How to get a slim waist: top tips for toning up

Find out how to get a slim waist, according to personal trainers and nutritionists

How to get a slim waist
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Trying to figure out how to get a slim waist and make positive changes towards a happier and healthier you? Slimming down isn’t supposed to be easy; it takes time and persistence. However, with the following actionable steps from personal trainers and nutritionists, shedding fat and getting a smaller waist can be achievable with time.

The first thing to remember is that you must be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. A calorie deficit simply refers to taking in fewer calories than you expend. Consistently hitting a calorie deficit is key for anyone hoping to learn how to get a smaller waist. As well reducing your food intake and making lower-calories swaps, another way to do this is by bumping up your activity levels, whether it’s taking the stairs, walking to work, or enhancing your workout routine with the best exercises for weight loss, such as calorie-torching high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

If you’re committed to learning how to get a slim waist, you should also know that your waist is made up of two types of abdominal fat: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.  Unlike visceral fat, which lives in your abdominal cavity, subcutaneous fat is the visible layer underneath your skin. Targeting and losing that layer is key to knowing how to get a slimmer waist, but losing visceral fat is also positive because it can also wreak havoc on your health and has links to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

For more on working your core, try out the best abs workouts.

Try incorporating some HIIT routines into your weekly schedule, or focus on moving more, sitting less, and reducing your stress levels. We’ve included tips from nutritionists and personal trainers, to help guide you through each step. Remember, belly fat reduction won’t happen overnight, but adopting new habits can help you get the slimmer waist you want. 

Looking for more tips on fat reduction? Scroll through our guides on how to lose weight from your face, how to lose weight from your hips, and how to lose weight on your arms, once you’ve finished reading this piece.

How to get a slim waist tip #1: Hula-hoop away fat

Remember how much fun hula hooping was as a kid? Guess what – it still is! Plus it's one of the best workouts for abs that you can do. "It's a brilliant way of working all your core muscles to clinch you in at the waist and help you lose weight," says personal trainer Jen Skym (opens in new tab)

"You need very little space to do it, and as well as a cardio workout, hooping is a fab core exercise. You can do it in front of the TV and a weighted hoop will help you burn more calories – and lose weight faster." 

In fact, one study (opens in new tab) found that women using a weighted hoop lost on average 3.4cms from their waist and 1.4cm from their hips in just six weeks! 

2. Forget sit-ups

"When looking how to get a slim waist, you need to focus on your deep core muscles," explains Jen. "Your transverse abs, located deep within the 'six-pack' area, act like a corset around your midsection. Strengthening your deep core muscles will help to 'tighten the corset' and slim down your waist."

Jen advises ditching sit-ups – which target a different stomach muscle – and instead trying core bridges, heel sliders and 'dead bugs', which are more effective for a slim waist. "Side planks are also great at targeting your obliques, the muscles either side of your waist." 

For more killer core moves, check out our 30 day abs challenge. We also love this lower abs 10-minute workout with Madfit...

3. Eat bloat-blasting foods

how to get a slim waist: salmon and asparagus

(Image credit: Christine Siracusa on Unsplash)

Often women feel self-conscious about their tummy, not because of the size or shape, but because it is bloated and sticking out, says nutritionist Becs Steele, from B Well Nutrition (opens in new tab)

Want to beat the bloat and get a slim waist? "Start the day with a cleansing cup of fresh ginger and lemon tea. Simply mix peeled and grated root ginger and freshly squeezed lemon juice with boiling water. This will rev up your metabolism and cleanse the digestive system," says Becs.  

Then up your protein intake. That means eating lots of fish like salmon, cod, haddock and mackerel, or a plant-based alternative like tofu if you're veggie. You could also supplement your diet with one of the best protein powders for weight loss.

Becs adds: "Avoid processed carbs like white bread and pastas, pastries and crisps that cause bloating and weight gain, and instead choose slow-release carbs from wholegrains, colourful root vegetables, beans and pulses. Add lots of leafy greens that are high in magnesium and micronutrients that aid digestion."

4. Chill out

If you're searching how to get a slim waist and trying to shred stubborn fat from your waist and stomach, stress is the enemy. The thing is, the more stressed we are, the more we produce cortisol, which inhibits fat loss. Because increased levels of this hormone also help cause higher insulin levels, your blood sugar drops and you crave sugary, fatty foods. 

Keeping your stress levels down can help with weight loss, but don't get too relaxed… sitting down at a desk or the sofa for too long decreases the activity of an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase, which helps us burn fat around the middle. Standing, on the other hand, burns twice as many calories as sitting.

5. Blast belly fat with HIIT

Want to know the ultimate exercise for how to get a slim waist? Evidence has found that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can specifically blast belly fat. A 2018 study (opens in new tab) found that HIIT significantly reduced total, abdominal and visceral fat mass (fat stored around your vital organs). 

The high intensity nature of a HIIT workout also means that you carry on burning calories even after you've finished your workout – this 'afterburn effect' helps to rev up your metabolism and torch calories for up to six hours! Try this beginner's HIIT workout with Joe Wicks...

6. Be mindful

how to get a slim waist: mediation

(Image credit: Getty)

Slimming down your waist isn't just about a healthy diet; it's about what's going on in your head, too. Interestingly, a study by Brown University (opens in new tab) found that people who practiced mindfulness and meditation had less visceral fat (the dangerous hidden fat stored around your vital organs). 

By contrast, those who are less mindful have, on average, an extra pound of fat inside their bellies than those who live in the present. New to meditation? Try the Headspace (opens in new tab) or CALM (opens in new tab) apps.

Maddy is a freelance journalist and Level 3 personal trainer specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. She has been a writer and editor for 22 years, and has worked for some of the UK's bestselling newspapers and women’s magazines, including Marie Claire, The Sunday Times and Closer. She also manages Fit&Well's Instagram account.


Maddy loves HIIT training and can often be found running on her treadmill or working out while her two young daughters do matching burpees or star jumps. As a massive foodie, she loves cooking and trying out new healthy recipes (especially ones with hidden vegetables so the kids eat them). She makes a mean margarita and has twice won awards in previous staff jobs as the “office feeder”.

With contributions from