Three Part Approach to Burning Lower Belly Fat

Battling lower belly fat? You’re not alone. This is one of the most common trouble spots for both men and women. It’s naturally the first place many people accumulate fat and often the last place it comes off of when you’re leaning up. Lower belly fat is particularly tricky because there isn’t a lot of muscle mass in the lower abdomen to help make the area look firm and it’s also one of the places most affected by the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to adding fat directly to your lower abdomen. To get rid of the extra flub that has decided to camp beneath your belly button, you don’t just need to try to out-work it; you need to out-smart it. Here are three things that you can do to outsmart the bulge and get rid of it for good.

1. Add direct lower abdominal exercises to your workout routine.

One of the best ways to make an area look and feel more firm is to strengthen the lean muscle in the area. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be spot reducing the fat; that’s unfortunately not possible. But you will be adding firm lean muscle mass to the area, which will help the area appear tighter. Add these three movements to your workout plan today. I suggest performing all three, three times per week for four weeks, to have noticeable results.

  1. Weighted Leg Lifts – three sets of 12
  2. Flutter Kicks – three rounds of 30-60 seconds
  3. Reverse Crunch – three rounds of 10-30 reps

2. Sleep Seven to Eight Hours per night

Doesn’t get much easier than that! Yes, you need to sleep at night; your trainer said so. Cortisol is one of the biggest factors for stubborn lower belly fat. Getting enough sleep at night is one of the best things you can do to get your cortisol levels under control. Other ways you can get your cortisol levels down are by taking walks outside, laughing more, reducing stress in your lifestyle or workplace, and consuming healthy cortisol fighting fats like olive oil, raw almonds, avocado, and coconut oil.

Interval Cardio

Nothing burns more fat in less time than High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This can be done on your favorite piece of cardio equipment, though I personally recommend the spin bike because it’s the safest for sprinting. Warm up for five minutes, then repeat the following pattern four to eight times: 15 second all-out sprint, followed by a 45 second cruise. That will take a whopping four to eight minutes and will have your metabolism boosted for the next 48 hours. If you don’t like interval cardio then steady state cardio or endurance cardio is also effective at burning fat and lowering cortisol levels, but just more time-consuming. Bottom line: sometimes you just need to move more!

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Three Reasons I like Three Day Training Splits

Okay guys; I get a lot of questions anytime I talk about only training three days per week. For those of you, who much like me, are used to being in the gym six to seven days per week and sometimes even multiple times per day, that sounds ridiculous! How can I build a great physique in just three days per week? Well, I had all of the same reservations the first time my coach Bret Contreras had me do this. It freaked me OUT. It took a lot of mental discipline to commit to the program, but I can say that I learned a lot from it, I made some great changes to my physique, and it’s something I recommend to a lot of people now after trying it. Here are my three favorite things about a three-day split:

Less Gym Time

This is definitely the most obvious reason. When I originally tried a three day split for the first time, it was after I had competed in a string of IFBB Bikini Competitions and I was quite frankly just sick of the gym. I still wanted to make improvements to my physique and continue working towards my goals, but I was so tired of the routine of going to the gym. When your motivation starts to fade, you need to recognize it and make adjustments, unless you’re preparing for a contest that’s coming up. Then you need to listen to your body and mind. If you’re normally on-fire for the gym, it used to be the highlight of your day, and now it’s just another box to check, you probably need to take a break or at least back down on your training frequency.  When I switched to the three-day split, I felt like someone added an extra two days to my week. I had more time for fun, relaxing, spending time with people I care about, and even just taking care of those little odds and ends you tend to skip when you’re tired from training every day.

Total Body Workouts

My husband was my first trainer and he’s a competitive bodybuilder. So naturally, we would go to the gym together and he would also write my workout plans divided up by body parts. Now it was tailored toward my goals but it was still body part routine. On the three days per week training plan, I started training my entire body every workout. This was VERY STRANGE at first. Each workout I felt like I wasn’t doing enough for each body part and I constantly needed to be reminded that it was okay because I would be hitting that same body part again in two days and again two days after that! After a while, I started to really enjoy training my whole body at once. A total body workout leaves you feeling great; tired, but great in a way that is different from finishing up just a shoulder day or just a leg day.

Strength Improvements

The biggest upside from training three days per week in a total body routine, which eventually caused the biggest changes to my physique, were the strength gains I made. A good three-day routine has a lot of compound movements in it and should be geared towards gaining strength. I became very strong in this routine and my physique felt and looked more athletic. The real gains came, though, once I took the strength I added during my three days per week phase and added some more training volume to it.  A stronger muscle doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bigger muscle, but a stronger muscle does have more POTENTIAL to be a bigger muscle.

For those of you interested in trying a three day per week routine, you should try my 16-week bikini body training program! The first four weeks consist of a three day per week training routine, plus one day of HIIT cardio to get your metabolism jacked for the next three months. Following the three days per week phase, the volume jumps up to four days per week for eight weeks, and then there are a final four weeks with an added fifth day of glute volume. This is much like the program I followed when preparing for the bikini Olympia; adding volume as the show got closer. Whether you’re getting ready for a contest, or a wedding, or a beach trip, I know you’ll love the results!

