According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, belly fat, even in people of normal weight, increases the risk of premature death from cardiovascular and other causes. Therefore, reducing stomach fat is important for overall health. Unfortunately, you cannot burn fat on just one part of your body by selecting exercises that use the underlying muscles. The only way to burn stomach fat is to burn overall fat on your entire body.
Work out on a three-day cycle in which you do upper body and back strength-training on day one, lower body and abs strength-training on day two and cardio on day three.
Perform one to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each of strength exercises for all major muscle groups in both pushing and pulling directions. For maximum fat burn on strength-training days, start with a 10-minute cardio workout, and then organize strength exercises as a circuit with one- to three-minute intervals of cardio, such as running in place or jumping, between strength exercises to keep your heart rate high.
Perform high-intensity cardio intervals for increased fat burn. This can be done by running or biking or on cardio machines at a gym. After your 10-minute warmup, alternate between one-minute at high intensity and two-minute recoveries for at least 15minutes; the longer you go, the more fat you burn.
- MayoClinic.com: Belly Fat in Women: Taking — and Keeping — It Off
- MayoClinic.com: People of Normal Weight With Belly Fat at Highest Death Risk, Mayo Clinic Study Finds
- MayoClinic.com: Menopause Weight Gain: Stop the Middle Age Spread
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- BodyBuilding.com: You Can't Spot Reduce
- ExRx.net: Fat Loss & Weight Training Myths
- American Council on Exercise: Circuit Training Basics
- American Council on Exercise: High-Intensity Interval Training
- Even though stomach exercises won't spot reduce stomach fat, they will improve your muscle tone and the appearance of your stomach area. Exercise both the rectus abdominis and oblique muscles but don't forget side bends and sit ups or crunches with twists as well as regular crunches and sit ups.
- Reducing caloric intake by 250 to 500 calories a day will help you burn fat faster.
- Consult your health care provider before making significant changes to your diet or workout program, especially if you are over 40 years old, are significantly obese or have chronic medical conditions.
Carol Poster began writing professionally in 1974. Her articles have appeared in "Outdoor Woman," "Paddler," "Ski Magazine," "Women's Sports & Fitness," "Dance News," "Show Business," "The Athenian," "PC Resource" and "Utah Holiday," among other publications. Poster holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, as well as a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri.