Spot-reducing belly fat just isn’t possible, no matter how many ab workouts you do. It’s inconvenient, but don’t panic — that doesn’t mean that belly fat is there for good. Through a combination of exercise and diet, you can definitely work to reduce your overall body fat, and that includes around the belly area. According to Jackie Vick, NCSF, a Gold’s Amp certified personal trainer at Gold’s Gym, walking is a great way to reduce body fat and build lean muscle. It burns calories and, she added, “is one of the easiest forms of exercise to incorporate into your fitness regimen.”
Another benefit: you engage your core while walking, according to Natalie Hough, NASM, a personal trainer for Bach in Los Angeles. That, combined with core-strengthening exercises, can help to flatten your belly. As with any weight-loss regimen, though, you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume to see that ab definition.
How Much Should You Walk to Burn Belly Fat?
“Everyone’s cardio requirements are different,” Jackie told POPSUGAR. The amount you’ll need to walk to lose belly fat depends on many factors, including your current fitness level and diet. Jackie recommended that beginners start by walking 20-30 minutes a day, five days a week. Maintain that routine for a month while eating clean, and she said you’ll start to see results. “I like to think of progress as a 12-week cycle,” she said. “Four weeks for you to tell a difference, eight weeks for close friends and family to tell a difference, and 12 weeks for people you don’t see often to tell a difference.” In other words: patience is key.
If you want to mix it up even more, Natalie recommended walking 45-60 minutes a day and doing strength training twice a week. Strength training is an especially effective fat burner because it builds muscle, which helps you burn calories even when you’re not working out. Don’t have time to walk and strength train? Get creative and combine the two. “Try adding sets of 10 lunges every 10 minutes of your walk,” Natalie said.
To maximize your fat burn from walking, Jackie recommended doing “fasted” walking, which just means starting your walk on an empty stomach. The idea is that your body won’t have glycogen to burn (stored sugar, which your body gets from carbohydrates), so it will use fat stores instead. You can also try a walking interval workout, Natalie said — walking at a faster pace for a few minutes, followed by a slower, more moderate speed. Try this 34-minute walking interval workout to start.
“Walking in and of itself does not specifically target belly fat,” Jackie told POPSUGAR. “But when combined with clean eating habits, walking can be a great tool to help burn a few unwanted pounds.”