Between working your 9 to 5, driving your kids to soccer practice and getting a meal on the table, there never seems to be enough time for the gym.
However, every little bit of exercise counts — even if you only have 10 or 20 minutes before bed. Take that time to add exercise to your daily routine prior to retiring to bed to boost your belly fat-burning potential.
Sweat It Out
Get your heart rate up before you hit the sack via cardiovascular activities, which burns calories and can lead to fat loss. Researchers at Duke University concluded that aerobic activity beats strength training when it comes to losing abdominal fat.
If you're at home, try out some non-equipment cardio, such as:
- Walking around the neighborhood
- Jumping rope
- Running up and down stairs
If you want to burn belly fat in a short amount of time, it's time to HIIT it. This stands for high-intensity interval training, which combines short bursts of high intensity movements with short rest times in between sets.
Try doing one minute of burpees and 30 seconds of rest, and repeat that five times. You can also do HIIT on a treadmill by, after warming up, sprinting for 60 seconds and recovering for two minutes.
Pump Some Iron
That's not to say that strength training doesn't have its place. Whether at the gym or at home, you can burn fat by lifting weights before bed.
Resistance training not only burns fat during exercise, but your muscle will continue to burn fat long after you stop training, elevating your metabolic rate for up to 48 hours — a benefit known as the "after burn effect."
Incorporate full-body workouts into your routine every other day. Resistance exercise directly targets belly fat by triggering production of fat-burning hormones. Resistance training, such as goblet squats, lunges and bent-over rows, all work large muscle groups.
For cardio and strength benefit, do these exercises in a circuit; that is, do one set of eight to 18 reps of each exercise with little rest in between. Once finished, return to the start.
For a quick workout before bed without expensive equipment, use bodyweight exercises. These include push-ups, squats and planks. You can also incorporate this into your circuit workout.
If you do a workout at night, take some casein protein before you go to bed to help with muscle recovery. According to a 2012 study done by Medical Science Sports Exercise, protein that's eaten immediately before bed improve post-exercises overnight recovery.
How Much and How Long?
Even 30 minutes of exercise before bed can help reduce belly fat. Exercise affects belly fat in particular because it decreases circulating level of insulin, which typically signal to the body to keep fat, according to John Hopkins Medicine.
If you have extra time before bed, increase your exercise to 60 minutes a day, which is the amount Harvard Health Publications recommends for controlling weight.