How To Get A Smaller Waist (Ultimate Guide 2019)

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A smaller waist is seen as attractive & feminine because it accentuates an hourglass figure & maximises the waist-to-hip ratio.

But holding body fat around your waistline is also indicative of higher risks of developing cardiovascular disease & other health issues, which is why it is important to maintain a healthy waist circumference.

Whether you want to achieve a smaller waist to accentuate your hourglass curves or to shed some unhealthy belly fat… here is everything you need to know about how to get a smaller waist.

Small Waist Mistakes

You Can't Out-Train A Bad Diet

A small waist primarily comes down to lower body fat levels. Strength training exercises for your core will help increase muscle in that area (think six pack abs), but that washboard stomach will never make an appearance if you have a larger-than-average layer of insulation over the top.

It doesn’t matter how many crunches you do, if your diet is appalling, you will never see a toned & tight tummy. So your first & most important way to achieve a smaller waist, is to clean up your diet.

“Weight loss = 5% exercise, 20% diet, 75% lifestyle & de-stress”

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NOTE: If you already have low body fat levels, especially on your belly, then losing more body fat is not recommended! According to the American Council on Exercise Body Fat Categorisation these are the recommended body fat levels for women:

Check that your body fat levels are in the healthy range with this online calculator.

Can You Spot Reduce Body Fat?

The short answer is… no. You cannot pick & choose which body part you want to lose weight from. Which means…

Targeted ab exercises like crunches don’t burn belly fat!

Where you tend to hold the most body fat comes down to your genetic predisposition & how you lose it, is largely based on your unique body composition. Due to our higher oestrogen levels & also evolution’s way of protecting our reproductive organs, most women tend to hold most of their body fat around the hips, butt & lower belly.

When you take measures to lose body fat, you will lose it evenly from all over your body, so wherever you tend to store it most (thighs, butt & belly), will be the last place you see it go from, while other areas seem to get leaner far quicker (usually upper body for women).

But this is where lifting weights can give you a head start on getting a smaller waist. 

Strength training is the most effective way to change your body composition, meaning: increase lean muscle mass & lower your body fat levels (*read: get curves in all the right places!). The more muscle you build, the easier it is to maintain lower body fat levels… that’s good news for your waistline!

More on how to lift weights for a smaller waist, later on in this article. But first…

The Small Waist Diet

So what’s the best diet to lose body fat to get a smaller waist? Most fitness experts will tell you to go on a low fat, low calorie restrictive diet, but honestly, who wants to count calories for every meal? These types of crash diets never work long term & leave you constantly hungry, low on energy & miserable. 

“The plan that works is the one that you can stick to”

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There is a better way! Forming long-lasting healthy eating habits is only achievable if the diet you choose feels fulfilling, enjoyable & fits in with your lifestyle. That’s why I love the low carb way of eating (WOE). You never go hungry, have oodles of energy & still able to achieve your goals AND enjoy treats now & then. 

Check out my blog post “Why LCHF is best for a strength training female” to learn more about how this WOE can benefit you & help you get a smaller waist.

But in a snap shot:

  • Processed & packaged foods
  • Junk food & take aways
  • Sugary & fizzy drinks
  • Refined sugar like, candy, chocolate & ice-cream
  • Processed baked goods like cake, pastries, bread & muffins
  • Trans fats in margarine & other spreads, as well as vegetable oils like canola

Eat predominantly whole foods as nature intended:

  • green & cruciferous vegetables high in fibre to keep you feeling fuller for longer & regulate your digestion
  • drink plenty of water to flush out toxins (sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst & end up over eating)
  • swap unhealthy table salt for Himalayan pink rock salt that’s full of important trace minerals
  • increase your healthy fats like avocado, real grass fed butter, olive oil, nuts & seeds to give you sustained energy throughout the day, balance your hormones & keep you feeling satiated.
  • get enough protein to sustain muscle growth & repair from hormone free pasture raised meats such as salmon, mackerel, beef & chicken

TIP: a diet high in processed carbs, baked goods, refined sugar & sodium will make you hold more water weight, which can add inches onto your waistline. Because LCHF is low in carbs & sodium, people tend to ‘drop’ this excess water which can help your waistline look tighter.

Ab Exercises That Make You Blockier!

