Stubborn belly fat can cause immense frustration, and spot training and cardio are often ineffective. Interval training uses short bursts of high-intensity exercise to burn fat and tone muscle, and can be significantly more effective at reducing belly fat than more traditional workouts.
Create a caloric deficit. No matter how much you work out, if you're consuming more calories than you burn, you're not going to lose weight. To shed 1 pound of fat, you need to lose 3,500 calories. It's easiest to do this through a combination of diet and exercise, so monitor your diet. By eliminating empty calories such as those found in soda, you may be able to significantly reduce your caloric intake.
Walk at a brisk pace for three to five minutes to warm up. Then sprint at 80 percent of your full speed for 30 seconds. Gradually slow down your pace until you are walking briskly. Continue to walk for 45 seconds, then sprint again for 30 seconds. Repeat this process for the duration of your workout. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 75 minutes per week of this variety of high-intensity physical activity. Break your workouts into 20- to 30-minute sessions three to four times a week to achieve this goal.
Add targeted abdominal training to your cardiovascular workout. Crunches, situps and planks are all effective workouts that you can do in intervals. Rather than focusing on a certain number of reps, try doing as many reps as you can at maximum pace -- while still maintaining proper form -- in 30 seconds. Then slow down, stretch, do a few reps at a slower pace and then maximize your speed again.
- Avoid starvation diets. Your body needs calories to build muscle and to maintain energy for exercise. When you starve yourself, you may actually burn fat more slowly.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.