There’s no one trick to lose belly fat, but experts do recommend moderate regular exercise, especially if you include exercises that use your own body weight. Spot exercises like situps can tighten abdominal muscles, but they won’t banish belly fat on their own.
Diet also plays a role in how much fat you carry, and researchers suggest eating more whole foods like leafy greens, lean proteins and berries. Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks.
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, is your best bet for losing belly fat. It burns calories and strengthens the muscles that support your core. A study at Duke University Medical Center found that aerobic exercises are more effective than resistance training and a combination of both when it comes to losing belly fat.
Cardio workouts are any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing, such as running, swimming, cycling, elliptical training, stair climbing, boxing and dancing. You can also increase your endurance by doing long walks or jogs. During moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, you should be able to speak in full sentences without gasping for air.
Performing aerobic exercise consistently helps your body to burn belly fat because it forces your muscles to use up their blood sugar and glycogen stores so that it has no choice but to target your stored fat for fuel, which can cause you to lose your belly fat faster.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, workouts burn belly fat by combining short bursts of intense exercise with periods of rest or lower intensity exercise. The result is an effective cardiovascular workout that can also help build muscle and tone the body. HIIT is also easier to fit into your schedule than traditional cardio workouts.
HIIT is a great option for people who are looking to get in shape and lose excess weight fast. Studies have shown that HIIT is more effective at decreasing abdominal fat than steady types of exercise such as jogging.
Additionally, HIIT can help you burn more calories after your workout session is over. This is due to something called “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” or EPOC. Your body continues to burn calories after your workout because it needs extra oxygen to recover from the extreme exertion you put it through. This is what gives HIIT its extra edge in burning fat and toning the body.
A combination of aerobic exercise and weight training is an effective way to lose belly fat, according to a study published in November 2017 in the journal “Obesity”. In this research, women and men ages 61 to 77 performed weight training twice a week along with a diet low in calories and high in protein. The weight training increased the participants’ muscle mass, which boosted their metabolism and burned more calories even at rest. In addition, the resistance training helped decrease the accumulation of visceral fat, which can lead to serious health conditions.
Visceral fat is located deep in the abdominal cavity, lining the internal organs like the liver and the intestines. It is harder to lose than subcutaneous fat, which is the type that you can pinch under your skin. For the best results, a workout schedule that includes three days of strength training, one day of HIIT and one day of cardio is recommended.
There’s no magic trick to target belly fat, and the best way to lose it is with a combination of exercise, eating right and making key lifestyle changes. Creating a caloric deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn and losing fat throughout the body can help trim belly fat, as can cutting out processed foods and consuming more whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats.
Eating less sugar also helps reduce belly fat. Sugar stimulates the production of inflammatory molecules and increases insulin resistance, which can cause the body to store excess fat in the abdomen. In fact, even thin people can have too much visceral fat, which may increase their risk of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
A diet rich in protein helps promote muscle mass, which can help burn more calories, and limit belly fat. Aim to eat two to three servings of protein per day, including low-fat dairy products, fish and lean meats.