Looking your best is often overshadowed by that little thing that's been sneaking our waistline outwards since we hit manhood; the gut. That ever expanding tormentor of so many, losing the excess around our guts seems to be a constant problem for today's men. Turning yourself into the luxury car equivalent of your choice isn't easy, so where should we dedicate our energy and focus?
We know nutrition plays an instrumental role in this, but if this performance machine is to be its best, we must be complementing with the right exercise. Where should you spend your training focus?
In a world of noise we must simplify. We need to focus on nailing the following 5 big movements with an overall emphasis on accumulating energy expenditure as well (think cardio and overall volume of your workouts), will allow you drop excess body fat, including around your gut.
These movements are as follows: Dead Lift, Squat, Military Press, Chin-Up and Sprinting.
On their own these exercises won't drop your gut, but we're aiming to dictate the physiological response, via a hormonal cocktail conducive to fat loss by consistently getting stronger and accumulating overall volume with those 4 multi-joint lifts (and variations of if need be).
This hormonal affect will encourage fat loss and health (from which further improvements can be made). This will also increase muscular size and strength, which will assist your fat burning ability further.
These are all multi-joint movements, requiring a large number of muscles to fire, including fast-twitch muscle-fibre recruitment, adding to the hormonal benefit.
Note that this also includes activating the muscles through your torso - "core" - because of its role in supporting the spine in heavy movements such as these. However, this isn't our primary aim. We are working on dropping excess fat via the hormonal and energy affects noted above, not simply working the stomach muscles in hope that the fat will burn and the stomach "tone".
Hit these lifts for strength as well as high intensity circuits and all of this will combine with the overall energy expenditure from your sessions to see you drop excess fat and improve your shape.
A few points to note:
Dead Lift - This is the big daddy, totally engaging the whole body. Ensure to maintain a neutral spine through the entire movement; squeeze the muscles of your torso and move with the big muscles of your gluts and hamstrings. Watch here.
Squat - Also requiring immense strength through the torso to ensure your spine stays neutral, make sure to keep feel flat on the ground, track knees over toes and drive feet through the floor to stand up, squeezing the quads and gluts. Watch here.
Military press - First ensure your shoulder health allows for safe overhead lifting. If yes, this ensures you stay strong through your entire body to stabilise, including the gluts and torso (core), while engaging the chest, shoulders and triceps to drive the bar overhead. Do not arch back beyond neutral, finish with bar directly overhead. Watch here.
Chin-Up - Helping balance the push/pull system, this is a great measure of upper body strength. Grip the bar/handles hard, squeeze your abs, lift your chest high towards the roof and drive passed your elbows, aiming to bring your chest to the bar. Ensure full range - hand at the bottom, chest to bar at top. Watch here.
Sprinting and High-Intensity Intervals - This can be quite tough for some, so ensure its relative to your current fitness level. Use a hill or stairs to decrease the impact and increase the intensity. This will continue this hormonal response beneficial for fat loss, while also adding to energy expenditure and allowing for time efficient workouts.
What we're looking at here is getting you working at 70-90% maximum effort for short intervals of work, followed by rest periods in order to recover to a degree that you can repeat for multiple reps.
There are many ways to put your training week together, but to lose the gut, aim for 5 workouts, each focusing on one of the above exercises. Train hard and with purpose and you'll soon see that unwanted belly fat melting away.