How To Lose Stomach Fat In Men – 8 Tips For Men On The Weight Loss Journey In 2024

Gina Vitale, Health & Wellness Content Writer
Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, MS, RDN, LD
To reduce belly fat you need a structured plan. This article will provide eight tips on how to lose stomach fat in men.
how to lose stomach fat men
Man sitting, pinching his belly fat. Photo: Shutterstock & Team Design

No guy wants to be associated with the terms love handles, side fat, or beer belly. Life is busy, and excess belly fat can sneak up on you. Of course, it is normal for weight to fluctuate throughout your lifespan, but to attain six-pack abs or reduce belly fat, you need a structured plan. This article will provide eight tips on how to lose stomach fat in men.

8 Useful Ways To Lose Belly Fat For Men To Try

  1. Eat more plants.
  2. Decrease calorie intake.
  3. Increase dietary fiber intake.
  4. Do high-intensity interval training.
  5. Get more sleep.
  6. Decrease stress.
  7. Eat healthy fats.
  8. Quit smoking.

8 Best Ways To Lose Belly Fat For Men

Losing body fat can be challenging, but it can help improve your overall health. Since there is no way to target fat loss, losing stubborn belly fat requires a multifaceted approach. Here are eight tips for men to lose belly fat and get lean:

Featured Partner Offer

Ritual Synbiotic+

  • 3-in-1 formula: prebiotics, probiotics, and probiotics
  • Supports a balanced gut microbiome
  • Supports bloating, gas, and diarrhea
  • Supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria
  • Vegan and Third-party tested

Get 25% Off First Month By Using “FALL25at Checkout

CHECK PRICE

Featured Partner Offer

phenq

PhenQ

  • Helps to burn fat
  • Crushes food cravings
  • Boosts energy and balances mood
  • High-quality formula

See PhenQ Review

Money Back Guarantee and Free US Shipping

CHECK PRICE

Eat More Plants

how to lose stomach fat men
Eat more plant-based foods to help burn belly fat. Photo: Shutterstock

Consuming the recommended amount of fruits,[1] vegetables, legumes, and nuts is a priority for optimal health and weight loss. For example, the Mediterranean diet[2] encourages a higher intake of plants compared to the standard American diet, which is high in processed foods. It is often considered one of the healthiest ways to eat and has been shown to decrease visceral fat.[3]

Fruits and vegetables are more nutrient-dense foods,[4] meaning they contain essential health benefits like vitamins and minerals, compared to ultra-processed foods that contain excess fat, added sugar, and sodium.

Consuming ultra-processed foods[5] is linked with greater overall body fat, but particularly increased belly fat. Therefore, nutrient-dense foods offer more nutrition, which should be considered when planning a healthy diet.

Decrease Your Calorie Intake

Eating fewer calories is known to aid in losing weight. To that point, there are many factors to consider when determining calorie needs, such as the person’s size, general health condition, and activity level. Consuming a very low-calorie diet[6] is not recommended for sustainable weight loss and is potentially unhealthy for the long term.

You can be mindful of your food choices, but remember even too many calories from healthy foods can cause weight gain. You can also manage your calorie intake through the timing of your meals.

Intermittent fasting[7] calls for calorie restriction during specific time periods, alternating between eating and fasting. Evidence shows IF helps with weight loss and improves health markers.

Time periods found to be beneficial for daily fasting include the 16:8 method, or not eating for 16 hours and eating for only eight. Weekly fasting on the 5:2 method is where you eat normally five days a week and reduce your calorie intake[8] to 500 calories (for women) and 600 calories (for men) for the other two days of the week.

Decreasing your intake of processed foods, saturated fats, and sugary treats is advised to achieve a calorie deficit. Furthermore, too much alcohol can increase your calorie consumption before you realize it. Using a calorie counting method like a diet tracking app[9] can help determine your daily caloric intake.  

Increase Your Dietary Fiber Intake

Dietary fiber helps to satisfy your appetite, making it less likely for you to overeat. Plus, foods that are high in fiber also tend to be nutrient-dense. Studies have shown dietary fiber helps predict weight loss and adherence[10] in adults. Furthermore, there is evidence[11] that proper intake of fiber aids in belly fat loss, resulting in decreased waist circumference.