“The myth that lifting weights makes you ‘bulky’ is only true if you do the wrong type of exercises”

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If done correctly, strength training will shape & tone your body like no other form of exercise - I’m talking hourglass curves in all the right places!

But not all core exercises are going to help you get a smaller waist. Here are the ones to avoid, to keep your waistline small

Avoid Weighted Exercises

The more you challenge a muscle under a heavy load, the more it will grow. So if you smash the weighted crunches or use med balls & plates in your core workouts, your mid section will become thicker & blockier over time. If you want to get a smaller waist, you should avoid these exercises:

  • Cable Crunches
  • Russian Twist
  • Kettlebell Windmills
  • Cable Twist
  • Abdominal Machine
  • Or any Ab exercise with added resistance

Avoid Exercises That Target The Obliques

The obliques or ‘side waist’ run along the sides of your torso. Many fitness experts will tell you that doing exercises that target this muscle will help get rid of your muffin top - the body fat that sits just above your waistband. But this is so wrong!

Firstly, we know that targeted exercises cannot spot reduce fat in specific body parts. But secondly, overdoing exercises that grow the oblique muscles, will only make the sides of your  waist grow out, making your waistline even thicker. The result is a blocky looking torso… great if you’re a guy, but not so good if you’re trying to enhance your hourglass curves.

So to get a smaller waist, avoid these exercises:

  • Russian twist
  • Dumbbell Side Bend
  • Oblique V crunch
  • Heel Touches
  • Plank Hip Dips
  • Side Crunch
  • Triangle Crunch
  • Side Plank Hip Lifts
  • Cable Twist

Instead stick to high rep body weight exercises that target the rectus abdominis (six pack) and transverse abdominis. Continue reading to find out which are the best exercises.

Best Core Exercises For A Smaller Waist

Target the Rectus Abdominis

This is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles & typically what people call ‘six pack abs’. They key is to target both the lower & upper part of this abdominal muscle. Most people only do crunches which work the upper part & neglect the lower belly, which is where women tend to hold the most stubborn body fat - also known as the ‘belly pooch’. This lower belly workout will strengthen & tighten your core.

Here are all the best core exercises to target the ‘six pack’ muscles to tighten your waistline:

Crunch

Toe Touch

V Crunch

Leg Raises

Knee Tuck

Flutter Kicks

Scissor Kicks

Jack Knife

Target the Transverse Abdominis (inner core)

The inner core is responsible for helping you balance, perform everyday movements & helps with good posture. So it’s just as important to train this part of your core as well as the superficial ‘six pack’ abs.

When this muscle is weak, it can lead to poor posture & low back pain. It’s responsible for holding in all your organs & when you don’t have very good control over this muscle, we tend to ‘let it all hang out’ so-to-speak, which can make our waistline look bigger. So remember to stand up straight & be conscious of your posture.

A great secret technique that works your inner core & can literally shave 2-3 inches off your waistline in just a few weeks, is the stomach vacuum. Watch this stomach vacuum tutorial to find out how you can get a smaller waist by practicing this move every morning.

All of the exercises mentioned above, especially the ones that focus on raising the legs, will also target the inner core too. But to really strengthen the abdominal muscles & protect the spine, we need to get good at ‘bracing’ our core… (think: ‘stiffening’ your torso if you get punched in your gut!)

These moves below are some more ‘bracing’ exercises that are great for the transverse abdominis to help you get a smaller waist:

Plank

Bird Dog

Foam Roller Knee Tuck

Foam Roller Pike

Stomach Vacuum Tutorial

Strong compound lifts for a smaller waist

Exercises that isolate the core muscles, like the ones above are obviously great for building strength in your core & keeping your waistline tight. But did you know that the squat, deadlift & hip thrust are also great ab exercises? Crazy, huh?

Squat

Deadlift

Hip Thrust

That’s because they are compound movements that require you to use multiple muscle groups & brace your core. So the stronger you can get at these moves, the stronger & tighter your core will become, which can help you get a smaller waist.

And need I tell you that these three compound exercises are also GREAT for sculpting sexy hourglass curves & growing your booty? Because focusing on building strong & round glutes will also maximise your waist-to-hip ratio & create the illusion of a smaller waist! BAM.

