Diet & Exercises for Men to Build Muscle & Lose Stomach Fat

Men tend to store more body fat in the abdominal region than in the lower body, which can lead to the "beer belly" effect if you don't take precaution. If you want to lose this fat, you'll need to alter your diet and activity level to lose weight all over, and your stomach will shrink proportionately. While food choices and cardio exercises will help reduce your waistline, strength-training activities will help build your muscles for a strong, lean physique.

Controlling Calories

Any fat loss comes down to expending more calories than you consume. Most men can lose between 1 and 2 pounds of fat per week by reducing caloric intake to 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day, according to the University of Minnesota Medical Center. You need calories to build muscle tissue, however, so avoid dipping below these numbers. If you eat too few calories, your body may be forced to burn muscle protein for energy, leading to lean tissue loss instead of the muscle increase you desire.

Food Choices

Proper nutrition will help fuel your exercise as well as promote muscle growth. Harvard Medical School recommends getting 45 to 65 percent of daily calories from whole-food carbohydrate sources such as oatmeal, whole-rye bread, fruits and vegetables. Although protein is important for building lean tissue, going overboard won't increase your results but can increase the risk of kidney stones, which men are especially prone to. Thus, Harvard recommends getting just 15 percent of your calories from protein sources such as fish and egg whites. The institute also reports that people losing weight should limit fat to 20 to 25 percent of total caloric intake.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercises are the prime calorie-burning activities for fat loss, helping to trim your stomach while providing some muscle-toning benefits. You can get an effective aerobic workout by jogging, playing basketball or using the elliptical machine, or you can opt to do strenuous chores such as hoeing your garden or pushing your broom, notes "Harvard Men's Health Watch." The important factors are duration and frequency -- get at least 20 minutes of aerobic activity each day. You'll have more impressive weight-loss results with 60 minutes per day.

Strength Training

Weight training is essential if you want to build significant muscle mass. And although it won't directly affect fat from the target area, performing abdominal exercises will help you achieve a six-pack look, complementing your fat-loss efforts nicely. Along with situps, crunches or exercise-ball activities for your midsection, work all major muscle groups with weights or body-weight moves such as pullups, pushups and stepups. Perform strength training exercises every 48 hours for best results -- your muscles need the downtime to recover and grow properly.