How to Tone Your Stomach & Lose Belly Fat

Updated May 14, 2018

Losing belly fat and toning your stomach takes more work than just doing sit-ups and crunches. While those exercises will strengthen your abdominal muscles, they don't help you burn belly fat. If you don't get rid of the excess pounds around your middle, no one will ever see those muscular abs. To get a toned stomach, you have to lose the fat, and to do that, you need to incorporate exercise with healthy eating habits.

Cut calories. The general rule is that to lose 0.454kg. you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories. Healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 lbs. a week, meaning you should cut 500 to 1,000 calories out of your daily diet. While you don't have to cut all those calories (you can burn some with exercise, too) eating fewer calories is not as hard as it sounds. Stay away from fast food and processed foods such as cakes, cookies and doughnuts. Eliminate sodas and other sugary drinks, and stay away from high-fat, high-calorie condiments such as mayonnaise and salad dressings.

Eat small, frequent meals. Dr. Anshu Gupta says the key to burning fat is to keep your blood sugar stable. To do this, you should eat small meals and healthy snacks every two to three hours. Fill up on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and lean proteins such as chicken, fish and egg whites.

Drink plenty of water. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking a minimum of eight 227gr glasses of water a day. While staying well-hydrated is key to overall health, it has an added benefit when you're trying to get a toned stomach. If you don't take in enough fluids, your kidneys will retain water, causing your abdominal area to look and feel bloated.

Avoid alcohol or drink it in moderation. The Mayo Clinic says that beer bellies are no myth. Drinking alcohol can cause you to gain wight around your middle. In addition to adding empty calories to your diet, the sugar in alcohol gets stored as fat. If you do drink, limit your consumption to one or two drinks a day and stick to wine.

Get your heart rate up. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise five days a week to work your heart and boost your metabolism to burn excess fat and calories. Good exercises include swimming, biking and jogging. If you want to really rev up your metabolism, add in interval training and weight lifting.

Do abdominal exercises. While these exercises won't help you lose fat around your midsection, they do strengthen and tone your abdominal muscles, which will help amplify the flat stomach look. Crunches and leg lifts are good exercises to strengthen both the upper and lower abdominal muscles


If you are a sedentary person or an exercise novice, consult your doctor first before embarking on a diet and exercise plan.


Do not drop below 1,200 daily calories if you are a woman or 1,400 if you are a man. The University of Maryland Medical Center says this can lead to nutritional deficiency.

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About the Author

Matt Olberding has been a professional journalist for nearly 20 years. His career has included stints as a copy editor, page designer, reporter, line editor and managing editor at newspapers ranging from community newspapers to major metros. Olberding has been a business writer and editor for a decade.