An Energizing Workout for Getting Rid of Your Muffin Top

Remember when the phrase 'Muffin Top' referred to the actual top of a muffin? Now those words elicit a less-than-appetizing visual. It's an ugly phrase, but, unfortunately, it does a pretty good job of describing that annoying fat that spills over the top of our jeans.

It's also unfortunate that our bodies tend to store excess fat around the abs and waist, especially as we get older and, for women, when they hit menopause.

Let's get the muffin top off your body and back into the bakery where it belongs.

Common Causes of Belly Fat

There are a number of contributors to excess belly fat. The most common ones include: 

  • Menopause — Blame your hormones for this one because, as estrogen declines, so does your resting metabolic rate (RMR). That lack of estrogen during menopause also changes how fat is distributed around your body, meaning it migrates to your belly. 
  • Stress — Not only does stress cause emotional eating, it actually causes our bodies to store more abdominal fat. 
  • Age — As we get older, not only do our hormones change, but our metabolisms change as well and we don't burn as many calories as we used to. Plus, injuries or medical conditions can make exercise challenging, which may contribute to being more sedentary. 
  • Too Many Calories — Let's not forget that eating too much can, of course, make you gain weight and some of that weight may end up around your abs.

What Studies Show About Getting Rid of the Muffin Top

If you've been trying to spot train your abs to get rid of belly fat, you're probably beyond frustrated because ab exercises just don't work. The body draws energy from the entire body when you exercise, not just the muscles you're working.

So what does work? The answer won't surprise you: A healthy, low-calorie diet and exercise.

In one study, published in the Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, experts studied three group of participants. One group changed their diets and did treadmill workouts, one group did the same along with strength training and one was a control group. The group with the greatest weight loss, including abdominal fat was the group who did it all: cardio, strength training, and dietary changes.

Bottom line? You need to lose overall body fat to get rid of belly fat and this workout has it all.

Your Calorie-Burning, Total-Body Workout

This workout includes everything you need for a calorie-burning total body workout. The high-intensity cardio helps you burn calories and increase your afterburn, which means burning more calories all day long. 

The total body core and strength exercises involve multiple muscle groups and require extra energy, which means you'll burn even more calories. The more calories you burn, the more we can target that belly fat.


See your doctor if you have any illnesses or medical conditions.

Equipment Needed

Various weighted dumbbells, a kettlebell (optional) and an exercise ball 

How To

  • Warm up with at least 5 minutes of cardio before you workout
  • Perform the exercises as shown, one after the other, resting only when you need to
  • Do one circuit for a - something workout or repeat the circuit for a longer, more intense workout
  • During the high-intensity intervals, try to work at a Level 7-8 on this perceived exertion scale
  • Back off or take breaks if you get breathless or feel you're working too hard

Plyo Lunges

Plyo lunge
Plyo Lunge. Ben Goldstein
  • Begin in a staggered stance, right leg forward, and left leg back. Make sure your feet are far enough apart that your knees bend to 90 degrees.
  • Bend the knees into a lunge, going as low as you can and sending the body straight down (not forward).
  • As you press up, jump in the air and switch feet, bringing the left foot forward.
  • Continue jumping and switching feet for 30-60 seconds.

One Legged Lunge With a Reach

Lunge on the Ball with a Reach
Lunge on the Ball. Paige Waehner
  • Place one foot on an exercise ball (stand next to a wall if you need help with balance) and hold a weight in the same hand.
  • Roll the ball out, bending the front knee and reaching out with the weight.
  • Roll the ball in, stand up and repeat for 16 reps on each side.

Knee Smash

Knee Smash
Knee Smash. Paige Waehner
  • With the weight on the right leg, take the arms up and pull the arms down while lifting the left knee.
  • Really contract the abs as you 'smash' the elbows down to work your core.
  • Go slowly to get more core work or speed the exercise up to get more cardio.
  • Repeat for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Speed Skaters

Speed skaters
Speed skaters. Ben Goldstein
  • Leap out to the right as far as you can, crossing the left foot behind you.
  • At the same time, reach the left arm towards the outside of your right foot.
  • Repeat to the left, going as low as you can for 30-60 seconds.

Goblet Squat With Rotation

Goblet Squat with Rotation
Goblet Squat with Rotation. Paige Waehner
  • Holding a kettlebell or a heavy weight, squat, sending the hips behind you.
  • Bring the elbows to the inside of the thighs, if you can.
  • Press through the heels to stand up and pivot to the right as you take the weight up and overhead.
  • Lower and repeat, alternating sides for 16 reps.

Pushups With a Side Plank

Pushup side plank
Pushup side plank. Ben Goldstein
  • In a pushup position, on the knees or toes, lower into a pushup going as low as you can.
  • Keep the back straight and the core engaged.
  • As you push up, rotate on the feet and take the arm straight up in a side plank.
  • Do another pushup and repeat on the other side for 30-60 seconds.

Band Jumping Jacks With a Lat Pull

Jumping Jacks with Resistance Band Lat Pulls
Jumping Jacks with a Lat Pull. Ben Goldstein
  • Holding a resistance band overhead, jump the feet out.
  • At the same time open the hands, bringing your elbows towards your waist.
  • Return to start and repeat for 30-60 seconds.

Power Squat With a Hammer Curl

Power Hammer Curls
Power Squat Hammer Curls. Paige Waehner
  • Hold heavyweights and slightly swing the weights back as you lower into a squat, pulling the weights up into a hammer curl.
  • Stand up, with the arms still curled and slowly lower the weights for 4 counts.
  • Repeat for 16 reps.

Core Kickbacks for the Triceps on Knees or Toes

Core Kickback
Core Kickback. Paige Waehner
  • Get into a plank position, on the toes (harder) or knees (easier) and hold a weight in the right hand.
  • Holding the plank position, bring the elbow up next to the body and, holding it there, extend the arm out into a kickback.
  • Repeat for 30 seconds on each side.
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