Another bonus is that adding strong compound lifts into your workouts helps you burn more calories & maintain lower body fat levels (yey for small waist!). Lifting weights elevates your metabolism even after you finish your workout (as opposed to cardio, where you only burn calories for the duration of the workout). Which leads us onto the age-old question…

TIP: Remember, the more you work a muscle under a heavy load, the more it will grow. And same goes for how often you train that muscle too. So be strategic about where you want to ‘add’ muscle to your body. If you want to create an hourglass figure AND maintain a smaller waist, then training your abs every day is way too much. Isolated ab workouts should be kept to 2 sessions per week maximum… especially if you are also doing compound movements in your workout routine, because they work the core tremendously too!

To Cardio or Not To Cardio

Many people believe that increasing your cardio is the best way to lose belly fat. But I believe there is a better way.

We already know that lifting weights is far more effective at burning calories. Cardio falls short because although it might aid in weight loss, it does absolutely NOTHING for shaping & sculpting your body. Lifting weights is the only way you can tone & tighten the muscles of your waistline… and that’s whats going to give you a smaller waist.

We’ve also established that you can’t out-train a bad diet & that the key to a smaller waistline is lowering your body fat levels by cleaning up your diet. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do cardio at all, it just means that it doesn’t need to be your primary focus when trying to get a smaller waist.

So what kind of cardio is ideal to help you lose excess body fat & shrink your waistline?

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is best, because it’s short, it’s fast & if you do this STRONG HIIT workout, you’ll torch body fat AND sculpt curves at the same time! 2 sessions a week is more than enough, if you focus on a healthy diet & prioritise lifting weights in your weekly workout regime.

More Tips For Getting A Smaller Waist

The Waist Trainer Scam

There is no magic pill or quick fix to get a smaller waist.

Waist trainers, corsets, belly wraps, skinny teas, fat-burners… Don’t be fooled by gimmicky marketing on social media, promising you results that sound to good to be true! Here’s some great words of wisdom:

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”

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You have to be prepared to do the work, be consistent & be patient because results don’t come right away.

Dress To Flatter Your Curves

When we feel good about our appearance, we’re generally happier & more confident.

Clothes can either flatter our bodies & boost our confidence or… do the exact opposite. So before you give up & succumb to the scams mentioned above, take a look at your wardrobe & see if making any of these little tweaks can help you create the illusion of a smaller waist, while you start putting in the work in the gym & in the kitchen:

  • Wrap dresses & A-line skirts that cinch in your waist & flow out over your hips will accentuate hourglass curves & create the illusion of a smaller waist
  • High-waisted pants & skirts that sit above your hips will hold in your lower belly & muffin top. And the higher waistband will draw attention to your natural waistline (belly button level), which is the narrowest part of the torso
  • Peplum tops & skirts will create volume around the hips which increases the waist-to-hip ratio & accentuates a smaller waist
  • Circle
    Wide belts that cinch in the waist (at belly button level) will draw attention to your natural waistline & create the illusion of hourglass curves & a smaller waist

Avoid:

  • Baggy & loose ‘tent-like’ clothing that makes your waistline disappear
  • Low rise pants & skirts that cut your waist off at the widest part, because this will only dig into your ‘muffin top’ & accentuate a thicker waistline

Managing Stress For A Smaller Waist

Sounds a bit random, huh? How can managing stress actually help you get a smaller waist?

Well remember how I said,

“Weight loss = 5% exercise, 20% diet, 75% lifestyle & stress management”

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Well, stress is prevalent & ever-pervasive in our modern Western life. It has almost become so ‘normal’ that we don’t even see it anymore. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is constantly affecting our every day lives & well-being.

Mental & emotional stress, as well as poor lifestyle choices are making us sicker & fatter.

All these things increase our stress levels (whether physical, mental or emotional) and have an adverse affect on our physiology. Our stress hormone (cortisol) increases, which down regulates our metabolism, makes us gain body fat or makes it very difficult to lose it… and where we tend to store this ‘stress’ type of body fat is around our torso.

