Without a doubt some of the most asked questions I get as a personal trainer are:

  1. What exercises burn the most belly fat?
  2. What exercises should I do to get abs?
  3. How can I burn belly fat fast?

Yep, everyone wants a toned tummy and washboard abs.

The reality is, you don’t need to do a juice cleanse, eat in a five-hour window or hit the treadmill for hours on end to lose belly fat.

Getting a flat stomach definitely isn’t easy, but it is simpler than you think. So, if burning belly fat is your goal, or you want to get rid of those love handles – here are my top tips on how to achieve it:

Accelerate your metabolism

You want to focus on metabolic training here to get the most bang for your buck because, despite what all of those articles, videos and unqualified sources say, you can’t get 3-minute abs and you can’t specifically burn fat off your belly. If you really want to shift some kilos and achieve fat loss in your midsection, you need to reduce your overall body fat. Paired with the right nutrition (I’ll get to that in a moment) accelerating your metabolism is best achieved with good old fashioned HIIT and resistance training.

VIDEO: Give my Core-Crusher workout a go and feel the burn!

Catch some zzz’s

We are often very aware of our exercise and food intake behaviours, but most of us forget about an equally important aspect of our lives, our sleep.

Sleep directly affects our appetite and hunger regulation and a constant lack of sleep leads to increased levels of cortisol being produced by the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone and the increased presence of cortisol can cause our body to go into a catabolic state, encouraging fat storage. Prioritising sleep is therefore not only necessary for losing belly fat and aiding weight loss, but it’s essential.

Practice mindfulness

When we’re under stress, our body goes into survival mode. Our adrenal glands produce more cortisol which causes our bodies to store more fat so that we have sufficient energy to draw on later when we need it. This is great if we’re stranded on an island in the wilderness, not so much when we’re trying to lose weight.

As someone who is always on the go, I make a conscious effort to try to take at least five minutes out of my day to practice mindfulness. This was something that certainly did not come naturally to me so don’t worry too much if it seems a little strange at first. Whether it’s doing some stretches, listening to a podcast or using a mindfulness app, taking some time out for you is something I make part of my daily routine because I know how important it is for my overall wellbeing.

Quality not quantity.

This one should be pretty obvious, but you really do need to focus on your nutrition when you’re trying to shed a few kilos, particularly around your midsection. Don’t focus on the number of calories you consume, instead focus on the quality.

JERF (just eat real food) should be your goal here whilst processed sugar, refined carbs, salt and alcohol should all be kept to a minimum (if not completely avoided). This doesn’t mean you can go bananas on the avocado, nuts or quinoa – you still need to be mindful of your portions if a flat tummy is your goal.

READ THIS: Ban the bloat! Eat These 10 Foods For A Flatter Belly.

Incorporate Resistance Training.

Yep, I know I mentioned it above but I really can’t stress the importance of resistance training. Not only does resistance training burn calories during your workout, it actually burns more calories once you’ve finished training so it’s one of the best ways to lose fat in your stubborn midsection. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn even when you’re just going about your day.

Learn more about resistance training

Remember, resistance training does not mean having to go to the gym.

Resistance training can be done using your own bodyweight, medicine balls, bars or resistance bands. Focus on compound movements that work for more than one muscle group and keep the intensity high.

Grab my new 7-day guide to losing belly fat

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.