Best Cardio to Burn Belly Fat

dd014ce5-0f00-42b9-93fd-39c6118b7dc1Everyone knows spot reduction is impossible, right? Well, guess again! One of Australia’s top fat loss researchers published a study showing that interval training burns belly fat specifically. So if you are looking to lose inches from your waist, you have to add interval training to your workout program.

Fortunately, you can drop the slow cardio, add intervals, and still save time from your workouts. Here’s why.

The Australian study compared a 20-minute interval training workout (done 3x’s per week) against a 40-minute slow cardio workout (also done 3x’s per week). Women did the workout for 15 weeks, and only the interval group lost belly fat. The cardio group got practically no results at all.

So spot reduction is possible, as long as you don’t expect slow cardio or endless crunches to do the trick. Instead, you need to use interval training. According to Professor Steve Boucher, the Australian co-author of the latest interval training study to show intervals work better than slow cardio, “high intensity intermittent exercise may result in greater fat loss in the abdomen”.

Basically, interval training burns stomach fat first, over all other sources of fat on the body.

Now we all have heard that spot reduction doesn’t work. If you haven’t, here is the story. For some reason, many people think that by doing tons of crunches, they will burn stomach fat. Unfortunately, that just isn’t true.

In fact, Boucher quotes the following example…

“…researchers have examined the fat content of elite tennis players’ racket arm. The logic here is that if a tennis player uses his racket arm much more than his other arm then the fat content should be less. Racket arms of tennis players usually possess greater muscle and bone mass but similar fat levels.”

So here’s the odd thing about Boucher’s theory…Notice that he’s not claiming sprint interval training done on a bike will burn more fat around your legs. Instead, he’s claiming that interval work done by your legs will lead to a spot reduction of fat from around the belly. Completely backwards to what the beginner exerciser thinks. Boucher also says this interval program will work really well in men with lots of abdominal fat – so its not just for women.

So why do the intervals work so well?

Boucher believes it has something to do with the increase in hormones called “catecholamines” (adrenaline is a catecholamine hormone). These increase after intervals, but not after slow cardio.

Catecholamines are a fat burning hormone and there are a lot of catecholamine receptors in belly fat…so he seems to think the elevated fat burning hormones from intervals ends up leading to targeted belly fat burning.

Interesting theory…we’ll see if they do more research and are able to confirm that belly fat burning hypothesis. Regardless, its great to see studies showing intervals to be more effective for losing stomach fat than slow cardio workouts.

Surprisingly, Boucher recommends stationary cycling as one of the best ways to burn fat with intervals. Seems like another fat loss expert has been saying that for years now…oh yeah, it was me! I know, and research shows that using both resistance training and interval burns more fat than slow cardio workouts.

Boucher also recommends a Mediterranean diet (lots of fruits and vegetables)…another commonality with Turbulence Training (that is, the emphasis on fruits and vegetables).

So there you go…Turbulence Training years ahead of this study, but supported by the latest scientific research and the expert’s hypothesis. And don’t forget, Boucher and his group didn’t even throw in the Turbulence Training resistance training exercises…that probably would have resulted in even more belly fat burning and loss of stomach fat.

So forget about hour-long stationary cycling workouts when you can get the same or more fat-burning benefits in 20 minutes. Exercise intensity is the most important factor determining post-exercise energy expenditure and fat loss success!

After a 5-minute warm-up, follow this sample beginner’s protocol:

* Start at 15 seconds of intense effort (90% of your maximal pace).

* Follow that with “active rest” (~30% of your maximal pace) for 2 min.

* Perform 3-6 intervals.

* Finish with 5 minutes (or longer) of moderate intensity exercise.

As you become more advanced and accustomed to intervals, progress to:

* Increase your intensity to 95-98% of maximal pace (always hold a little back).

* 30- to 60-second intervals with only 30- to 60-seconds active rest.

* Try to keep your active rest the same length or longer than your work interval.

* Perform 6-12 intervals per session.

* Finish with 5 minutes (or longer) of moderate intensity exercise.

Interval training is the best cardio to burn belly fat and help with spot reduction of stomach fat over your ab muscles.

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