So to start improving your well-being & keep your stress hormone balanced, you need to look at your MIND. Watch this video on how to get your dream body by incorporating these practical well-being tips:

  • Get into nature daily
  • Meditate every day for at least 15 minutes
  • Practice yoga or mindfulness
  • Prioritise ‘me’ time & cultivate your passions
  • Start a ‘positive mindset’ journal

How To Get A Smaller Waist In A Nutshell

  • Lower your body fat levels by cleaning up your diet
  • Tighten up your waistline by doing the right core strengthening exercises
  • Sculpt muscles in the right places by lifting weights to give you hourglass curves
  • Circle
    Avoid scams & quick fixes!
  • Circle
    Dress to accentuate the waist-to-hip ratio
  • Circle
    Change your lifestyle & manage stress to optimise your metabolism

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Leave me a comment:

  • Ida Harris says:

    Hi Shelley,
    What is the best waist trainer ? Can you wear a waist trainer all day?

  • Mary says:

    Would you recommend any oblique stretching to improve a naturally blocky waistline? I have low body fat and a very clean diet but my waistline is pretty much a straight line from my rib cage to my hip bones. I’ve been doing your booty workouts to increase the size of my glute muscles and increase my hip to waiste ratio! Thank you, I really enjoy everything you post!

    • Hey Mary,

      Apologies for the late reply! So stretching in general is great, but I don;t think that specific oblique stretching would do much in the way off slimming your waistline. Your torso shape is determined by genetics and if you have a naturally athletic straight up and down waist, then trying to minimize it, isn’t really possible. Sorry! But I’d rather give you 100% truth than fill your head with unrealistic expectations… especially since you’ve said you’ve already got low body fat levels. BUT… what you can do is build muscle in other areas to create the illusion of a smaller waist. Growing your glutes is definitely a good idea as you say, to increase your waist-to-hip ratio. But other muscles that are super important to target are your shoulders and back! Specifically your side deltoid – the best exercise for this is dumbbell lateral raises. And also your lats (back) targeted with wide grip lat pull downs, pull ups and dumbbell single arm rows!

      Lastly, check out this video if you haven’t already:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfkVMW1ZTpM&t=74s

      The stomach vacuum is incredible for shrinking your waistline and will definitely help!

      Good luck 🙂

  • Milka says:

    Hi! will the stomach vacuum just flatten your stomach or create a curvier appearence on the side of your waist?

    • Hi Milka,

      Perfecting the stomach vacuum will help to tighten your core and give you a smaller waist circumference and yes, it’ll help to minimise the sides of your waist to create curves. But please note that this exercise will not get rid of excess belly fat. So to make the vacuum more effective, you should also take measures to exercise, eat healthy and de-stress to lose any excess belly fat too.

      Hope that helps!

  • Erica says:

    Hi, Shelley

    Your exercise advice on here is phenomenal! I’ve been perusing the internet looking for ab slimming exercise and this is the only site that has actually made sense and given the vacuum its due credit! Thanks!

    My only question is, to start lifting weights as you’ve described with the bar, what poundage to begin? I thought it looked like your weights said 5 lbs/piece, but I couldn’t be sure.

    Thanks so much!

    • Hey Erica,

      Thanks for the awesome feedback! So happy you find my content helpful 🙂

      How heavy you should lift is totally individual to you. What might be easy for one person, could be challenging for another. You want to choose a weight that is moderately heavy for you, whilst maintaining good form and full range of motion on each exercise. It shouldn’t be so heavy that you can’t perform the exercise but also, not so light that you aren’t challenging your muscles at all.

      Ideally, if you a performing 3-4 sets of 10-15 reps for any exercise, then the last 3 or so reps of your last few sets should feel super challenging to the point of near failure, where your muscles are burning and fatiguing – very challenging but not impossible. If you fail and can’t lift the weight early on in the set, you’ve gone too heavy. Equally, if you can perform all sets and reps with ease (even if they feel challenging) you’ve gone to light.

      It requires a little trial and error to find your most challenging weight. Aim to find that sweet spot and then consistently beat it by going heavier as you progress!

      Don’t look to what other people are lifting, focus solely on your own abilities.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Stephanie says:

    Hey Shelley,
    I recently came across your channel and I’m loving your content and workout videos so far! Regarding exercises to avoid, what’s your take on bicycle crunches? I find that they work my obliques but I wanted to ask a professional. I suffer from hip dips and don’t have a big booty, so I’m really careful on the ab workouts that I do. I’m striving for an hourglass figure and I know it’s going to be difficult but I’m willing to try!

