How to Lose Belly Fat – 5 Ab Exercises for Beginners

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by all the diets and exercises that claim to burn belly fat in 2 weeks, but nothing really happens? Me too!

So, in my quest to finally understand how to lose belly fat forever, I turned to science-backed information on the best ab exercises for beginners that work and what foods to eat to lose belly fat.

ab exercises for beginners

Table of contents

After blocking out all the noise about quick fixes, I discovered that the steps to getting rid of belly fat and keeping it off are simple, as you will see in this post.

How to lose belly fat

Doing a thousand sit-ups will not help you shed belly fat. If you’ve got back, arm, or belly fat, you can’t pick a spot and tell your body to burn fat in that area.

The best way to lose belly fat is to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn through diet and regular full-body exercise. Reducing overall body fat will ultimately get you washboard abs.

Along with exercise, you should focus on eating lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables while avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks.

You should also ensure that you get enough sleep, stay hydrated, and reduce stress if you want to naturally lose belly fat fast.

This article discusses what you should eat to lose belly fat, Foods to avoid when trying to lose belly fat, and 5 ab exercises for beginners.

How to lose belly fat in 1 week

Essential reading:

What to eat to lose belly fat

What to eat to lose belly fat

Getting rid of belly fat should never involve starving yourself. Instead, you should eat the right foods because as you know, abs are made in the kitchen.

If you get your diet right, there’ll be no need to put yourself through those scammy flat tummy or detox teas.

High protein diet

A high-protein diet is the best when it comes to shifting body fat. Protein is incredibly filling, helps rev up metabolism, and supports muscle growth.

A protein-rich diet should include turkey, tuna, chicken breast, Greek yogurt, salmon, eggs, beans, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds.

Related: 12 insanely delicious high-protein snacks that are easy to make


Although spices such as black pepper, cayenne pepper, and turmeric are not magical solutions to burning belly fat, they are known for their metabolism-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which gives it its spicy kick. Capsaicin has been found to have thermogenic properties, meaning it can speed up your metabolism and burn more calories [1].

On the other hand, a combination of black pepper and curcumin (a compound found in turmeric) can help increase metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammation [2].

Adding these spices to your meals can do wonders for your belly fat battle.

Fiber-rich foods

lose belly fat foods to eat

Eating fiber-rich foods has so many health benefits. Foods high in fiber usually take up a lot of space in the tummy. This works to your advantage as you feel full for longer [4].

Unlike refined foods, high-fiber foods tend to be lower in calories, meaning you can enjoy large portions while keeping calories low.

Fiber also slows down the body’s absorption of sugar, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes that can lead to weight gain.

Foods rich in fiber include carrots, quinoa, sweet potatoes, whole grains, beans and legumes, oats, apples, broccoli, and bananas [5].

Related: How to Lose 20 Pounds in 2 Weeks on Cayenne Pepper

What to drink to lose belly fat in 2 weeks


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey


In a glass add turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice, honey, and water.

Stir well and serve.

Yield: 1

What to drink to lose belly fat

Drink to reduce belly fat in 4 days

The combination of black pepper and curcumin (a compound
found in turmeric) can help increase metabolism, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and help you lose belly fat.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Pinch of ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey


    In a glass add turmeric, black pepper, lemon juice, honey, and water.
    Stir well and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 29Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 14mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 0g

Green tea

Green tea is more than just a soothing cuppa to pair with your favorite book. It is packed with caffeine and catechin called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which are believed to have thermogenic effects. 

Caffeine initiates the burning of stored fat, while EGCG helps break down the fat stored in our body by getting rid of an enzyme that normally slows down this process. When this happens, our bodies get better at using fat as energy [3].

Green tea also works wonders when it comes to controlling your hunger pangs. EGCG is known to increase the secretion of cholecystokinin, a hormone that gives you that “full” feeling.


Drinking water plays a significant role in getting rid of belly fat.

Water is a zero-calorie drink that you can use to replace calorie-rich drinks such as sodas, smoothies, iced teas, and hot chocolate.

Also, drinking water before meals can help control appetite by making you feel full, reducing the chances of overeating.

If you believe in detoxing, water is the drink that you must drink. It is water that helps the body flush out toxins, not detox juices or teas.

Foods to avoid when trying to lose belly fat

Foods that you should avoid when trying to lose belly fat include refined carbs, deep-fried foods, sugary drinks and treats, too much salt, alcohol, and other liquid calorie traps.

Let’s discuss this.

Foods to avoid when trying to lose belly fat

Sugary beverages and treats

Although sugary treats and drinks are typically high in calories, they provide little nutritional value and will lead you to consume more calories than your body needs.

Also, sugary foods and beverages are known to cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which lead to feelings of hunger and cravings. This cycle often results in overeating, which contributes to weight gain and increased belly fat.

However, your quest to lose belly fat does not mean you should completely give up on treating yourself. Once in a while, you can indulge in healthier versions of your favorite treat or one or two of these treats for weight loss.