There are two types of fiber:

  • Soluble fiber consists of the inside of plants, including fruits, oats, barley, legumes, peas, beans, broccoli, carrots, and most root vegetables.
  • Insoluble fiber comes from the outer skin of plants and can be broken down into three categories:
    • Cellulose: corn bran, potatoes, the skin of most fruits from trees such as apples, bananas, and avocados, many green vegetables, such as zucchini, green beans, celery, and cauliflower, and some fruit plants such as tomatoes and kiwis. 
    • Hemicellulose: Whole grains.
    • Lignin: Nuts and seeds.  

Most Effective Exercises For Losing Belly Fat

how to lose stomach fat men
HIIT: the most effective exercise for losing belly fat. Photo: Shutterstock

Exercise offers many health benefits. However, the proper exercise routine is essential when you want to lose belly fat. The most recent research shows that high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the most effective ways to decrease belly fat.

A meta-analysis reported that high-intensity interval training significantly reduced total abdominal fat.[12] High-intensity exercise is performed at about 90% of your capacity, with time for recovery between intervals.

Resistance or strength training, while mainly associated with building muscle mass, is also a highly effective tool in losing belly fat. Another meta-analysis review concluded resistance training can reduce body fat percentage[13] in healthy adults.

Weight training is an example of strength training. However, body weight exercises performed at the correct intensity can also effectively lose fat. Adding upper body strength exercises is a good idea if your chosen HIIT workout mainly involves your legs. Here’s a great one to pump your triceps.

As a bonus, these types of exercise can change body composition,[14] improving your muscle-to-fat ratio so you will look leaner. Research showed that resistance training reduced abdominal and visceral fat without weight loss, therefore changing the body composition by adding muscle. Knowing how many calories you burn in a day can help you manage the process.

Sleep Quality And Quantity Are Important 

If you are not getting eight hours of sleep, that could be affecting your belly fat. Sleep is essential to all bodily functions. Skimping on sleep has consequences other than being tired.

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain due to an imbalance in circadian rhythmicity.[15]  For one, you are awake more hours in the day and more likely to consume excess calories. Next, lack of sleep can affect your hormone levels and metabolic function, disrupting appetite control. It is recommended that healthy adults strive to get seven to nine hours[16] of sleep each night to maintain optimal physiologic function.

Eat Healthy Fats To Decrease Your Fat

Evidence supports that healthy fat foods like avocados[17] and olive oil can be beneficial in reducing abdominal fat. Monounsaturated fatty acids, or MUFAs, have a thermic effect,[18] so the body burns fat at a cellular level. When eaten instead of saturated fat, MFUAs are linked to fat loss. The Mediterranean diet, consisting of healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and fish, has been linked to reduced visceral fat.[19]

Manage Your Stress Level

Everyone has stress in their lives, but long-term, high stress levels can upset your hormonal balance. Prolonged stress causes hormones to react, triggering inflammation and a chain of events in the endocrine system. These physiological effects may include increased visceral and abdominal fat.[20]

Quit Smoking

Who knew there was a link between smoking and abdominal fat? Long-term smokers were found to have higher visceral abdominal fat[21] even though their BMI was lower than would suggest. Smoking causes other detrimental health effects such as cardiovascular disease and cardiometabolic disease; therefore, quitting smoking is a smart health choice for multiple reasons.

Belly Fat Negative Impacts On Men’s Health

Reducing belly fat improves overall health. Research highlights that men tend to have more visceral fat[22] than women. Excess visceral fat is linked to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease, among other health concerns. However, implementing healthy habits over time can help you lose stubborn belly fat stored.

Featured Partner Offer

phenq

PhenQ

Enjoy 10% Off & Free Shipping Code: “FIRST10

Applied at checkout

Check Price

Key Factor For Effective Fat Loss

For men to lose stomach fat, it’s important to focus on these key factors:

  • Revamp your diet by adding more plants.
  • Eat high-nutrient foods, including healthy dietary fat.
  • Decrease your consumption of highly processed foods.
  • Incorporate a balance of physical activity, including aerobic exercise and strength training.

However, more than anything, remember that there is no one-size-fits-all healthy diet, and every fat loss journey is different. Consult your doctor or registered dietitian for individualized guidance.

Conclusion

Men tend to accumulate more abdominal fat, specifically internal fat, which is more dangerous to their long-term health if not managed with a healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition, decreasing your stress levels, increasing your sleep hours, and adding high-intensity workouts for the ultimate calorie burn can help you lose inches from your waist circumference. Your doctor and registered dietitian can help you navigate your fat loss journey as you work towards your healthy weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

What burns the most belly fat?

