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MAR 29, 2024

Muffin Top Exercises: Get Rid of Belly Fat with These Effective Workouts

Say goodbye to that muffin top with our targeted exercises! Learn how to effectively reduce belly fat and sculpt your waistline with proven workouts.

Read time: 9 minutes

For some, a muffin top isn’t a big concern. It’s just a roll of excess belly fat that’s a little annoying. For others, a muffin top is a stubborn hang-on that has become the bane of their existence. It’s ok, we’re not judging, we’re just here to help. How? With targeted exercises that hit different abdominal muscles.

Exercises like Russian twists, bike crunches, side plank hip lifts, and mountain climbers - all of which are designed to get those desired results. But we’re not taking these exercises on their own, we’re pumping them up with High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to supercharge your overall fat burning.

But before we get into it, remember that this routine is meant to be part of a series of lifestyle habits; there are other factors to consider. Quality of your diet, for example, as well as your hydration game are game-changers.

What is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)? Basically HIIT is a cardiovascular exercise method that combines short bursts of intense exercise with rest periods. That’s basically it. Sessions can last between 5-30 minutes and, due to the intensity, can be incredibly challenging.

Exercises for Muffin Top Reduction

Alright, let’s get to the exercises designed to target different muscle groups in your abdominal area to shift that muffin top. Essentially, you can effectively burn off excess fat by incorporating a mix of compound movements, core exercises, and cardio. And when paired with High-intensity interval training (HIIT), you’ll be able to significantly up your overall fat burning.

  • Russian twists: This exercise targets the obliques and lower abs. For an additional challenge, try holding a weight or a medicine ball.

  • Bicycle crunches are one of the most effective exercises for targeting the entire midsection, simultaneously engaging the upper abs, lower abs, and obliques.

  • Side plank hip lifts are fantastic for targeting the obliques and building core strength. Maintain good form throughout each movement to maximize benefits while minimizing strain on other body parts.

  • Mountain climbers: A great way to get the heart pumping while working those ab muscles. Quick pacing adds intensity and ensures optimal cardiovascular benefits.

Remember, as you start to make some decent progress, it’s worth bearing in mind that real success requires consistency. So focus on maintaining a healthy diet alongside regular physical activity, that way you’ll see overall weight loss. Obviously it’d be ideal if we could target exactly where the weight comes off but, unfortunately, that’s not how the body works.

Strength and Cardio Workouts

For that one-two punch to effectively shed that stubborn muffin top, we need a mix of both strength training and cardio workouts. Let's start with strength training.

Strength Training

  • Compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses work for multiple muscle groups simultaneously, helping maximize calorie burn and stimulate muscle growth. Because these moves engage those essential core muscles, helping to tighten and tone the area around your waistline.

  • Compound exercises are great for making you feel strong and coordinated as you work through your sets. When you squat with proper form, you can feel the power of your legs in action. Similarly, when you execute a deadlift or an overhead press, you harness that raw strength to push through resistance. And these feelings of empowerment are what make strength training both physically rewarding and emotionally uplifting.

With each rep, you’ll build muscle tone and torch those fat cells around your midsection. Meaning your body leverages the energy from stored fat to support heavy lifting movements. And the result is a leaner physique, free from that muffin top.

Cardio Workouts

Combining these workouts means tackling belly fat from multiple angles - torching calories with cardio while shaping underlying muscles with strength training for a comprehensive approach to achieving a trimmer waistline.

Nutrition Recommendations for Belly Fat Reduction

As we said at the start of this article, exercise alone isn’t gonna cut it. You can spend hours and hours in the gym, but if you’re not improving your diet, you won’t see the benefit. And when it comes to eliminating stubborn belly fat, it’s no different. To effectively target your muffin top, we need to take a look at what we’re eating, to make sure we’re nourishing our body with the right kinds of food.

Embracing Fiber-Rich Foods

Fiber is your ally in the battle against belly fat. Mostly because it helps keep you full and satisfied, reducing overeating. It also aids digestion and can help prevent bloating, contributing to a slimmer look and feel in your midsection.