    • Hi Stephanie,

      So yes, bicycle crunches do work the obliques, but they are definitely not as bad as weighted side bends or oblique crunches. If you are looking to keep your waistline tight and small, I would avoid doing bicycle crunches every day! Focus on the exercises in this article but throwing in the odd bicycle crunch once in a while won’t do any harm either. It’s only when you overdo the oblique exercises, do them frequently and then with added weights that it starts to make the waist blocky. In short, focus on other crunch variations but no harm in occasionally doing bicycle crunches. Hope that helps!

  • Jennie says:

    Hey Shelley, I’ve recently been looking into weighted hoola hoops and their ‘ability’ to tone and slim down your waistline. What’s your take on this? Does the extra added weights actually reduce your waist or will it cause the formation of a bulkier appearance? Would a normal hoola hoop be better than a weighted one or vice versa? Many thanks!

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Jennie, whilst hoola hoops can be a lot of fun, they really aren’t going to make any difference to the size of your waistline. Any exercises whether weighted or not, that use the oblique muscles (much like a hoola hoop does) will grow a blockier waist over time – especially if you overdo it! The only exercise that effectively shrinks your waistline is a stomach vacuum. Coupling this with ab exercises that target your transverse abdominal and rectus muscles, as in this article, will create a smaller, tighter core.

      However, exercise is not the most important factor when trying to slim down the waist. It comes down to 90% diet, stress and sleep. Exercise only contributes 10%! So make those a priority first 🙂

      Hope that helps!

  • Irini says:

    Hi Shelley!! Can i have your workout program?I need you for my trainer!!!!!

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Haha Irini, I don’t do personal training anymore but my Strong Curves Guide is coming out soon and will have a full 12 week program with it 🙂

  • Neha says:

    Hello, your article is highly impressive! awesome!

  • Minna says:

    Hi! I was wondering if you knew whether fire hydrants affect obliques. I’m trying to grow my hips and don’t want my waist to get wider, but sometimes I lose the feeling in my side glutes while doing them and “fear” that I’m overworking my obliques. Thank you!!

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Minna, thanks for your question. In my opinion, fire hydrants can be a tricky exercise for a beginner to master. Every body is different in terms of muscle development so while it might work great for one person, it may not for another. This particular exercise will work your core also as you try to stabilise yourself during the reps. If you have particularly weak glutes and overall strength, you may very well feel this more in places other than your glutes. Also, the technique can be tricky to master if you want to isolate only your glute muscles, as any twisting motion (notice if your torso moves or contorts while you perform the exercise) will activate your obliques to a degree. You may also be trying to lift your leg too high for your level of mobility – this too can put extra strain on the obliques. My best advice is, if you feel it in your obliques more than your glutes, then don’t do this exercise. Perhaps stick to other abduction exercises like clam shells or seated abductions until you develop better strength and conditioning through the glute muscles.

      In any case, I wouldn’t overthink or fear activating your obliques at all. They are one of the many important muscles of your entire core and as with any compound exercise, they will get targeted to a degree – it’s unavoidable! Weak obliques is not ideal, just as overdeveloped ones are too. When it comes to keeping your waist small, the key is simply not to over train your obliques, meaning; avoid weighted isolation exercises that target the obliques and avoid training them too frequently. Basically, ‘weights + frequency’ = increase muscle growth. But a few bicycles or fir hydrants here or there won’t ruin your results 😉

      Hope that helps!

  • Sarah says:

    Hey, I just wanted to input on my experience with cardio having been a swimmer for about 10 years. You mentioned that it will absolutely not shape your body or benefit your figure? You may already know that the sport is mostly cardio- if not all. It very well did strengthen and cinch my waist/core and made my stomach quite tiny and very strong as well as gave me a very nice booty haha! XD It would be nice to have the level of cardio specified and not scared away new trainers, because some cardio training- if performed strategically and seriously- will definitely shape the body and shave the waist well. Just wanted to share! Thank you 🙂

