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Do I Need Cardio or Situps to Get Rid of My Belly Fat?

by
author image Nina Makofsky
Nina Makofsky has been a professional writer for more than 20 years. She specializes in art, pop culture, education, travel and theater. She currently serves as a Mexican correspondent for "Aishti Magazine," covering everything from folk art to urban trends. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.
Do I Need Cardio or Situps to Get Rid of My Belly Fat?
Burn belly fat with intense cardio workouts. Photo Credit shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

In your quest to get rid of belly fat, cardio workouts are more effective than situps. However, aerobic exercise does not target only belly fat. You burn excess body fat wherever you store it, including your midsection. Doing situps does provide some benefits, however. Strengthening your core muscles improves your posture and builds muscle tone so you sit up straight and appear slimmer. Speak to your doctor regarding medical concerns before implementing an exercise plan.

Cardio Recommendations

Not every cardiovascular workout burns belly fat at the same rate. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that a healthy adult participate in moderately-intense aerobic exercise at least 150 to 300 minutes weekly; or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. Among the workouts that achieve this level of fat-burning are jogging, playing competitive sports, kickboxing, rowing, step aerobics, high-impact dance, swimming laps and climbing stairs or hills. Cardio is only part of the equation though. For as many calories as you burn through your activities, you will only lose belly fat if you adjust your eating habits to provide a calorie deficit.

Situps and Strength Training

Situps, along with other targeted ab exercises like the Plank, do not burn belly fat, but they do add muscle tissue. The more density you add to your muscles, the higher you raise your basal metabolism so you burn more calories even while at rest. Make situps part of a strength-training session that incorporates moves such as deep squats, lunges, dynamic yoga stretches, pushups, triceps dips, bench presses, standing flies, biceps curls and pullups.

Interval Training

As you do cardiovascular workouts and lose weight, your workout becomes less effective. You need to add new challenges to maximize how much belly fat you burn. Doing speed or strength intervals varies the pace of your workout so you spike your heart rate and burn more fat. After warming up and doing five minutes of your standard moderate to vigorous cardiovascular workout, increase your intensity. Sprint, do deep squat jumps, skip rope or dash upstairs. Sustain the interval for at least 30 seconds. Slow down to a recovery pace, but keep moving. After 30 seconds to one minute, return to your moderate to vigorous cardiovascular workout. Repeat these steps throughout your workout.

Lifestyle Factors

A stringent cardiovascular exercise program steadily reduces your body fat, including fat stored around your belly. However, eating unhealthy foods or eating too much food reverses the positive effects of exercise. Eating more calories than you burn will prevent weight loss. You experience an increase in appetite after working out, so choose healthy snacks filled with fiber to sate your hunger. Good options include leafy greens, carrots, celery, berries, citrus fruit, apples, pears, unsweetened whole grains and legumes.

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