Hate your jelly belly? You’re not alone. According to various studies, women regularly vote stomachs as their most hated body part. And as our thoughts turn to the not-so-distant prospect of sunnier days ahead and holidays abroad (fingers crossed!), it’s only natural that some of us might be starting to feel a bit anxious about swapping our baggy winter layers for belly-baring bikinis.
But if the thought of flashing the flesh fills you with utter dread, don’t panic. We’ve asked Beachbody On Demand (BOD) super trainer Megan Davies to share her best belly fat-busting workout so you can melt your muffin top in the most efficient and effective way possible.
Get ready to whittle your waist fast and enjoy your most body-confident summer ever!
The myth behind melting your muffin top
If you want to reduce your belly fat, the first thing you need to do is ditch all those endless crunches and sit-ups.
‘Core work is important, but it won’t shrink your belly or melt a muffin top alone. Why? Because you can’t spot reduce fat,’ says Megan, creator of the BOD online home training and nutrition programme, Muscle Burns Fat.
‘Targeting a muscle with resistance training will cause it to grow stronger and enhance the definition and shape of that area of the body. But working a particular muscle or body part doesn’t mean that you’ll selectively burn the fat that’s covering it. They are two different tissues,’ she explains.
‘Your body chooses where it stores fat and the order in which it’s burned, and much of that has to do with genetics and gender. Women typically hold a bit more fat in the belly, thighs, and back of the arms, for example. But to lose fat from a particular area – such as your belly – you have to reduce overall body fat. And two of the best ways to do that are to eat healthfully and to exercise consistently.’
The best method to melt your muffin top
So, now that the spot reducing myth is busted, it’s time to talk about the best way to melt your muffin top. The solution, says Megan, lies in a well-rounded, full-body workout – like the one below – which can help you reach your goal.
‘When you lift weights, you not only boost metabolism during your workout to meet the energy demands of your muscles, but you also keep it running high afterwards as your body shifts into “repair, recover, and build” mode. And if you work out at least two to three times a week and dial in your diet, that metabolic burn will ultimately (and quickly) translate into less body fat and a slimmer profile.’
Melt your muffin top workout
How to do it: this workout is made up of two trisets, and each triset consists of three different exercises. Perform the first trio of exercises (Triset One) back-to-back, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. When you complete the first triset, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the triset another two times. Rest for 30 seconds before moving onto Triset Two. Each triset much be performed three times.
Push-up (10 reps)
In-depth: how to master push-ups
Start in a high plank position with your body straight from head to heels and your hands in line with (but slightly wider than) your shoulders. Keeping your core engaged, body straight, and elbows tucked (your upper arms should form a 45-degree angle with your body as you descend), lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor. Pause, and then reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Kickstand Hinge and Row (10 reps each side)
Holding a dumbbell in your right hand, take a small step back with your right leg. From this ‘kickstand’ position, push your hips back and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the ground, allowing the weight to hang at arm’s length toward the floor, palm facing backwards. This is the starting position.
Row the weight to the side of your ribs, squeezing your shoulder blade. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Do all of your reps, switch sides (right foot forward, weight in your left hand), and repeat.
Jump Rope (50 reps/jumps)
Stand holding the handles of a jump rope firmly in your hands at about waist height with your elbows bent slightly and the rope behind you. Swing the rope overhead, and as it nears your feet, jump up to allow it to travel underneath you (the movement should come primarily from your wrists, not your elbows or shoulders.) Land softly and repeat the movement without stopping.
If you plan on jumping rope indoors, consider a cordless BOD Rope (pictured above) which is great for those with small spaces, as well as advanced exercisers who want to work on speed.
Lunge and Press (10 reps per side)
Stand tall holding a dumbbell in your left hand in the ‘racked’ position (i.e., in front of your shoulder with your palm facing inward and your elbow bent and tucked). This is the starting position. Take a large step forward with your right foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent about 90 degrees (don’t let your rear knee touch the floor).
Press the dumbbell straight above your shoulder. Pause, and then lower the dumbbell to your shoulder and step backwards, pushing off your right foot to return to the starting position. Do all of your reps, switch arms and legs, and repeat.
Alternating Single Leg V-Up (20 reps)
Lie on your back with your legs straight and your arms extended above your head. This is the starting position. Keeping your legs straight and core engaged, simultaneously raise your left leg toward the ceiling and sit up, reaching touching your left foot with your right hand. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
Repeat, this time raising your right leg and touching your right foot you’re your left hand. Alternate legs with each rep.
Jump and Punch (50 reps)
Stand tall with your legs together and your hands up in a guard position (i.e., fists at chin level). This is the starting position. Simultaneously jump your feet out sideways (as you would during a jumping jack) and punch forward with your right hand. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position. Alternate hands with each rep. Want to increase the challenge? Perform the exercise while holding the handles of a BOD Rope.