I have been asked about this question many times, so I have decided to write an article dedicated to it. Can you lose belly fat in a caloric surplus? Absolutely not, and I am going to tell you why.
Unfortunately, there is too much confusion in the world of fitness. Companies are always trying to sell us quick fixes to our problems, and a lot of beginners buy into these quick fixes. Sadly, these solutions are usually nothing more than a waste of time.
I know this because I wasted 7 years just listening to what the mainstream fitness industry was selling. Is it any surprise to you that I didn’t even come close to hitting my goals during that period?
I wanted to build muscle. So what does the fitness industry tell us to do in order to build muscle? Drink protein shakes, take a pre workout, take creatine, etc….
If you want to lose fat, there are even more products out there that the industry will try and sell you.
I want to get one thing out of the way right now. There are ZERO shortcuts for getting into shape. Once you grasp this concept, and take the steps in order to get in perfect shape, you will lose weight at a respectable pace.
Before we get started, I urge you to download our app All Workouts: Personal Trainer (iOS | Google Play). We have FREE workout plans and 10 HIIT workouts to choose from. If you are really looking to accelerate your muscle gains or fat loss, this is the app for you.
What is a caloric surplus?
A caloric surplus is when you are eating more calories than your body needs. Your body will then redistribute these calories to muscle first, then fat. If you are working out and eating in a caloric surplus, that is when great muscle gains are made. But if you eat too much, you will find that fat comes with it.
To know if you are eating at a caloric surplus, you must first learn how to calculate your maintenance calories. Once you have your maintenance calorie number, then you can start to understand what it is going to take for your body to lose fat.
In order to lose fat, you must eat at a caloric deficit. There is no way around this. You will find no magic pill that zaps away fat. Sadly, too many people buy into these falsities.
If you are just learning about caloric surpluses and deficits, it might be eye opening for you to see the potential. When you are eating at a caloric surplus, you can gain up to a half pound of muscle per week.
But if you are eating at a caloric deficit, you can lose 2-3 pounds per week, depending on how overweight you are. Then it will slow down to 1-2 pounds per week. It is not uncommon for people to lose 100 pounds in a year.
One last thing I will say is that every single person on the planet has a different maintenance calorie number. That is why it is so important for you to find yours. To get started on a caloric deficit, simply eat 500 calories per day LESS than your maintenance calories.
If you haven’t lost at least a pound in 1 week, then drop the calories another 500 per day.
First to gain is last to lose
One of the reasons that the fitness industry is so fixated on losing belly fat specifically is because belly fat is usually the first source of weight gain. It makes sense, right? The fat builds up around the place in your body where food is stored first.
From there, it starts distributing more throughout your body over time.
People see their big bellies and panic. And they need a solution right now. They go to the internet and search high and low for quick fixes. They spend hundreds of dollars on diet pills and secret formulas. And guess what? Nothing works.
To me, this is no surprise. But unfortunately, this will ruin the motivation of those who seek it. They think they are too far gone.
I am here to tell you that any person can lose belly fat.
Dedication over time
If you are going to lose belly fat, it’s going to take time. If you are consistently eating at a caloric deficit AND working out, you are going to find that you will absolutely hit your goals.
It took me several years to build the amount of muscle that I wanted to build. Then I went too far with it. I ate too much. I ended up 20 pounds over my goal weight. So what did I do?
I had to go from a caloric surplus to a caloric deficit, and it took me about 4-6 months to lose that fat and get to my goal weight.
What you are going to have to do is convince yourself to fall in love with the process. The only way to do that is by showing up and seeing results. The only way to see results is to eat right, workout, and do it consistently.
This is what dedication looks like. It’s not just showing up at the gym a couple times a week and checking off the boxes. It is putting everything together and caring enough to make it happen. I promise you that if you can bring all of these principles together, you are going to lose weight faster than you could imagine.
What workouts should you be doing to lose belly fat?
If you start by eating at a caloric deficit, you are automatically going to lose weight. That sounds great! But what if you want to accelerate that fat loss and get shredded? Bring in high intensity interval training, or HIIT for short.
HIIT is one of the best discoveries in recent times. Essentially, these are condensed workouts that force you to be super intense. This in turn burns a lot of calories and increases your cardiovascular strength.
A traditional HIIT workout will be 30 seconds of intense exercise, followed by a 60 second break. Then repeat that 10 times. You can adjust this up and down to suit your needs.
But how do you know how intense you should be going? For each intense exercise section, you should be hitting 90% of your maximum heart rate. You can learn how to calculate your maximum heart rate for exercise.
Personally I used an apple watch to make sure I hit that zone for each exercise. You can buy one on Amazon.
If you are looking to be guided through these HIIT workouts, I recommend checking out our app. We have built-in HIIT workouts that you can use to accelerate your belly fat loss.
Main Point: Can you lose belly fat in a caloric surplus?
So, what do you think about these truths? Can you lose belly fat in a caloric surplus? The answer should be obvious by now. You absolutely cannot lose belly fat in a caloric surplus. You must be eating at a caloric deficit to lose any sort of fat.
The fitness industry is dead set on trying to provide you with quick fixes that don’t work. They will show you success stories of all of their customers. What they fail to show you is all of the hard work, time, and dedication those people put in to get there. The product they are selling wasn’t the solution. The process was.
Remember, that people get frustrated when results don’t happen right away. You are better than that. Keep pushing through no matter what. And you will certainly hit your goals.
It’s not just about showing up at the gym. It is a combination of every little thing that you can be doing. The main 3 being eating at a caloric deficit, HIIT workouts 3-4 times per week, and doing this consistently over a period of time.
If you can combine all of these together, you are going to be unstoppable.