How to Lose Belly Fat Without Losing Muscle: The Best Supplements You Need to Try
Do you struggle with stubborn belly fat? Have you tried every diet under the sun but still have fat that won’t budge?
Your fat might be stubborn, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to eliminate. To further sweeten the deal, you can also get rid of it without sacrificing your hard-earned muscle mass.
Read on to learn how to lose belly fat without losing muscle. We’re sharing some foolproof tips you can start using today.
Health Risks of Belly Fat
Compared to the fat stored in other parts of the body, belly fat appears to be associated with the greatest number of risks. The following are some of the most noteworthy health challenges you might experience if you hold on to an excessive amount of belly fat:
- Reduced insulin sensitivity
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of hypertension
- Increased risk of heart disease
Large amounts of belly fat have also been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers. This includes colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and esophageal cancer.
Why You Can’t Just Cut Calories and Do Cardio
Clearly, you need to take belly fat seriously. However, it’s also important to note that the way most people go about losing body fat isn’t actually effective if you’re looking for long-lasting results.
It might be tempting to slash your calories in half and spend hours every day on the treadmill. In reality, though, these tactics won’t do much for you when it comes to losing belly fat and keeping it off.
When you cut your calories drastically and do a ton of extra cardio, you increase your chances of losing muscle mass. When you lose muscle, your weight on the scale might go down, but not necessarily because you’re losing fat. You might actually be saying goodbye to muscle.
Keep in mind, too, that when muscle mass decreases, your metabolism slows down. This means you’ll burn fewer calories while exercising (and while you’re going about your day). As a result, you’ll need to continue cutting your calories if you want to keep seeing the number on the scale drop.
You can only drop your calories so low, though, before it becomes unsustainable. Eventually, you’ll likely give up, go back to the way you were eating before, and regain all the weight you lost.
How to Lose Belly Fat Without Losing Muscle
Okay, you’re convinced that you shouldn’t drop your calories and jump on the treadmill to burn belly fat. What should you do instead, though?
Here are some effective, science-backed strategies you can start using today:
Prioritize Protein Intake
There’s not one specific diet that magically eliminates belly fat. However, certain dietary changes will help you lose fat all over (including the belly region) while also making it easier for you to maintain or even gain muscle.
Perhaps the best change you can make to your diet is to increase your protein intake.
High protein diets provide you with the amino acids you need for muscle gain and maintenance. They also help you to stay fuller longer, which helps you to resist cravings and stay in a calorie deficit (eating fewer calories than you burn).
Cut Calories Slowly
Speaking of calorie deficits, we mentioned above that a dramatic calorie deficit likely won’t do you any good (at least in the long-term) when it comes to getting rid of belly fat. At the same time, though, you do need to eat in a calorie deficit if you want to shed fat from any part of your body.
The key is to cut calories slowly. Remember, it’s better to gradually decrease your calorie intake than it is to make a drastic cut right off the bat.
Start by eating in a 100-300 calorie deficit. Your progress will be a bit slower when you take this approach, but it’ll also be more sustainable.
Lifting weights, combined with a high-protein diet, will help you to build and maintain muscle mass.
As we mentioned above, when you’re lacking in muscle, your metabolism slows down, and it’s harder to burn calories or shed stubborn belly fat. To avoid this, aim to strength train at least 3-4 times per week.
Try HIIT Cardio
Just like massive calorie deficits, long treadmill or elliptical sessions aren’t ideal when you’re trying to get rid of belly fat and maintain muscle mass. This doesn’t mean you have to completely strike cardio from your workout routine, though. Instead of doing lots of steady-state cardio, try swapping it out for HIIT (short for high-intensity interval training).
HIIT workouts involve short bursts of high-intensity exercise (such as sprinting on a treadmill or bike) followed by longer periods of rest. An example of a HIIT workout might be 30 seconds of sprinting followed by 1 minute of rest, repeating the circuit 8 times.
As you can see, HIIT workouts don’t take very long to complete. When you’re pushing yourself as hard as possible during those short bursts of exercise, you don’t have to put in a lot of time to see results.
In addition to being more efficient, HIIT cardio also helps you to preserve muscle mass. Unlike traditional cardio, research shows that these workouts help you hold onto muscle while also burning fat and increasing calorie burn after your workout is over.
If you struggle to get motivated to do cardio, consider giving HIIT a try. It’ll yield better results than traditional cardio workouts, and it’ll also free up your schedule so you have more time for other things.
Increase Your NEAT
NEAT is short for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It describes all of the calories you burn when you’re not exercising and just going about your day. For example, the calories burned walking to and from your car when you arrive at and leave work or calories burned while cleaning your house.
Dedicated training sessions are important when you’re trying to get rid of belly fat and maintain muscle. However, it’s also important to make sure you’re moving around throughout the day. After all, if you’re sedentary for 23 hours, you can’t undo all those missed calorie-burning opportunities in a 1-hour workout.
Make sure you’re managing your stress, too.
Remember, high levels of stress hormones like cortisol have been linked to increases in abdominal fat. When you’re stressed out, you’re also more likely to give in to cravings and have a harder time staying in a calorie deficit.
Use the Right Supplements for Fat Burning
When you’re trying to reach any kind of fitness goal, supplements can help. Here are some of the best ones to add to your stack:
- Caffeine: In addition to increasing energy, which can help you push harder during your workouts, caffeine also boosts your metabolism so you burn more calories and lose fat faster; it can help you use stored fat for fuel, too
- Green Tea Extract: Green tea extract is another fat-burning compound that supports fat loss and speeds up the metabolism, similar to caffeine but without causing any jitters or anxiety
- Probiotics: Probiotics supports the health of your gut microbiome (all the bacteria that reside in the digestive tract); poor gut health has been linked to a slower metabolism and increases in belly fat, so probiotic supplements can have a big impact on turning these issues around
- Yohimbine: Yohimbine is extracted from the bark of the Yohimbe tree; it works by blocking certain receptors on your fat cells and supports more efficient fat-burning
- SARMs: Also known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, SARMs target androgen receptors in the muscle tissue and support faster muscle growth; more muscle mass means a faster metabolism, which can make it easier for you to lose belly fat without also losing muscle
- Peptides: Peptides are combinations of amino acids that support muscle growth and may help to increase fat oxidation
- Kratom: Like caffeine, kratom helps to increase energy and mental clarity during your workouts; it may also have appetite-suppressant properties, which can make it easier for you to stick to your diet and avoid giving in to cravings
- Moringa: Moringa is an herbal supplement that may help to improve fat loss efforts and combat stubborn belly fat; it may support better blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity, too
It’s important to note that none of these supplements, alone, will do the heavy lifting (literally or figuratively) for you when it comes to losing belly fat and maintaining muscle mass. However, they can give you an extra push to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.
Lose Belly Fat Today
Now that you know more about how to lose belly fat without losing muscle, it’s time to get to work. Follow the steps outlined above so you can level up your workouts, streamline your supplement routine, and see great results.
Are you looking for more guidance on how to maintain muscle or choose the best supplements for fat burning? Check out some of the other articles on our site today. This one on counting macros is a great option to read next.