Stomach fat is stubborn and common: fortunately, sweating it out in the gym can help you eliminate the bulge. Although some forms of cardio are more effective than others, your personal effort is the most important factor in how much fat you manage to burn. Recent studies indicate that high-intensity interval training is particularly effective in burning abdominal fat. This form of cardiovascular exercise is short and intense, with desirably results, if performed correctly.
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The Fat in Your Stomach
There are two types of fat in the belly; visceral fat – between the organs -- and subcutaneous fat, which is under the skin. The visceral fat is the more dangerous of the two as it increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes. Belly fat stores the excess calories you consume and performing cardio exercise regularly makes your body use the fat storage for energy. With regular exercise, you can reduce your body-fat percentage, which will decrease your waist size.
A Work Out in Less Than 30 Minutes
Not only is high-intensity interval training the most effective way to burn body fat, it is also a quick workout, which will benefit those with a busy schedule. A HIIT workout can consist of alternating between one-minute sprints and two minutes of moderate jogging for 22 to 25 minutes. Warm up first, by jogging lightly for 5 minutes. You can create your own HIIT workout program by performing longer sprints and shorter recovery jogging, or vice versa.
The Research Behind It
Michael Bracko, Ed.D., FACSM tells the American College of Sports Medicine that HIIT can continue to burn calories up to 24 hours after completing the exercise. Other research suggest that HIIT is effective at burning fat in the stomach region. According to Stephen H. Boutcher, PhD, the associate professor at the University of New South Wales, preliminary evidence suggest that HIIT produces a modest reduction in abdominal fat in normal weight and slightly overweight individuals. In addition, those that are overweight with type 2 diabetes experience a greater reduction of abdominal fat.
The Rules of HIIT
Since it is an intense form of cardiovascular exercise, the American Council on Exercise recommends to start with three to four intervals of speed and recovery and gradually sweat your way up to 8 to 10. No evidence suggest that reducing the recovery time increases weight loss. Due to the high intensity, ACE Fitness recommends you perform HIIT twice a week to reduce the risk of injury. To enhance your regular cardio program -- which can consist of 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly -- perform HIIT twice a week for a 6-week period, rather than all year round. Alternatively, you can perform HIIT once a week, all year to prevent de-conditioning.