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How To Get Rid Of A Muffin Top: The 28-Day Muffin Top Challenge

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If you’ve ever binged the series, Seinfeld, you probably remember the classic episode where Elaine had the idea to sell only the muffin tops instead of the entire muffin, as the muffin tops are generally the coveted, delicious part of the muffin with the “stump“ being the very distant second-place finisher.

You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy a good muffin top. Indeed, the crown of the muffin that billows over the edges of the pan, free from the confinement of the muffin tin, has a delectable texture and taste.

However, when it comes to the body, the “muffin top“ is typically an undesirable trait, with many people wondering how to get rid of a muffin top.

A muffin top refers to “love handles“ or an overhang of excess body fat and belly around your waist that extends down over the top of your pants. 

But, how do you lose a muffin top? Are there muffin top exercises you can do?

In this article, we will discuss what causes a muffin top, how to get rid of a muffin top, and potential exercises to lose a muffin top.

We will cover: 

  • What Is a Muffin Top?
  • How to Get Rid Of A Muffin Top
  • The 28-Day Muffin Top Challenge

Let’s get started!

A person pointing at their belly fat.

What Is a Muffin Top?

When it comes to the body, a “muffin top“ is not a technical term for diagnosis. Rather, it is a colloquial, tongue-in-cheek way of referring to excess body fat around your waistline that might have overhang or poof out relative to your waistband. 

Much like the top of a muffin contained within a muffin pan, the body muffin top is like an explosion of excess “material” (body fat vs muffin batter) that falls out of line or cannot be contained in the same silhouette as the “container” (clothing vs baking dish).

Essentially, a muffin top is just excess body fat, much like excess body fat anywhere else in your body; therefore, getting rid of a muffin top really just boils down to losing body fat.

This, in turn, will also reduce your risk of obesity, which is a condition marked by excessive body fat or a high body fat percentage.

Moreover, obesity is associated with adverse health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.

A person pinching their muffin top belly fat.

How to Get Rid Of A Muffin Top

Unfortunately, most people who are looking to get rid of a muffin top want a quick-fix solution that will magically melt away the excess fat around the belly and waist.

However, just as you cannot spot reduce belly fat, love handles, or “bat wings” (excess fat under the triceps on the backside of your upper arms), there are no cure-all muffin top exercises that specifically tone and get rid of your muffin top.

It is absolutely possible to lose your muffin top, but rather than this involving a specific “muffin top exercise and diet plan,” you have to lose your muffin top just as you would lose weight and body fat anywhere in your body: through a sensible, disciplined, comprehensive diet and exercise program.

To lose one pound of stored body fat, whether excess fat exists as a muffin top or anywhere else in your body, you have to generate a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories.

Therefore, if you want to lose 1-2 pounds per week, which is the maximum recommended rate of sustainable non-medically-supervised weight loss according to the CDC, this means that you need to eat 3500 to 7000 fewer calories per week than you are burning. 

A notebook that says diet plan, an apple, pencil, dumbbell and measuring tape.

This works out to a daily caloric deficit of 500 to 1000 calories.

Keep in mind that the number of calories you burn per day isn’t just the number of calories that you expend doing planned exercise or deliberate workouts. 

Your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) is the sum of the number of calories you burn doing deliberate exercise like running, lifting weights, cycling, or HIIT workouts, plus the calories you burn doing physical activity or any type of daily living activities above the level of energy expenditure from just lying still in a bed all day.

It also includes your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the number of calories you would burn if you did just lie in a bed all day (essentially the minimum number of calories your body needs just to sustain your basic essential functions to maintain life), plus the number of calories you burn digesting and absorbing the food you eat.

In some, there are four factors that together determine your total daily energy expenditure:

TDEE = Exercise Calories + Physical Activity For Life Activities + BMR + Thermic Effect of Food

Check out our TDEE Daily Calorie Calculator to estimate your basal metabolic rate and your total daily energy expenditure.

A tally of calories of foods eaten and a calculator.

Therefore, to get rid of your muffin top, you will want to increase that total daily energy expenditure number and decrease your total daily caloric intake so that there is a net deficit between the two, such that you are burning more calories than you are taking in.

With that said, there are specific dietary adjustments and exercises you can do that will potentially better support fat loss, particularly in terms of losing belly fat and potentially losing a muffin top.

In terms of diet, not all calories are necessarily created equally in terms of the effect that they have on your body composition and appearance.

For example, let’s imagine the case of someone who needs to consume 2000 calories per day in order to maintain his or her weight. Therefore, a 1500-calorie diet will result in a net calorie deficit of 500 calories per day, even if no exercise is added to the routine.

However, let’s contrast two very different 1500-calorie diets.

A variety of healthy food.

Say person A is eating 1500 calories per day of lean proteins, tons of vegetables, some fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, low-fat dairy, and some whole grains.

They only drink water and really don’t have any processed foods.

On the other hand, person B also consumes only 1500 calories a day, but his or her diet consists of processed foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, soda, alcoholic beverages, candy and sweets, refined grains, processed meats, fried foods, and foods with artificial sweeteners, chemicals, fillers, and added sugars.

Although both of our fictitious subjects are consuming the same number of calories per day, the effect of the foods and beverages consumed in the diet on the body will be starkly different because the diet of person B is inflammatory in nature and can increase belly fat.

In terms of muffin top exercises, just doing a bunch of sit-ups or crunches isn’t going to get rid of a muffin top. You want to maximize your caloric expenditure by doing longer aerobic workouts, HIIT workouts, and resistance training. 

With that said, adding core-strengthening exercises will help develop the muscles underneath the fat, forming your muffin top. 

People doing elbow planks.

Aim to meet the physical activity for adults set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which are to accumulate either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity cardio exercise per week.

28-Day Muffin Top Challenge

Want to try our 28-day muffin top challenge? Remember to also focus on a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water.

MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
20 minutes of cardio of your choice15-20 minute walk plus 30-second plank15-minute HIIT workoutTotal-body strength training plus core workout30 minutes of cardio of your choiceRest: Focus on healthy meal planning for the weekTotal-body strength training plus core workout
30 minutes of cardio of your choice20-minute walk plus 2 x 30-second plank15-minute HIIT workoutTotal-body strength training plus core workout40 minutes of cardio of your choiceRest: Focus on healthy meal planning for the weekTotal-body strength training plus core workout
40 minutes of cardio of your choice20-minute walk plus 60-second plank and 30-second side planks20-minute HIIT workoutTotal-body strength training plus core workout50 minutes of cardio of your choiceRest: Focus on healthy meal planning for the weekTotal-body strength training plus core workout
50 minutes of cardio of your choice20-minute walk plus 60-second plank and 30-second side planks20-minute HIIT workoutTotal-body strength training plus core workout60 minutes of cardio of your choiceRest: Focus on healthy meal planning for the weekTotal-body strength training plus core workout
Three people doing shoulder tap planks.

You’ve got this!

For some help with figuring out the workouts for your challenge, check out the following guides to give you some ideas:

What Is Cardio? A Complete Guide To Cardio and Why You Should Do It

8 Awesome HIIT Workouts You Can Do At Home

Bodyweight Workout: No Equipment Necessary

12 Great Core Exercises

The Plank Exercise Explained In Detail

People doing aerobics.
Photo of author
Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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