3 Things Women Must Do To Lose Stubborn Belly Fat forever

Weight Loss 12 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen

Belly fat: America’s Enemy #1.

By my rough calculations, 1 in 100 lucky people don’t have unwanted, stubborn belly fat.

For the rest of us—we want a permanent solution to getting rid of it once and for all.

This article is a long one because this isn’t a simple thing to do.

But it is possible, and I’m going to lay out all the steps for you.

1. Remodel Your Mind

First, we must remodel your beliefs about what is attainable when losing stubborn belly fat.

Let’s talk about a particular myth.

Targeted fat loss.

We all want to believe this fantasy that we can choose a specific part of our body to melt the fat off like someone making an ice sculpture.

The truth is that we cannot do that without surgical intervention.

Surgery

You might see women like Kim Kardashian with fat in all the right places: a large, well-shaped butt, a tiny waist, and big breasts. All of the check-marks for what society has deemed the ideal shape for a woman.

You don’t see Kim’s countless surgeries to attain this look.

Breast augmentations, Brazilian butt-lifts (they take fat from the places you don’t want it and put it where you do!), and liposuction are just a few. It’s okay for someone paid for their looks to spend that kind of money, time recovering from work, and time making these recurring appointments (because all of it requires maintenance).

But what about the rest of us?

People may not have thousands of dollars to pour into plastic surgery or unlimited vacation time laying in bed waiting for swelling to go down.

Targeted fat loss is a myth. But understanding this is only half of the equation of changing your mindset.

The other half is understanding your genetics.

Genetics

Here’s a little secret: each of us is special. You’re the only person on earth with your DNA sequence (yes, even identical twins’ DNA changes over their lifetime).

What does that mean for stubborn belly fat?

It means that your DNA decides your shape.

Fat is our body’s best energy storage system, like gas in a car, and your genetics determine where & in what proportions you store body fat.

AndroidandGynoidBodyFatDistribution

Body Shape

Women tend to store fat in their breasts, hips, thighs, and arms.

If you’re a woman with small breasts at low body weights, they will remain small, in proportion to the rest of your body, as you gain weight.

The picture above shows the two main body shapes most people have.

Unfortunately, the places your body puts on fat first when you gain weight are where your body will lose fat last when you reduce weight.

Again, there is little you can do to change this outside of surgery.

So, what can you do?

2. Build Muscle

This section is all about the one thing that can reduce stubborn belly fat: building muscle.

Building muscle through a real strength training program will have two significant effects on your stubborn belly fat.

First, and most importantly, it will increase your metabolism, which helps reduce the amount of belly fat you have.

Second, it will create a lean, toned look instead of that skinny-fat appearance that people who only do cardio have.

Screen Shot 2022 04 27 At 4.22.53 PM Edited
@ariellelorre on Instagram

The image above is an incredible example of how different your body can look at the same weight when adding strength training into your routine. Here is another example.

Screen Shot 2022 04 27 At 4.22.54 PM 1 Edited
@wholesome_lee on Instagram

The lady above is 110lbs in both pictures but looks drastically different. That is the power of strength training and what adding muscle to your body will do.

Increase your metabolism

Earlier I mentioned that fat is your body’s best energy storage system, and like any good storage system, it waits for when needed. It requires almost no energy to maintain.

On the other hand, muscle tissue requires additional energy (calories) to maintain. These maintenance requirements mean that you are making permanent increases in your metabolism for every pound of extra muscle

But, it doesn’t stop there.

Studies show that strength training, not cardio, is the most effective exercise for fat loss.

Why?

Because when strength training is done as a circuit using compound movements like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, it burns many calories. 

The best part? It burns extra calories for up to 38 hours after the exercise session by temporarily elevating your metabolism.

Tone Up

Toning your body requires two things: reducing body fat and building muscle. Together, these two things improve your tone and give the firm look you’re after.

Doing 30 repetitions of pulsing squats and arm curls with light weights isn’t going to build muscle (or boost your metabolism), not any time soon anyway.

And you want fast results, don’t you?