High-Fiber Foods

Whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, and barley

Fruits such as apples, pears, and berries

Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and Brussels sprouts


Including Lean Protein

Lean protein is vital for building and maintaining muscle mass - which can boost your metabolism and assist in burning excess fat. Moreover, it has a high satiety factor, keeping you feeling full for longer periods and, again, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

Sources Of Lean Protein

Skinless poultry





Low-fat dairy products


Incorporating Healthy Fats

Surprisingly, consuming healthy fats can aid in reducing belly fat. Yeah, that may sound counterintuitive but I’ll say that again, make sure you’re eating healthy fats. They’re essential for regulating hormonal balance and promoting feelings of fullness. As such, incorporating healthy fats into your diet can help curb cravings and prevent overeating.

Sources Of Healthy Fats


Nuts like almonds and walnuts

Seeds such as chia seeds and flaxseeds

Olive oil


By focusing on a diet rich in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats, you're taking essential steps toward combating that pesky muffin top. But remember—nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle.

Essential Healthy Foods to Include in Your Diet

When it comes to reducing belly fat and getting rid of a muffin top, it's not just about eating less. Yes, creating a calorie deficit is incredibly important, but so is eating the right foods. As such,here’s a list of some essential healthy foods you should include to help trim that waistline.

  • Avocado - Packed with healthy fats, fiber, and essential nutrients, avocados can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overeating.

  • Berries - Whether blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries, berries are rich in antioxidants and relatively low in calories and fiber. Making for a satisfying and nutritious snack that supports your weight management efforts.

  • Greek Yogurt - Known for its high protein content, Greek yogurt provides essential nutrients like calcium and probiotics while helping to keep you feeling full.

  • Salmon - Fatty fish, such as salmon, are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Additionally, the high-quality protein in salmon can benefit muscle repair and growth during exercise.

  • Eggs - Another protein powerhouse is eggs. They’re versatile and a valuable source of vital nutrients such as vitamin D, B12, and choline. Including eggs in your diet can support your weight loss journey by promoting satiety and helping you build and maintain lean muscle mass.

Expert Tips for a Toned Belly and Core Strength

Alright, we’ve covered exercise and diet. That’s it, right? Your muffin top will be a thing of the past? Well not entirely. See, the journey to a toned belly and improved core strength is a bit more nuanced. That’s why it's also vital to incorporate essential lifestyle factors that can significantly impact your progress. Here are some expert tips that go beyond the gym and can contribute to achieving your goals.


Let's start with one of the most crucial aspects of overall health - hydration. Staying adequately hydrated is essential for your body to function optimally. When it comes to weight loss, water plays a very interesting role. Not only does it aid in digestion, helping to prevent constipation and bloating, but it can also help prevent overeating by contributing to a feeling of fullness. On top of that, our bodies often mistake thirst for hunger, causing us to eat more when all we need is a glass of water.

Ensuring you’re consistently hydrated throughout the day will not only support your overall health but also contribute significantly to your weight loss efforts. It's a small change that can make a big difference in how you feel and the results you see. And one of the best ways to keep track of your intake is with a premium water bottle that you actively want to keep on your desk or by your side all day long.

Sleep Quality

We often underestimate the power of quality sleep in our wellness journey. However, sleep is critical in regulating hormones that affect appetite and metabolism. So, essentially, when we don't get enough rest, our bodies produce more ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, while decreasing leptin levels, which suppresses your appetite. Basically making the perfect storm of false “I’m hungry” signals.

Inadequate sleep can also increase cravings for high-calorie foods and impair our ability to make healthy food choices. Moreover, poor sleep impacts insulin sensitivity, making it more difficult for your body to process carbohydrates efficiently. This can contribute to weight gain, especially around the abdominal area.

Prioritizing quality sleep isn't just about feeling rejuvenated, it's actually integral to maintaining a balanced metabolism and regulating those hunger hormones.

Stress Management

Lastly, we have to consider the effects of stress on our eating habits and its impact on weight management. Incorporating stress-reducing techniques such as meditation or yoga can be remarkably beneficial. High stress levels often lead to emotional eating or uncontrolled snacking, contributing to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen.

When stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone associated with increased appetite and cravings for unhealthy comfort foods. By adopting stress-reducing strategies, we can avoid stress-induced overeating and better manage our weight.

Sure, this guide will help with your muffin top (providing you stick to it) but, more than that, it’s a guide for healthier living in general. So while you’re toning that belly and strengthening your core, you’re also laying the foundation for improvements in other areas. Simply exercise regularly, hydrate diligently, prioritize high quality sleep, adjust your diet and try to manage those stress levels. Get those nailed down and you’ll see significant improvement in your fitness journey.

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Written by Matthew Stogdon

Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.


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