Just how much cardio is the “right amount” to get rid of belly fat? Well, it depends, and this is where it gets tricky. But by the end of this video, you’ll know exactly how much cardio is needed to burn belly fat and why so many people end up screwing belly fat loss up. In fact, I’ve used this exact plan that I’m sharing to lose belly fat in about 12 weeks, and will honestly say that it was the easiest, most enjoyable cardio plan I’ve done thus far. Before we dive into the plan though, let’s first start by covering why you need to care about the ‘right amount of cardio’ to burn belly fat.
If you don’t do enough cardio, then your body won’t have a need to burn belly fat for fuel. Whereas too much cardio is worse because our body adapts to burn less calories over time for the exact same cardio session. Which is why you’ll need to gradually increase the amount of cardio you do to break through a fat loss plateau. But, you can’t just simply continue adding more and more cardio because at a certain threshold, the amount of calories you burn daily doesn’t seem to change even as you add more and more cardio, because your body compensates and becomes less active outside of that cardio session!
Instead, what we want to do is set up our cardio routine such that once we’ve even come close to reaching this cardio threshold, we’ve already successfully stripped off our belly fat. And we can do so with a 4-step plan that’ll help you get rid of belly fat. The first thing we need to do here is establish the smallest amount of cardio needed to start seeing some fat loss progress. Ideally, you want the majority of the cardio you do to be low impact and low intensity. The occasional high intensity session is fine, but I’d limit this to no more than 1-2 times a week. What I’d recommend is just 10 minutes of incline walking every single day, with just a low incline (e.g. 2.0 incline) and a moderate pace (e.g. 3.5 mph). You can swap this for light cycling or any low intensity, low impact cardio modality. Just choose what you’ll be most consistent with.
In step 2, we want to then very gradually start increasing the duration and/or difficulty of our cardio sessions. But as for when exactly to increase the duration and/or difficulty of your cardio sessions, you want to do this whenever you’ve reached a plateau. But again, the key here though is that you’re simply increasing your cardio very gradually overtime to enable you to break through any plateaus you encounter so you lose belly fat successfully. That said, the extent to which you do so though will vary individually and depend on your lifestyle.
As you apply the above 3 steps, you need to monitor and keep both your calorie intake AND your step count and overall activity outside of your cardio sessions under control throughout the weeks to ensure that you’re truly in a calorie deficit and controlling all possible variables that may cause your fat loss to plateau (in turn, impeding belly fat loss). Now the last step here is to reverse. Slowly start cutting back on your cardio while slowly increasing your calories on a weekly basis to increase your body’s lowered metabolism so that after about 6-12 weeks of this, you’re doing less cardio, eating more, yet still able to stay lean and keep that belly fat off.
Here’s a summary of what I’ve covered on how much cardio is needed to burn belly fat:
Step 1 (Baseline): Start at a low baseline level of cardio to kickstart the fat loss process.
Step 2 (Increase): In gradual increments, increase the duration/difficulty of your weekly cardio sessions every time you reach a plateau.
Step 3 (Reverse): After you’ve successfully stripped off the belly fat, reverse this process by slowing cutting down on your cardio.
Step 4 (Control): Control all other variables (weights routine, daily steps, calorie intake) to avoid compensating for your cardio sessions.
Just keep in mind that you need to be pairing your cardio routine with a regular weightlifting routine and a solid nutrition plan, as these will both help speed up the process and ensure that you don’t just end up “skinny fat” by the end of your fat loss journey. And for a step by step plan that shows you exactly how to do this by optimizing your workouts, nutrition, and cardio plan for you such that you can lean down as efficiently as possible with science, just like countless of our members have done with their Built With Science programs, then simply take the analysis quiz below to discover which specific program is best for your body and where it’s currently at:
Filmed by: Bruno Martin Del Campo
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