High alcohol intake increases belly fat. A study was conducted among 8,603 Korean men and women aged between 30 and 87.

After considering factors like age, smoking, physical activity, income, and marital status, researchers found that the men and women who consumed a lot of alcohol per day over one year were more likely to have a larger waist circumference [6].

One of the reasons why alcohol causes a build-up of abdominal fat is that when you drink alcohol, your body prioritizes breaking down alcohol over digesting food and burning fat.

High alcohol intake increases belly fat

As a result, your body burns alcohol instead of fat, leading to more fat storage, particularly around your midsection.

Another reason to stay away from alcohol when trying to get rid of belly fat is that alcohol can slow down the rate at which your body burns calories. A slow metabolism will make weight loss harder.

Alcohol is also an appetite stimulant and can increase your cravings for greasy and salty foods. Other than making you overeat, alcohol can slow down the rate at which your body burns calories. A slow metabolism will make weight loss harder.

High sodium foods

Excessive salt intake can lead to high blood pressure, bloating, and obesity.

While salty food does not directly contribute to the accumulation of body fat, eating foods high in sodium consumption can lead to water retention [7].

When you consume excessive amounts of salt, your body retains more water to balance the concentration of sodium.

The retained water will add to your body weight and make you feel you are not losing weight when you actually might be.

Always drink lots of water daily to flush out toxins and remain hydrated.

avoid high sodium foods when trying to lose belly fat


Unhealthy fats

You should avoid deep-fried foods, fast foods, cookies, margarine, vegetable shortening, chips, etc.

These foods contain trans and saturated fats that contribute to inflammation, weight gain, and belly fat accumulation. Instead, choose healthy fats such as avocado, tofu, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, nuts, and coconut oil.

5 Best Ab Workouts for Beginners

Right. We have discussed foods that help burn belly fat and the worst foods for belly fat. Now we are going to look at the best ab exercises for beginners.

First of all, not all ab exercises are beneficial. A few are effective, while most are just a great way of showing off that you have time to waste in the gym!

Always stick to the basics.

best ab workouts for beginners

Workouts to pair with this ab workout:

Best Toned Legs Workout Ever [6-week plan]
How to tone flabby arms- best arm workouts for women
HIIT workouts at home

So what are the best ab workouts for beginners?

The best ab workouts you can do at home or at the gym include bicycle maneuvers, captain’s chair, crunches on an exercise ball, reverse crunches, and planks.

These ab exercises are based on research by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), which investigated the best and the worst ab exercises for strengthening the obliques and rectus abdominus.

Here is how you should do each exercise:

Best ab exercises for strengthening the rectus abdominus

The rectus abdominus in simple English is basically that pair of ab muscles that run vertically in front of your body and is often referred to as the “six-pack” muscle.

It is the main muscle responsible for creating that coveted six-pack appearance when well-developed and at low body fat levels.

1. Bicycle maneuver (bicycle crunches)

For washboard abs, bicycle crunches will get you the most results even if you do no other ab workout.

How to do bicycle crunches /maneuver

Best ab exercises - bicycle crunches

  • Lie flat on your back on your exercise mat, with your legs bent at the knees.
  • Slightly raise your head and shoulder off the mat, and place your hands behind the ears. Do not tighten your neck.
  • Bring your right knee towards your left elbow and extend your left leg out, raising it slightly off the floor.
  • Do not move your elbow towards the knee, rather, move the knee towards the elbow with each rotation.
  • Repeat the motion with the opposite leg and arm.

Contract your ab muscles throughout the movement and remember to breathe.

  • Perform 3 sets of 12 repetitions

2. Captain’s chair ab exercise

To perform this exercise, you’ll need the captain chair gym equipment.

However, if you don’t have access to the equipment or you workout from home, there’s an alternative exercise to the captain’s chair which targets the same muscle. The modification for the captain’s chair exercise at home is the lying leg raises.

How to do the captain’s chair exercise

  • Begin by placing your back against the char’s back pad.
  • Place your forearms on the pads of the captain’s chain, and firmly grip the handles.
  • Bring your legs together and let them hang straight down.
  • Tighten your core and bend your knees, then slowly bring your knees towards you, until they form a 90-degree angle.

As with all ab workouts, remember to breathe in and out as you repeat the movement. The advanced version of this exercise will be extending the legs straight out, and bringing them towards your chest.

Do 12 reps, 3 sets.

How to do leg raises (Captain’s chair exercise alternative)

How to do leg raises (Captain's chair exercise alternative)

Best abs workout at home without equipment

  • Lie down on your back and place your hands under your bum or on the side of your body.
    Bring your legs together and raise them to form a 90-degree angle.
    Slowly lower the legs until they are about a few inches from the ground, and repeat the movement.
    If your back arches as you lower your legs, then don’t go as far down. Your core will get stronger the more you do these ab workouts for beginners, and once it does, you’ll be able to comfortably go as low as possible without your back lifting off the ground.
    Do 12 reps, 3 sets.

