Question: How do I lose belly fat on my lower abs without losing muscle mass?
This is a very common question for both men and women, especially as they approach levels of leanness to where they can see a six pack emerge but now it's that last bit of stubborn bit of body fat. The question then becomes, how do I lose that lower belly fat?
- More crunches?
- More cardio?
- Higher reps?
I thought it might be more informative to add my own answer along with 2 other fitness experts in the field. Both Mike (male) and Stephanie (female) answered below. Both of them have achieved phenomenal success in reaching low levels of body fat and have eliminated that lower belly fat without sacrificing muscle mass and undergone no surgery to do so!
You will notice an overlap in our answers. It's not because we hopped on a conference call and got our stories straight. It's because we all went thru the same frustrations and we all ended up with the same conclusions. That's the real reason why we sound somewhat alike in our responses to a very common question.
Answer: NoBull Author, Mike Boyle
"Since no one exercise will help you lose lower belly fat, I recommend HIIT cardio. HIIT cardio will help you burn fat while helping you maintain muscle mass. 2-3 HIIT cardio session per week along with following a high protein, moderate carb, low fat diet should help get rid of that unwanted fat. Lastly dont shy away from training heavy, going heavy on exercises like Squats and Deadlifts are going to help maintain the muscle mass you already have."
Answer: Stefanie O’Donnell of CougarFitness.
"There are three tricks to losing body fat without losing muscle mass. The first is to burn off body fat slowly. When trying to simultaneously get rid of fat, while maintaining or even gaining muscle, the best approach is to zig zag your calories throughout the week. I would recommend a 20-30% deficit (from your maintenance calorie level) for three days in a row, followed by one to two days at 5-10% over your maintenance calories. The second trick is to keep your protein intake high (1.25-1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight) and spread your portions of protein out evenly over five or six meals. Lastly, heavy weight training is a must to spare muscle mass when dieting down. Limit your cardio to after lifting, or later in the day, but make sure to get in 30-45 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week. Note: body fat will come off last where you put it on first, so you may get lean everywhere else first, but be patient, as belly fat too, will eventually be burned off."
Answer: Marc David of BodybuildingSecretsLive
"As much as I'd like to add, these 2 beat me to it. The belly fat is the last to come off in most cases. Men typically store fat in the abdominal region and even if you get to 10% body fat which is lean, any fat you do have that is visible will probably be around your abs, specifically what appears to be the lower abs. At this point, Zig-Zag nutrition (lower calorie days with maintenance calorie days) helps to keep your body guessing what's next. Weight training is extremely important to ensure no muscle is lost. You don't do this thru higher reps and lighter weight. You keep pushing hard but with reduced calories. Lowering your carbs (not zero carbs) will help to burn more fat. You might have heard of carb cycling? Protein intake should be high to ensure muscle is spared. Cardio is a tool but will be used more frequently during times when you want to shed fat vs. just regular maintenance or for general fitness. However, excessive cardio is not recommended as you don't want to go into too much of a deficit or hinder your ability to recover. Stubborn belly fat is the last to go and there's really no secret. It's where it gets REALLY hard to lose that bit of fat and it separates us from them (the really dedicated)."
Marc David – CPT
“The NoBull Muscle Guy”
Author of NoBull Bodybuilding