For that, you need real strength training for a minimum of three hours a week.

Building muscle is necessary; don’t worry; you won’t get bulky.

Women lack the required levels of testosterone to look manly or bulky.

That’s why men have testosterone—so they look manly.

Muscle building isn’t an overnight process, and when you’ve built the muscle you’re after, slow down on the weights. Simple.

No one has ever gone to bed with a feminine shape & woken up with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arms.

3. Destroy Fat

That’s an intense title.

Good. I wanted to get your attention.

This section is about losing your body fat.

We covered building muscle as the best exercise to lose stubborn belly fat by increasing your metabolism in the previous section.

There is more exercise you can be doing to speed things up, and we haven’t even talked about diet yet.

More Exercise

I said you should be doing strength training for at least three hours a week, and if you can only fit three hours of fitness into your week, focus it there.

What if you have more time?

The second most effective form of exercise to add to your exercise routine is H.I.I.T. (high-intensity interval training).

H.I.I.T. means you are exercising at a high-intensity level that gets your heart racing, sweat pouring, and breath panting in a short amount of time, and then you rest. That is one interval.

A HIIT workout involves many of these intervals, and usually, they are structured in a work-to-rest ratio. Fifteen seconds of work to fifteen seconds of rest. Twenty seconds of work to forty seconds of rest. You get the idea.

Some great exercises to perform HIIT with are sled pushes, mace swings, and the dreaded airdyne bike.

This exercise should comprise the next two hours of your workouts each week.

Hours 1-3 are weight training in a circuit style fashion, so you are getting a lot of work done—not sitting on the machine doing arm curls and texting kind of workout.

Hours 4-5 should focus on HIIT workouts.

Diet Right

Diet. Many people view the word diet with the same disgust they view the terms moist, taxes, and kale.

Let’s go ahead and change that right now.

Diet isn’t a bad word.

The textbook definition of diet is what you eat, on average, over time.

A diet isn’t something you go on for a short amount of time and get off.

To “diet right,” you need to view your diet as a part of yourself (because it is) and understand that your diet reflects your lifestyle. And do you know what a reflection of your diet is? Your body.

If you are unhappy with your body (body fat specifically), you need to change your diet and, ultimately your lifestyle.

Temporary changes to your eating habits are not actual dietary changes. And this means that changes to your body will only be temporary.

Do you want to lose body fat temporarily, or do you want to be rid of stubborn body fat forever?

I thought so.

It works like this: permanent changes to your body must come from permanent changes to your diet, which must come from permanent changes to your lifestyle.

A few more questions: How many diets have you done? How often have they worked for a while, and then you quit? How many times have these diets removed your stubborn belly fat permanently?

I’ll answer for you: tons of diets, sometimes they work, and they have never led to permanent fat loss (that’s why you’re reading this article, right?).

Permanent Changes

Permanent lifestyle changes come over time. These changes are what will lead to permanent belly fat loss.

Here’s a quote:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit” – Will Durant (not Aristotle…)

Here’s another:

“If you’ve never juggled tennis balls successfully, you had best not try to juggle chainsaws.” – Keith Hansen (me)

Like any new skill you want to learn, you need to start small. Make the most effortless changes to your lifestyle, wait until you don’t even think about doing those things anymore, and add additional changes.

This article isn’t “How to Lose Belly Fat Fast.” That article would be much shorter: stop eating. Starvation is the absolute fastest way to reduce body fat. But it isn’t healthy or sustainable. Have you ever watched the show Naked and Afraid?

Instead, this article is about losing stubborn belly fat forever.

Additional Reading

How to Get Started With Weight Loss Nutrition

Weight Loss Explained, and What You Can Do To Make It Happen

Correct Nutrition

Luckily for you, we’ve already written a free guide on good nutrition.

Everything I learned coaching Athena to lose 200lbs and everything she learned has been turned into a guide for you.

If you’re interested in learning our approach to nutrition, all you have to do is click the link below for a free guide to proper nutrition.

The Serious Guide to Nutrition

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.