There are two types of fat found in the body. Subcutaneous fat is located beneath the skin’s surface and is mostly just a cosmetic concern. Visceral fat lies deep inside your abdomen and surrounds your organs. Visceral fat is the most dangerous type of fat and often contributes to life-threatening medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Although there is no way to specifically burn fat on the upper abdominals and stomach, it does respond to the same strategies that help lower total body fat. Always consult your doctor before starting any type of diet or exercise routine.
Eat a snack that is low in carbohydrates, such as a protein bar, about 90 minutes before you exercise. According to "Marie Claire" magazine, this will help you exercise harder and longer than usual, which will in turn burn more calories and fat in the midsection.
Although strength training exercises such as situps work the abdominal muscles, MayoClinic.com warns that they do not burn fat in the midsection.
Exercise five or six days a week. The book, "Fitness for Dummies" suggests aiming for 45 minutes -- or more -- of cardiovascular exercise to burn calories and reduce fat in the midsection. You can do any cardiovascular exercise you like such as bicycling, jogging or aerobics.
Consume fewer calories everyday to lose weight and decrease fat in the stomach area. The Mayo Clinic recommends eliminating about 500 calories from your diet each day by filling up on healthy foods like whole grains, protein, fruits and vegetables. Foods such as oatmeal and cinnamon also help stabilize your blood sugar, keeping you from overeating between meals. Avoid unhealthy saturated fats found in full-fat dairy products and fatty meats, caloric beverages such as soda pop and alcohol, and white breads and pastas.
Perform 20 minutes of strength-training exercises about three times a week. According to MayoClinic.com, the more muscle you build, the more calories and fat you burn. Pick exercises that specifically target the stomach muscles such as a planks, side rotations, wood chops, crunches or situps. Start with one set of 12 repetitions, increasing the number of sets as your strength improves. Allow one full day in between workouts to give your abdominal muscles time to recover.
Add intervals by increasing the intensity of your workout for a few minutes at a time. For example, if you walk, consider adding three two-minute bursts of jogging somewhere in your workout. Intervals prevent your muscles from adapting to the same exercise, increase your endurance and promote calorie and fat burn.
- Marie Claire Magazine; 7 Ways to Burn Fat Faster
- Forbes Magazine; 6 Ways to Burn Your Belly Fat Fast
- Bodybuilding.com: The Truth: How to Burn Abdominal Fat
- MayoClinic: Belly Fat in Women: Taking — and Keeping — It Off
- MayoClinic: Obesity
- MayoClinic: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- Fitness For Dummies; Suzanne Schlosberg and Liz Neporent
- ACE: Ab Exercises
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