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Three Common Questions from my Online Training Clients

Hey There! All of the lovely ladies enrolled in my online training programs are getting great results and having fun trying new fitness routines. The app I’m using, powered by Trainerize, is simply awesome. You pop the app open when you get to the gym, have your workout right in your hand, easily access instructional videos if you don’t recognize the name of an exercise, and track your reps and weights. If you’re on the fence or even if you’re already enrolled, I wanted to share three common questions I get from my online personal training clients.



1. How long until I see results?

I get it; you wanted the body of your dreams yesterday. LOL. We are going to put you on a fast track to results, and most importantly, LASTING results. I never coach shortcuts. You might lose weight really fast on a starvation diet or extreme exercise programs, but it’s proven that 99% of the time, those diets leave their followers in worse shape than when they started within six weeks after the program ends.  You will FEEL a difference first in as little as one to two weeks and I’m not just talking about soreness (though you will probably feel that too!). You should start to feel hungrier, you should sleep better, and have more energy throughout the day. This initial process is your metabolism getting revved up and your body going through the transformation of switching to a state that’s pro lean muscle and anti-fat storage. But remember: “a watched pot never boils.” Don’t look in the mirror every day and ask yourself, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Give it time. Follow your program and live your life. The results will come. If you follow this training program and use the diet guidelines provided for eight, 12, or 16 weeks, you will have MAJOR changes.

2. With all of this heavy lifting, won’t I get bulky?

Muscle is very hard to gain for most women. Even for most men. Some of you that respond very well to resistance training may have to be more careful than others, but that’s a very small percentage of women. Chances are YOU do not have to worry about getting bulky. Especially if you’re following a clean diet. If you train smart, eat smart, and do your cardiovascular work, you should tighten, tone, and look leaner. For those girls wanting to add muscle, you will have to EAT your way to those muscle gains. Muscle grows when you’re in a calorie surplus. For those looking to make a transformation or get leaner, you will not be in a calorie surplus very often, if at all.  It doesn’t happen by accident and you won’t wake up one day wondering where all the extra muscle came from. I PROMISE!


3. How many calories should I be eating?

I get this question a lot. I know the diet piece of the equation is the most difficult to stick to AND to figure out. I only wish I had the time and skills to provide each of you with a custom diet, but I have to pass the responsibility back to you for this. Think of this as an opportunity to learn your body, as opposed to taking the easy road and just being told what to do. I recommend tracking your food, even when you stray from the diet, so you know what’s going in. Only when you know what you’re eating can you make a proper assessment. Here’s a formula I like to use though, just to give you some extra guidance.

Multiply your bodyweight by ten. Then Multiply your bodyweight by 14. This should give you a range of calories. Depending on your body type and your goals, you will likely need to stay in this range. Many of you trying to get lean and make a transformation will want to be closer to the ten number.


130 lbs. x 10 = 1300 Calories

130lbs x 14 = 1820 Calories

In this example, this 130 lb. individual should consume somewhere between 1300 and 1820 calories per day.

I hope that helps! If you haven’t gotten started on a training program yet, what are you waiting for? You can sign up today right HERE.

Tawna 3 common questions

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Dallas Posing Workshop Recap


Wow; what a great time we had at my last Posing Workshop! For those that missed it, I sincerely hope you can join me in the future. We had just over 30 ladies join me at Dana’s Studio of Dance and we had an absolute blast. Check out the video!

We went over every detail you need to know to be show day ready from individual posing routines, down to your bikini suit choice, and even what the NPC judges are looking for. Here’s a little breakdown!

  • Overall Stage presentation:
    Individual Posing Routines
    Standing in V Lines
  • Call-Outs:
    Facing the Front and Back Bikini Poses
    Switching Spots on Stage
    Walking to the Front and Back
    Toes on the Line Pose

  • Overall Bikini Look:
    NPC Judging and Rules
    Suit Choice
    Jewelry Choice
    Hair Choice

  • Production of Show:
    Backstage Details
    Timing / Schedule
    Athlete’s Check-in and Meetings


Here’s what a few of the ladies had to say:

“The clinic was phenomenal! It was a great mock trial, or experience of what it would be like to be on stage with other girls. She’s been doing this for so long so it made me feel more confident that she would know what looks best for me.”
Sarah Forsythe (Detroit, MI)

“I won the hotel giveaway! Everyone was really down to earth and I had a great time. I learned a lot, especially entering and exiting the stage.”
Annie Tinnin (Alvin, Tx)

“Coming to the clinic, I was able to build on my confidence and help my routine flow. Tawna is awesome, she’s super bubbly and super encouraging.”
Laynie Thomas (Durant, OK)

“It was a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I decided to go for it and everyone was very accepting. I would definitely come to another one.”
Kendie Bryant (Durant, OK)

“I’m one of Tawna’s long time one on one clients. I’m 29 weeks pregnant; so obviously I can’t compete right now! But I wanted to come in here and polish up my posing. I lack a little confidence on stage and I get really nervous. I came to Tawna because I really like the way she poses and she’s super sassy. I had none of that when I came to her class! I love working with her because she’s always positive, she tells you what you need to work on, and is very straightforward.”
Patty Cisneros (Dallas, Tx)

I need to give a shout out to all of my AWESOME event partners as well. These companies are so generous and hooked up all of my girls with a ton of free stuff.