Exercise for Upper Belly Fat

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Friends jogging on treadmills next to one another smiling.
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Losing upper belly fat can challenge even the most industrious athlete, but it's easier to lose than you think. A combination of diet and exercise to lose weight everywhere is the only way to trim your middle -- spot reduction doesn't exist. And while vanity drives many couch potatoes to put down the TV remote and head to the gym, getting rid of the deadly visceral fat hidden under that spare tire should take priority. It encases internal organs, creating inflammation that contributes to heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.

Be Rid of the Roll with Cardio

Aerobic exercise melts fat away, and weight training develops muscles. You first need to lose weight before you'll be able to see the ab muscles underneath. Ride a bike, jog, take a brisk walk or go for a swim. The key to losing weight all over, including the upper belly region is to work out regularly within your target heart zone, also known as the fat-burning zone.

Measure Your Max

Determining your maximum heart rate -- MHR -- is one of the best ways to customize workouts for best results. Target heart rate zones are expressed as percentages that are calculated from your maximum heart rate for your age so you or your trainer can tailor workouts for weight loss. Find your estimated MHR by subtracting your age from 220 if you're male; subtract your age from 226 if you're female. For example, a 45-year-old male has an estimated MHR of 175 beats per minute, or bpm.

Get In the Zone

You'll burn fat when you exercise within 65 percent and 75 percent of your MHR. For the 45-year-old male, that means he needs to keep his heart rate within 114 bpm and 131 bpm for overall weight loss, including upper belly fat. Once you're in your fat-burning zone, stay there for at least 12 minutes to burn fat at a faster rate.

Pump It Up

A fast metabolism burns fat faster than a sluggish one. Boost your upper belly weight loss results with a resistance-training program that builds lean muscle. Lean muscles burn calories even when you're at rest, which helps maintain your weight loss gain through your aerobic efforts. According to Pennsylvania State University, a basic resistance-training program to help burn fat performed every other day should include bench presses, pull-downs, military presses and squats where you gradually add weight.

Dump the Junk

Refined sugars and carbs pack on pounds where you don't want them to go. Complex carbs, such as fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains satisfy hungry and keep the stress hormone cortisol balanced. Sudden spikes in blood sugar caused by high glycemic foods, including processed Franken-foods laden with sugar and artificial ingredients, release cortisol and pack on pounds. So in addition to regular aerobic exercise and resistance training, be sure to exercise good judgment with your food.

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