3. Crunches on an exercise ball

  • Sit on the stability ball with your legs at a 90-degree angle from the floor.
  • Walk your feet out until your lower back is on the ball and your shoulders are off the ball.
  • Plant your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart, and place your fingertips behind your ear-do not lock them together.
  • Tighten your abs, and without straining your neck crunch up and down. Exhale as you crunch up and inhale as you lower.

Repeat 12 times, in sets of 3.

Abs workout at home without equipment For Beginners

Beginner abs workout female

Best ab exercises for the obliques

The obliques consist of two sets of muscles: the external obliques and the internal obliques.

The external obliques are located on the sides of the abdomen, diagonally running downward and inward from the lower ribs to the pelvis. Well-developed external obliques can contribute to a more defined waistline.

The internal obliques lie underneath the external obliques, running in the opposite direction. Strong internal obliques contribute to core stability and help maintain proper posture.

According to the ACE study, the bicycle crunches and the captain’s chair are still the best two ab workouts for the front and side abs (obliques).

Following in rank order after bicycle crunches and captain’s chair for the best ab workouts for the obliques are the reverse crunch and plank:

4. Reverse crunches

When doing reverse crunches, many people make the mistake of crunching the chin toward the knees.
The correct way to do this exercise is to ensure that the shoulders and neck stay relaxed and in position throughout the motion.

How to do reverse crunches

exercise for abs for female at home

Abs workout at home for ladies without equipment

  • Lie down on your back with your legs bent at the knees and feet planted on the floor.
    Place your hands behind your head or ears, but don’t lock them together. Alternatively, you can place your hands beside your body or extend them out by your shoulders.
    Exhale and tighten your abs as you raise your hips slowly off the floor and bring them toward your chest and hold the position for a few seconds.
    Inhale and slowly lower your hips towards the mat until they are at a 90-degree angle, and repeat the movement. Do not swing your legs through the movement to avoid placing excessive strain on your lower back.

5. Planks (The hover exercise)

There are so many variations of the plank. You can do planks on your hands, forearms, one leg raised or on the side.

You should work your way up to be able to hold a plank for 1 minute. If you are a beginner, start by holding a 20-second plank position, and progress to 30, 45, and finally 60 seconds.

If, however, you are trying to beat the world record for the longest time to hold a plank, which currently stands at 9 hrs, 38 mins, 47 secs, go all out!

How to do a plank

How to do a plank

Perfect form is very important with planks.

Lie down on your exercise mat in a push-up position.
Place your hands directly under your shoulders and firmly plant your toes on the floor.
Make sure your body is in a straight line, from your spine to your feet.
Do not crane your neck, don’t look up or forward. Your gaze should be slightly on the floor in front of you.

Workouts you’ll love:

Best Jillian Michaels workout DVDs to get you shredded
The Best 8-Week Weight Loss Exercise Plan (Full Body)
30-Day Fat Burning Workout Routines for Beginners
28-Day Workout Challenge to Start Exercising Again (Free PDF)


You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting this or any other fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain, or shortness of breath at any time while exercising you should stop immediately. This website offers health, fitness, and nutritional information and is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The use or reliance of any information contained on the site is solely at your own risk. 


[1] Varghese, Sharon & Kubatka, Peter & Rodrigo, Luis & Gazdikova, Katarina & Caprnda, Martin & Fedotova, Julia & Zulli, Anthony & Kruzliak, Peter & Büsselberg, Dietrich. (2016). Chili pepper as a body weight-loss food. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 68. 1-10. 10.1080/09637486.2016.1258044.

[2] Hewlings, S. J., & Kalman, D. S. (2017). Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 6(10), 92.

[3] Abdul G Dulloo and others, Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 70, Issue 6, December 1999, Pages 1040–1045,

[4] Hervik, A. K., & Svihus, B. (2019). The Role of Fiber in Energy Balance. Journal of nutrition and metabolism, 2019, 4983657.

[5] Mayo Clinic Staff. (2021, January 5). Chart of high-fiber foods. Mayo Clinic. Accessed Jul. 12, 2023

[6] Ryu, M., Kimm, H., Jo, J., Lee, S. J., & Jee, S. H. (2010). Association between Alcohol Intake and Abdominal Obesity among the Korean Population. Epidemiology and health, 32, e2010007.

[7] Rakova, N., Kitada, K., Lerchl, K., Dahlmann, A., Birukov, A., Daub, S., Kopp, C., Pedchenko, T., Zhang, Y., Beck, L., Johannes, B., Marton, A., Müller, D. N., Rauh, M., Luft, F. C., & Titze, J. (2017). Increased salt consumption induces body water conservation and decreases fluid intake. The Journal of clinical investigation, 127(5), 1932–1943.

Beginner core workout


best ab exercises for beginners
Best ab workouts at home to lose lower belly fat
Ab workout .exercises to lose belly fat fast. lower ab workout


best abs exercises for beginners

Leave a comment

Skip to Recipe