While there is no way to target fat loss, high-intensity interval training effectively burns calories and reduces fat stores. However, incorporating a variety of physical activities, such as cardio exercise and strength training, can help you reduce your overall body fat.

Can men lose belly fat in 2 weeks?

Consider cutting highly processed foods, incorporating more plant-based foods, and increasing your physical activity.

How fast can a man lose belly fat?

There is no specific time frame for men to get rid of belly fat, but following the key takeaways mentioned in this article will help: eating more plant-based foods, increasing activity level with moderate to vigorous exercise, managing stress better, and getting quality sleep.

How does a guy lose belly fat?

Ways to lose belly fat may include eating more plant-based foods, adding high-intensity interval training, getting more sleep, and decreasing your stress.

Can men lose belly fat in 7 days?

We typically need to be in a calorie deficit to lose fat. Try to reduce your calorie intake and increase your workouts. However, discussing lifestyle changes with your doctor is important, especially if you plan to incorporate a detox.

Resources

  1. centers for disease control and prevention. (2020). How to Use Fruits and Vegetables to Help Manage Your Weight . [online] Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/fruits_vegetables.html.
  2. Gepner, Y., Ilan Shelef, Oded Komy, Cohen, N., Schwarzfuchs, D., Bril, N., Rein, M., Serfaty, D., Kenigsbuch, S., Hila Zelicha, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Tene, L., Avital Bilitzky, Gal Tsaban, Yoash Chassidim, Sarusy, B., Ceglarek, U., Thiery, J., Stumvoll, M. and Matthias Blüher (2019). The beneficial effects of Mediterranean diet over low-fat diet may be mediated by decreasing hepatic fat content. Journal of Hepatology, [online] 71(2), pp.379–388. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2019.04.013.
  3. Gepner, Y., Ilan Shelef, Oded Komy, Cohen, N., Schwarzfuchs, D., Bril, N., Rein, M., Serfaty, D., Kenigsbuch, S., Hila Zelicha, Anat Yaskolka Meir, Tene, L., Avital Bilitzky, Gal Tsaban, Yoash Chassidim, Sarusy, B., Ceglarek, U., Thiery, J., Stumvoll, M. and Matthias Blüher (2019). The beneficial effects of Mediterranean diet over low-fat diet may be mediated by decreasing hepatic fat content. Journal of Hepatology, [online] 71(2), pp.379–388. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhep.2019.04.013.
  4. Drewnowski, A., Dwyer, J., King, J.C. and Weaver, C.M. (2019). A proposed nutrient density score that includes food groups and nutrients to better align with dietary guidance. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 77(6), pp.404–416. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuz002.
  5. Liu, J., Eurídice Martínez Steele, Li, Y., Yi, S.S., Carlos Augusto Monteiro and Dariush Mozaffarian (2023). Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods and Body Fat Distribution Among U.S. Adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2023.03.012.
  6. Ju Young Kim (2021). Optimal Diet Strategies for Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, [online] 30(1), pp.20–31. doi:https://doi.org/10.7570/jomes20065.
  7. Tinsley, G.M. and La, P.M. (2015). Effects of intermittent fasting on body composition and clinical health markers in humans. Nutrition Reviews, [online] 73(10), pp.661–674. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/nutrit/nuv041.
  8. Hajek, P., Dunja Przulj, Pesola, F., McRobbie, H., Sarrah Peerbux, Phillips-Waller, A., Bisal, N. and Smith, K. (2021). A randomised controlled trial of the 5:2 diet. PLOS ONE, [online] 16(11), pp.e0258853–e0258853. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0258853.
  9. Ferrara, G., Kim, J., Lin, S., Hua, J. and Seto, E. (2019). A Focused Review of Smartphone Diet-Tracking Apps: Usability, Functionality, Coherence With Behavior Change Theory, and Comparative Validity of Nutrient Intake and Energy Estimates. Jmir mhealth and uhealth, [online] 7(5), pp.e9232–e9232. doi:https://doi.org/10.2196/mhealth.9232.
  10. Miketinas, D., Bray, G.A., Beyl, R.A., Ryan, D.H., Sacks, F.M. and Champagne, C.M. (2019). Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study. Journal of Nutrition, [online] 149(10), pp.1742–1748. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz117.
