Frustrated with Stubborn Belly Fat? Get to the WHY First

You work your tail off in the gym, do crunches until the cows come home and keep calorie intake to a minimum. Yet, that stubborn belly fat won’t let go. What gives? For most people, banishing belly fat requires a change in mindset about lifestyle, working out and food. Shifting mindset in these key areas is key to transforming the body, mind and soul, but it’s not easy to go it alone.

We asked two belly fat busting experts – Body Machine Fitness (BMF) Master Trainer Ethan and licensed nutritionist Alix – to share their “prescription” for tackling belly fat. Along with the exercise and nutrition tips they provide in our companion belly fat post, Ethan and Alix recommend:

Getting to the root of the problem first

Why did you end up with belly fat anyway? According to Alix, “So many clients come to us wanting a ‘6-pack,’ but no amount of sit-ups or only eating 1,200 calories a day is going to get rid of belly fat and transform you into a Calvin Klein model. People accumulate belly fat through a lifestyle of poor health choices – not just food choices.”

Belly fat loves glomming onto people who are:

Stressed OUT. Stress is a BIG contributor due to cortisol (the stress hormone). “The more stressed you are – from work, school, family, marital issues or even being a high-strung person in general – the higher your cortisol levels go. In this state, your body essentially reacts like a bear is chasing it. It will not burn fat for fuel and instead goes to the quickest energy source – carbohydrates,” Alix says.

Tip: Make stress management a priority and learn how to shake a foul mood here.

NOT getting enough Zzzzzzzs. Getting seven hours of sleep per night consistently is a MUST if you want to get rid of belly fat or keep it off in the first place.

Tip: Sleep in a cool (68 degrees or lower) room that is as dark as you can get it. Both of these steps will help you get into REM sleep and fight inflammation.

NOT working out smart. “It’s completely scientifically inaccurate to say that you can exercise in a way to burn belly fat specifically. There is no way to target certain areas for fat burning. You need to focus on the largest muscle groups of the body, incorporate intervals and be efficient with your time to maximize calorie burning and fat metabolism,” Ethan says.

Tip: Check out our companion belly fat blog, where Ethan breaks it all down.

NOT eating well consistently. As Alix explains, “When you look at someone’s aesthetic body, what you see is what they have done day-in and day-out for at least a few months, and more likely, years. Going on a crash diet or diving head-first into ketosis is NOT the answer.”

Tip: Get yourself into a routine of clean eating day-in and day-out. Alix explains how in the companion belly fat post.

When to consult a physician about belly fat issues

Alix and Ethan recommend consulting a physician before making any drastic changes to exercise or diet routines. A doctor can help ensure you’re physically healthy enough to work out and also determine whether a physical issue may be complicating belly fat issues.

As Alix explains, “For some people, food sensitivities or allergies may be to blame. As we age, imbalanced hormones can also play a role in the accumulation of stubborn belly fat. If you’ve adjusted your exercise and diet regimens, and still struggle to lose weight and belly fat, you may need a doctor to help you crack the code.”

At the end of the day, living a healthy lifestyle has its benefits and may even prevent the accumulation of belly fat in the first place. If eliminating belly is your goal, we can show you how!

Check out Ethan and Alix’s two-step plan for shedding belly fat in our companion post:

Want to Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat? Tackle It With a One-Two Punch

Not getting the results you’re looking for at your local gym?

Check out a group personal training class at BMF in Plano. Not only is your FIRST CLASS FREE (sign up here)BMF never charges an enrollment fee OR cancellation fee – EVER.

Ethan’s combo HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and resistance training workouts (no two workouts are EVER the same) and club-like atmosphere (with lights and music produced by our onsite DJ Tog) are changing lives every day. Plus, BMF nutritionists Alix and Mo are here to provide nutritional guidance, rockin’ meal plans and more.

Not sure if BMF is right for you? Check out our Yelp reviews to read life-changing stories from members of the BMF community in Plano.

We’re also happy to answer any questions you have about BMF or our classes. Feel free to contact us by phone at 214-396-8585 or email us at