Muffin top. Belly pooch. There are plenty of ways to describe extra belly fat, but all of them have less-than-desireable name.

Whether you’ve struggled to lose belly fat after having kids, have recently hit menopause and found maintaining a flat stomach more difficult than it used to be, or life (and cupcakes) have simply gotten in the way, most of us have dealt with carrying extra weight around our middle before.

If you want to get rid of lower belly pooch for good, though, it’s not enough to try a few sit-ups and call it a day.

Getting rid of belly fat and sculpting the muscles underneath requires both changing your diet and ramping up your workouts.

Luckily, we’ve got an intense 15-minute workout filled with moves to help you define the most important (and overlooked) muscles in your core, including the transverse abdominus and obliques.

Why You Can’t Spot-Reduce Belly Fat

Before we get into the workout, we have to burst your bubble with some hard truth: you can’t spot reduce belly fat.

In fact, you can’t spot reduce any area of fat on your body. You can, however, spot tone.

If you have excess belly fat it can be exacerbated by stress and sleep, but it’s mostly an issue of  fat. If you want to lose fat, you have to lose it all over. That’s where the dietary and lifestyle will come in.

You can, however, tone specific areas of your body by using specific exercises:

  • Squats will tone your legs, thighs, and buns.
  • Push-ups will tone your shoulders, back, and arms.
  • Crunches will work one muscle in your core.

To get rid of belly pooch you first have to shed the fat that’s covering up your muscles. It is important to work the rectus abdominus with moves like crunches, but getting a more toned tummy includes both working other muscles and using cardio and a healthy diet to lose the weight that’s covering up your muscles.

Related article: 6 Exercises for Lower Abs That Will Set Your Core on Fire

4 Steps To Get Rid Of Lower Belly Pooch

Make sure you’re doing these things first and then get ready to incorporate our awesome 15-minute workout at the end of this article to seal the deal on flat abs and say goodbye to belly pooch.

1. Get 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio per week

Cardio can include anything from jogging, jumping rope, cycling, or a spin class.

Without cardio each week, the strength training exercises may tone your abs, but you’ll have excess fat covering them up.

2. Fit in HIIT 1-2 times per week

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is crucial to anyone looking to burn fat.

HIIT helps burn fat and torch more calories in a shorter amount of time than other workouts.

Consider HIIT your intense workouts, while your cardio workouts are more steady-state. You need a mix of both!

Related article: 10 Cardio Blasting Bedroom Exercises To Burn Body Fat

3. Eat clean and lean

It’s true, you can’t work off a bad diet.

Make sure your diet includes plenty of protein, veggies, and healthy fats.

4. Minimise stress levels

High cortisol (the stress hormone) levels have actually been linked to belly fat retention.

Manage stress through meditation, yoga, and self-care and see if you notice a difference.

Although it’s not necessarily the first step in addressing belly fat, for some people chronic stress can definitely cause them to hold on to more visceral fat.

Related article: 13 Fruits to Eat for Weight Loss

15-Minute Workout To Get Rid Of Lower Belly Pooch

Now that you’ve learned the diet and lifestyle changes needed to get rid of lower belly pooch, here is the 15-minute workout that completes the picture.

This workout will tone and sculpt all the muscles in your core, including your transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, and oblique muscles.

(Your transverse abdominus is considered your “low abs” and is especially crucial for toning the lower stomach!)

Perform each of these moves for 1 minute. Take a 1-minute rest afterwards—then start from the beginning and do another 1 minute for each move.

1. Oblique Burners

How to:

  • Stand with feet a little wider than hip distance apart, knees bent, and hands held behind the back of your head.
  • Bend to the right, reaching right hand toward floor behind your leg.
  • Keep spine long.
  • Return to centre and repeat on the left side.

2. Froggy Crunches

How to:

  • Start lying on mat with fingers at the base of your head and elbows pointed out.
  • Bring the soles of your feet together, knees pointed outward.
  • Tilt your chin slightly forward and squeeze abdominals to lift chest upward.
  • Keep arms and neck relaxed.
  • Slowly lower down and repeat.

Related article: 10-Minute Yoga Routine After Every Workout To Get Crazy Flexible

3. Side Plank Lift and Lower

How to:

  • Start by laying on your right side with forearm below shoulder, body lifted and legs long and feet stacked.
  • Keep body straight, abs tight and place left hand on hip.
  • Dip your hips down towards the mat and lift back up, using your obliques and core muscles.

4. Sweeping Scissors

How to:

  • Start lying on the mat with arms over your head and legs long.
  • Sweep arms out to sides and bring head, neck, and shoulders off the mat reaching arms long and lift one leg up and in towards the chest.
  • Reaching arms forward on the sides of the leg.
  • Roll back to mat lowering the leg, and repeat on the other side.

Related article: The Fat Burning Abs Workout For A Fabulous Toned Tummy

5. Ab Reverse Curl

How to:

  • Lie on mat and extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling.
  • As you exhale, tighten your low belly to push your feet straight into the air.
  • Hips will lift slightly off the mat.
  • Return you hips and lower back to the mat with control.
  • Use your abdominals vs. momentum to create the movement and avoid rolling onto the neck

6. In In Out Out Plank

How to:

  • Begin in a forearm plank position with your body in a straight line and abdominals contracted.
  • Step your left foot out to the left and your right foot out to the centre.
  • Move your left foot back to centre and your right foot back to centre.

Related article: 5 Waist-Clinching Exercises To Sculpt Sexy Side Abs And Create Stunning Obliques!

7. Bird Dog Crunch

How to:

  • Kneel on the mat on all fours.
  • Reach one arm long, draw in the abs, and extend the opposite leg long behind you.
  • Bring the elbow and knee in towards your centre as you round your back remember to draw in your abs.
  • Repeat on other side.