  11. Maillard, F., Pereira, B. and Boisseau, N. (2017). Effect of High-Intensity Interval Training on Total, Abdominal and Visceral Fat Mass: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, [online] 48(2), pp.269–288. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0807-y.
  12. Wewege, M.A., Desai, I., Honey, C., Coorie, B., Jones, M.D., Clifford, B., Leake, H.B. and Hagstrom, A.D. (2021). The Effect of Resistance Training in Healthy Adults on Body Fat Percentage, Fat Mass and Visceral Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, [online] 52(2), pp.287–300. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01562-2.
  13. Kristoffer Jensen Kolnes, Petersen, M., Teodor Lien-Iversen, Højlund, K. and Jensen, J. (2021). Effect of Exercise Training on Fat Loss—Energetic Perspectives and the Role of Improved Adipose Tissue Function and Body Fat Distribution. Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 12. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2021.737709.
  14. Evangelia Papatriantafyllou, Dimitris Efthymiou, Evangelos Zoumbaneas, Codruta Alina Popescu and Vassilopoulou, E. (2022). Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients, [online] 14(8), pp.1549–1549. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081549.
  15. Evangelia Papatriantafyllou, Dimitris Efthymiou, Evangelos Zoumbaneas, Codruta Alina Popescu and Vassilopoulou, E. (2022). Sleep Deprivation: Effects on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Maintenance. Nutrients, [online] 14(8), pp.1549–1549. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14081549.
  16. Watson, N.F., M. Safwan Badr, Belenky, G., Bliwise, D.L., Buxton, O.M., Buysse, D.J., Dinges, D.F., Gangwisch, J.E., Grandner, M., Kushida, C.A., Malhotra, R.K., Martin, J.L., Patel, S.R., Quan, S.F., Esra Tasali, Twery, M.J., Croft, J.B., Maher, E., Barrett, J.A. and Thomas, S.M. (2015). Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.5665/sleep.4716.
  17. Khan, N.A., Edwards, C.G., Thompson, S.V., Hannon, B.A., Burke, S., Walk, A.M., Richard W.A. Mackenzie, Reeser, G.E., Fiese, B.H., Burd, N.A. and Holscher, H.D. (2021). Avocado Consumption, Abdominal Adiposity, and Oral Glucose Tolerance Among Persons with Overweight and Obesity. Journal of Nutrition, [online] 151(9), pp.2513–2521. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab187.
  18. DiNicolantonio, J.J. and O’Keefe, J.H. (2022). Monounsaturated Fat vs Saturated Fat: Effects on Cardio-Metabolic Health and Obesity. Missouri medicine, [online] 119(1), pp.69–73. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9312452/.
  19. Hila Zelicha, Klöting, N., Kaplan, A., Anat Yaskolka Meir, Ehud Rinott, Gal Tsaban, Yoash Chassidim, Matthias Blüher, Ceglarek, U., Isermann, B., Stumvoll, M., Rita Nana Quayson, Martin von Bergen, Engelmann, B., Rolle-Kampczyk, U., Sven-Bastiaan Haange, Tuohy, K., Diotallevi, C., Ilan Shelef and Hu, F.B. (2022). The effect of high-polyphenol Mediterranean diet on visceral adiposity: the DIRECT PLUS randomized controlled trial. BMC Medicine, [online] 20(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-022-02525-8.
  20. van, Savas, M. and Elisabeth (2018). Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals? Current obesity reports, [online] 7(2), pp.193–203. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-018-0306-y.
  21. Akira Fujiyoshi, Miura, K., Kadowaki, S., Azuma, K., Tanaka, S., Takashi Hisamatsu, Arima, H., Kadota, A., Miyagawa, N., Takashima, N., Takayoshi Ohkubo, Yoshino, S., Torii, S., Miyazawa, I., Hiroshi Maegawa, Murata, K. and Hirotsugu Ueshima (2016). Lifetime cigarette smoking is associated with abdominal obesity in a community-based sample of Japanese men: The Shiga Epidemiological Study of Subclinical Atherosclerosis (SESSA). Preventive medicine reports, [online] 4, pp.225–232. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.06.013.
  22. Nauli, A.M. and Matin, S. (2019). Why Do Men Accumulate Abdominal Visceral Fat? Frontiers in Physiology, [online] 10. doi:https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.01486.

More from Weight Management