There's nothing worse than having someone ask "When's your baby due?" when there's no baby. If a jelly belly has you feeling self-conscious about the way you look, you can reduce your stomach pouch by burning fat all over with cardio. Forget the spot reduction exercises because they don't work. But, if you do some tummy-tightening exercises along with your cardio, you can get a flat, toned stomach you're proud to bare.
When your hectic schedule keeps you from exercising long enough to blast fat, interval training can solve your problem. Forms of exercise such as jogging, swimming and biking burn 500 calories per hour when conducted at a steady pace. But if you add intervals of faster-paced movement into your workout, you can burn about the same number of calories in 45 minutes or so, or work out longer for an even greater calorie burn. Just alternate between four to five minutes at your regular pace and one minute at a faster pace for the duration of your cardio workout.
Circuit training calls into play your stellar multitasking skills by requiring you to burn calories with cardio while toning your muscles with strength-training moves. The quick succession between cardio and resistance exercises gets your heart pumping, and helps you burn calories leading to fat loss all over, as well as on your stomach. Spend three minutes performing a cardio exercise, such as jumping rope, jogging in place or using a rebounder. Alternate your three minutes of cardio with 45 seconds of a strength-training move, with or without the addition of dumbbells or kettlebells. You can do exercises to tone your entire body, as well belly-toning moves. Perform thrusters, walking lunges, trunk rotations, shoulder presses and calf raises to get a good, allover strength-training workout.
You don't have to work out at a hard, fast pace to burn fat and reduce your muffin top. Moderate-intensity exercise can also help you achieve your weight-loss and fitness goals, as long as you get enough cardio in each week. Brisk walking is an excellent aerobic exercise you can do to shed fat. Walk for at least 300 minutes per week, broken up however you like, to get rid of that belly pouch and other excess fat. To keep from getting bored or losing enthusiasm, invite a girlfriend along or walk with your partner to add a social aspect to your exercise time.
Performing ab-strengthening moves three times per week can help you reveal a flat, toned stomach as you shed the fat. Front and side planks are effective for toning your abdominal muscles and tightening your obliques -- the muscles that run along your sides. Do each move for 30 to 45 seconds to reap their muscle-toning benefits.
You can also do an ab-toning exercise called Pass the Block. Lie on your back with your knees bent, as if you're going to do ab crunches. Hold a lightweight block or empty water bottle in your hands. Raise your head, neck and upper body up off the ground, while lifting your knees to meet your hands in the middle. Transfer the block from your hands to your feet. Lower your body back to the ground while keeping the block between your feet. Repeat, alternating between passing the block to your hands and then your feet again. Perform eight to 12 of these to tone your abs.
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- Mayo Clinic: Belly Fat in Women--Taking--and Keeping--it Off!
- Mayo Clinic: Rev Up Your Workout with Interval Training
- University of New Mexico: The Fitness Professional's Complete Guide to Circuits and Intervals
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Fitness Magazine: Flat Abs Fast--The Core Strengthening Workout
- Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images