercise with brief rest periods in-between.3 HIIT, high-intensity interval training, is a popular form of HIIE that embodies the belief, all or nothing.
HIIT is one of the most efficient ways to squeeze in an effective, fat-burning workout. It’s perfect for at-home sessions because you can tailor it according to your goals and personal fitness level, using the equipment you already own. For easy at-home belly fat burning exercises, all you need is about four to six square-feet of space and the determination to push yourself.
Start including these individual exercises in your belly fat-busting sequence:
- Burpees – This explosive exercise leaves no stone unturned—and by that, we mean no muscle group unaffected. By going from a vertical jump (all legs) into a push-up position (arms and core) back into a jump, you’ll be working your entire body. The fast-paced repetition accounts for the cardiovascular, calorie-burning benefit.
- Mountain climbers – These combine the abdominal strengthening of a plank with the fat-burning movement of cardio. Think of the plank position as home base. Bring one knee up to your chest, then the other, switching back and forth at high-speed like you’re running horizontally—all while maintaining near-perfect stillness in your upper body and core to really put those ab muscles to work.
For a bonus belly burn, try touching your knee to the opposite shoulder rather than moving in a strictly planar motion.
- Sprints – A 30-second all-out sprint might be the definition of high-intensity exercise. You can do sprints on a treadmill or simply run in place with high-knees and fast feet. Jump rope is a fun at-home substitute that is guaranteed to raise your heart rate, too.
- Jumping lunges – Lunges are a decent fat-burning exercise in their own right, but the elevated heart rate and cardio component of jumping lunges kick them up a notch. Starting in a lunge position, jump up and switch legs mid-air to land in a lunge with the other leg forward. Be careful to maintain proper form throughout so you don’t tweak your ankles or knees as you land.
- Squat jumps – Squat jumps are much like jumping lunges, except that you land in the same squat position each time. Try to jump in an upright, vertical position rather than leaving your body pitched forward from the squat.
- Squat jacks – These are a hybrid between squats and jumping jacks. Jump your legs out into a wide squat, touching the outside of your ankles, then back in as your arms clap above your head.
- Kettlebell swings – If you have the necessary equipment, these are a phenomenal addition for burning calories and strengthening your core, glutes, and arms. Squat with the kettlebell between your legs then straighten your legs as you thrust your hips and the kettlebell forward at arm’s length, before swinging back down to repeat. You’ll automatically engage your abdominal muscles to counteract the forward momentum of the weight, creating an ab-centric but full-body burn.
When learning how to workout at home, pick four or five exercises—or mix it up with your own personal favorites—and do each one for 20 or 30 seconds with a 10-second break in-between. Rotate through the entire circuit between three and five times. Don’t forget to warm up beforehand with some light aerobic exercise and stretching, especially when you’re jumping into such an intense HIIT workout.
Moderate to High-Intensity Strength Training
When striving towards healthy weight loss and a healthier you, not everything has to be an all-out race to the finish line. In fact, some of the most productive workouts are slow, sustained strengthening exercises—marathons, not sprints.
But if you’re looking to lose stomach fat, one thing remains consistent, whether you’re lifting weights or doing a fast-paced HIIT workout: intensity matters.
When it comes to strength training, that means heavier weights with reduced rest intervals. If you have a set of handheld weights at home (or even if you don’t), you can make the most of these calorie-burning, fat-torching weight training workouts:
- Push-ups (and their variations) – Depending on your experience level, you can do push-ups 1) with your hands shoulder-width apart and elbows tucked into your sides, 2) with your hands wide and fingers pointed outwards, or 3) with your thumbs and forefingers in a diamond position and your elbows close to your sides.
- Squat overhead press – This exercise has a serious cardiovascular component because of the full-body effort it takes to go from a squat with your weights at your shoulders to an upright standing position with your weights pressed straight overhead.
- Bent-over row – Lean forward at the hips, with your back straight, abdominal muscles engaged, and arms hanging towards the ground. Pull back at the elbows to lift the weights to your side—this is called “rowing.” You can also progress to a reverse-grip bent-over row, with your palms flipped to face forward and your elbows tucked in close to your sides as you row.
- Renegade row – This creative plank-row hybrid is a serious whole-body workout. Start in a plank position with a dumbbell in each hand. Row one arm at a time, once again pulling back at the elbow, while holding your core to maintain complete stillness throughout the rest of the body. You can alternate left and right each time or challenge yourself to do ten reps on one side then ten on the other.
Though somewhat counterintuitive, strength training is a smart weight loss practice because muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest.4 That means weight training is a two-pronged attack on tummy fat cells: during the exercise itself, then long-after you’ve put the dumbbells down.
The best weight training exercises for reducing belly fat specifically target abdominal strengthening, like the renegade row. If you can incorporate core stabilization into your weight lifting routine, you’ll likely notice even more pronounced effects—who doesn’t want to sculpt and strengthen as they slim?
Creating Your New Workout Routine
As you can see, the best way to lose belly fat goes far beyond crunches and sit-ups. The ideal workout combines intense cardiovascular exercise and endurance-focused weight training.
One study found that the most effective way to lose visceral belly fat (stored in the abdominal cavity, near several major organs) is through a combination of high-intensity strength training and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. The next best thing, they claim, is the reverse: moderate-intensity strengthening and high-intensity cardio.5
Either way, variety is the spice of life—and exercise. Whether you are crafting a plan that consists of at home workouts for beginners or athletes, combine fast-paced high-intensity exercises with high-endurance weight lifting, as well as steady cardiovascular workouts like running on the treadmill, cycling on a stationary bike, or doing lengths on a rowing machine.
Bio-K+®: Creating The Healthiest Version of Yourself
Regular exercise and healthy diet aren’t the only lifestyle changes that influence weight loss; gut microbiota is also thought to play a part in managing one’s weight6 and might make a difference in your journey towards a slimmer waist and your healthiest self.
Bio-K+’s delayed-release capsules and drinkable products are two easy ways to incorporate health-promoting probiotics into your daily routine. Probiotics support healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract to maintain an internal balance (and not just during those tricky stabilizing exercises). With clinically supported benefits and effectiveness on digestive health and a unique formula, Bio-K+ is the perfect companion on your fat-torching journey.
Our convenient on-the-go probiotics can help support a healthy gut, one that is less prone to bloating. Cheers to good gut health, to powering through your next intense HIIT circuit or weight lifting routine, and to prioritizing your health in more ways than one.
- Stewart, K. (n.d.). 8 Ways to Lose Belly Fat and Live a Healthier Life. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/8-ways-to-lose-belly-fat-and-live-a-healthier-life
- Zhang, C., Rexrode, K. M., van Dam, R. M., Li, T. Y., & Hu, F. B. (2008). Abdominal obesity and the risk of all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: sixteen years of follow-up in US women. Circulation, 117(13), 1658–1667. https://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.107.739714
- Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 1-10. doi:10.1155/2011/868305
- Mayo Clinic. (2020, November 10). Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508
- Dutheil, F., Lac, G., Lesourd, B., Chapier, R., Walther, G., Vinet, A., Sapin, V., Verney, J., Ouchchane, L., Duclos, M., Obert, P., & Courteix, D. (2013). Different modalities of exercise to reduce visceral fat mass and cardiovascular risk in metabolic syndrome: the RESOLVE randomized trial. International journal of cardiology, 168(4), 3634–3642. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2013.05.012
- Bermon, S., Petriz, B., Kajėnienė, A., Prestes, J., Castell, L., & Franco, O. L. (2015). The microbiota: an exercise immunology perspective. Exercise immunology review, 21, 70–79.