Weight loss is achieved by focusing on two things: diet and exercise.
Fat burn, similarly, is achieved by building your workouts around two goals: strengthening muscles and burning calories.
Michaels says that many people fall into the trap of thinking that they can “spot reduce fat.” As a result they come to rely on moves like crunches, which specifically target the abs. Moves like these only condition and strengthen the ab muscles, though, and Michaels says that alone won’t get you a six pack.
“If you think you’re going to crunch away belly fat or crunch your way into a six pack, that’s a very incomplete component, because you have to burn the fat off the top of the muscle or you’re never going to see it, no matter how conditioned it is,” she said.
In order to burn the fat off the top of those muscles — or any other muscle on the body — you need to burn calories, and to do that you need to focus on exercises that target multiple muscles, Michaels says.
According to Michaels, exercises that work more than one part of the body simultaneously are extremely effective at burning calories. She uses planks as an example, saying that they target your entire core, as well as chest, shoulders, triceps, and quads.
She says push-ups are another exercise that works other muscles in addition to the abs.
Besides working out, Michaels says managing stress and estrogen levels can play a role in burning stomach fat specifically. She says that where you store fat depends on your hormone levels.
“The more testosterone dominant you are, the more you’ll store belly fat,” Michaels said. “The more estrogen dominant you are, the more you’ll store fat in your lower body, which is why you don’t ever really see men with cellulite unless they have some sort of severe hormone imbalance.”
Michaels recommends eating foods high in healthy estrogens, such as flax, yams, and fermented soy to help combat stomach fat. Otherwise, she suggests getting enough sleep and trying to keep stress at a minimum.