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hey Sarah, thanks for sharing! Perhaps swimming is not the best example. In fact, swimming is one of the few forms of cardio that I endorse! It’s great for cardiovascular health without putting strain through the joints like traditional cardio does – which is great for very overweight or weak people to avoid injury. Of course, any form of exercise will help to change your body composition to *some* degree. But lifestyle measures, stress reduction, deep delta sleep and nutrition are by far, more effective at reducing body fat compared to exercise. While swimming is mainly back and core intensive, it will use the resistance of the water as force to grow muscle in those areas – clearly… look at the bodies of professional swimmers! Wow! So I don’t really count swimming as ‘traditional’ cardio such as running on a treadmill per se. But for the average women (who is not an athletic swimmer such as yourself), who most likely has high body fat levels and low muscle mass, perhaps metabolic issues and who cares more about losing belly fat, growing their booty and toning their arms, swimming is not the *optimal* choice (it can help a bit, but still not optimal). Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do cardio if you enjoy it. It simply means, don’t do it as means to an end because you think it’s the optimal way to lose body fat… it’s not. Weights is king for good reason – if it was not, all bodybuilders would swim to look like they do. I’m obviously referring to ‘changing body composition’ as building muscle and losing body fat by the way, just to clarify if I wasn’t thorough enough in my article 🙂

  • Honey says:

    Thank you!

  • Bree says:

    This article is super informative, I’ve been doing almost all oblique targeted workouts thinking they’ll help cinch my waist… You recommend several workouts that target the upper abs, but I’ve heard those can actually widen the waist as well.. what’s your take on this? The last thing I want to do is widen my waist, as it’s already not super small. Thanks!

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Bree,

      The bottom line when it comes to widening your waist is:

      1) over-training i.e. excessively training your core every day. If you want solid wash board abs with deep definition, train them frequently. But I think this is extreme. 2 x core workouts a week are more than enough to keep your waistline tight and toned without over doing it.

      2) training your core with weights like, dumbbell side bends, med ball Russian Twists or Cable crunches – the more resistance you add, the more those muscles will grow (that means a thicker and wider waist)

      3) isolating and overdoing the oblique exercises. The reason I mention this muscle and not the transverse ‘six pack’ or upper abdominals, is because from a front view, your obliques being on the side of your torso, are what would give you a wider looking waist if you focused on growing this muscle. The upper abdominals – not really. Obviously, targeted weight training will make any muscle grow – that’s the whole point. But doing a few crunches here and there isn’t going to make your waist look wider.

      If you personally have a more blocky athletic build naturally, then keep doing your core workouts but don’t over do them. Focus more on your glute, legs and shoulder workouts to build muscle in those areas, which will in turn create the illusion of a smaller waist. It’s about accepting your natural shape and then enhancing it with exercises that will target the right muscles for your body goals. Hope that helps!

  • Saide says:

    Hi Shelly, thank you so much for this article 😊 I have been trying to have abs, lose weight and have a slimmer waist (especially my love handles near my hips) for so long and it’s never worked out. I find that there was no change whatsoever.

    I tried to eat less, skipping breakfast and maybe lunch and trying to have a smaller dinner. That hasn’t been working, (I may have also been having a bit of unhealthy snacks afterwards too 😂). I have been a bit stressed that my stomach wasn’t slim and haven’t been getting much sleep either. I also tried working out for an hour each day targeting the core and nothing! I’m going to be trying your suggested workouts and tips now!

    Although I have one question, how much should I be eating every day? And what quantity at what times? Also, now I’m used to eating less, is this ok? Or will I have to eat a bit more to achieve my goals? Thanks, kind regards.

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Saide,

      I hear you – this is a very common problem for a lot of women. You are not alone! But I want to remind you of one thing… the most important thing when it comes to fat loss, especially around your torso or ‘love handle’ area:

      You cannot spot reduce body fat and in fact, exercise has very little to do with fat loss.

      This may shock you because every video you see about getting a smaller waist tells you to do core workouts and eat less. But this is WRONG (and obviously hasn’t been working for you).

      I cannot give you personalised diet advice over the internet without knowing your medical history, current circumstances and personal stats. However, my video, “How To Get Rid Of Muffin Top” will explain everything you need to know on the topic:

      https://youtu.be/iCz7dIeW2no

      And one thing i will emphatically reiterate, calorie restriction is not the answer because when you eat the right types of food and follow a lifestyle that will balance your hormones for optimal weight management, you do not need to eat less to get results. More will be coming in my Ultimate Strong Curves Guide which will explain how to go about your diet according to your goals and body type, so stay tuned for that 🙂

  • T says:

    This is great thank you 🙂

  • Maya says:

    THANK YOU, GREAT POST! I’m so glad to find this. Most exercises are mislabeled as producing a slimming waist, but they widen obliques.

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Exactly right… the opposite effect that you want unfortunately! Glad you appreciate this article 🙂

  • Bianca says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m in search of guidance and this was very helpful.

  • Gabriela Encarnacion says:

    Wow! After I thought I was doing everything right, turns out I was doing the exact opposite lol. This definitely helped me a lot so thanks. A question though. I don’t know if you know who Chloe Ting is but she is a youtuber with free workout programs and she’s practically blowing up on Youtube and many people are saying her workouts have helped them a lot and so I wanted to ask you if you think her workouts are good for loosing belly fat and waist.

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Gabriela

      Thanks for the positive feedback! 🙂

      I’m not too familiar with Chloe Ting – I tend not to follow fitness influencers sorry! The only thing i will say is that exercise has very little to do with fat loss, especially around the belly. It comes down to stress reduction, nutrient dense whole food diet and quality sleep in order to optimise your hormones so your body can get into the fat-burning mode. Exercise will make you fitter, stronger and weights will help you sculpt muscle.

      Hope that helps!

  • A.B says:

    You are actually one of the best fitness influencers there are! I found this article SO helpful… so THANK YOU!!

  • Inga says:

    It’s funny how the last exercise video of yours I’ve done contains heel taps and side planks even though you said in this article to avoid it 😀
    But I guess this falls under “no harm whilst in done in moderation”.
    I wanted to add to this article that yes, decreasing and managing stress levels is important for losing belly fat, and cardio (like running outdoors with great music) is one of the best ways to do so. It is proven to decrease stress hormones and boost serotonin and other beneficial hormones. I can second that from my personal experience. So, yes – Cardio can be beneficial, not only for short-term calorie burn. 🙂
    I really enjoyed your article and will definitely follow some of the advice, though unfortunately I haven’t gotten a grip of the stomach vacuums yet. So thank you!

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Inga,

      Yes exactly – no harm whilst done in moderation. A few heel taps won’t destroy your goals! That’s great that cardio works for you and I’m happy you got the results you wanted. Every one is different, right? A little cardio is fine, many people love it and find it stress relieving. But there are many people who don’t and would have better success by reducing or avoiding excessive cardio completely. Gentle cardio that doesn’t elevate cortisol in people who struggle with belly fat and have metabolic dysfunction and/or adrenal fatigue (which is most people actually!) is ok, but the emphasis is avoiding excessive and strenuous cardio.

      Hope that clarifies!

  • tanya says:

    hey great article, I loved the honesty. I just have one question if I want a tiny waist do Russian twists and other oblique workouts really make them bulkier? what if I am not doing added weights and I am only training that muscle group every other day?

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Tanya,

      Doing Russian twists or any other oblique-focused exercises every other day would counts as excessive in my book, especially if you want to maintain a small waistline. Definitely no need to do them weighted! I would suggest once a week is more than enough to keep up with your goals without compromising your waistline. There really is no need to train your core every other day either – don’t neglect your other muscle groups and stronger compound lifts like squats, lunges and dead lifts – they work the core too 🙂

  • Diana says:

    Hey, I have to say this article was very helpful and informative because I’m on the right track since I’ve been doing those certain exercises for transverse & rectus abdominis. But I do want to know if plank hip dips will really make your waist wider ? (idk i’ve seen it included in many waist workouts so i’m confused)

    • Shelley Darlington says:

      Hi Diana, glad you found the article helpful 🙂

      Although this exercise targets the obliques, doing the odd plank dips every so often won’t make your waist wider. It’s more about the intensity with which you do them – every day and/or weighted would definitely widen your waist over time.

      It’s important to note: exercises that target the obliques (or any exercises for that matter) will have little to NO effect on losing body fat in that area. Unfortunately, all the generic fitness advice tells you to do oblique exercises to shrink your waist… what can I say? They’re all wrong 😉

      So if you tend to hold body fat around your torso and want to maintain a small waistline, it’d be a good idea to watch this video too:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCz7dIeW2no

      Hope that helps!

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