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Shedding Belly Fat with Exercise

Admit it – you too have spent countless hours at the gym doing “low intensity” cardio to burn more body fat.  

C’mon, it’s OK, we’ve all wasted hours walking on a treadmill at some point.  Isn’t that what all the magazines have told us for years "long, slow cardio is the MOST effective way to lose weight"?

And while I’m picking on treadmills, all the cardio equipment is the same –you peddle on a bike or "run" on an elliptical at a low intensity to have a minimal fat loss effect. 

Is that really worth it?  Is it better than sitting?  No doubt. 

Is it AS effective as ramping up the intensity?  Not a chance!

Several research studies support the fact that high intensity exercise is a more efficient way to burn fat and calories.

Check out this one small study that was presented at the Experimental Biology Annual Conference (and others support the results too).

22 subjects (11 men and 11 women) cycled at a high, medium, or low intensity.  The researchers measured their "fat burning" to see which was most effective.

The researchers learned that the max fat burning was the highest intensity exercise — near maximum effort — essentially the state you’re in when sprinting.

Moral of the story: stop wasting endless hours doing some low intensity cardio—kick it up a notch to really see the results!

Keep in mind when we say "near maximum effort" it means different things for different people.

For some, that means walking a little faster for short "bursts" (every 30 seconds, with a 60-90 second "recovery")

For others, it’s an all out sprint.  Or you can use a bike, airodyne bike, rowing ergometer, etc. Just go back and forth with "as hard as possible" to "active recovery."

Regardless of where you’re starting, adding those short "all out" efforts will get you where you want to be more quickly.

We also encourage general movement — a minimum of 5 hours/week — in addition to these short bursts.

Give it a whirl — your results will skyrocket!


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13 Responses to Shedding Belly Fat with Exercise

  1. tammy January 31, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    If you haven't tried it believe me it really does work I use it with my clients that are trying to lose weight and I have at least 1 interval workout a week if not more.  This is exactly what boot camp training does that is why people see results.

  2. Mike January 31, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I agree with the high intensity work out effort in most cases. However as someone who has had the unfortunate wake up call ( two electric shocks in left hand to left chest) to blood pressure meds this could be dangerous. A gradual progression from walking to jogging to interval sprints on my treadmill or outdoors has been quite successful for both fat loss and blood pressure regulation. This is coupled a progressive interval body weight/ weight work out.

  3. Kristi Jedlicki Levenhagen January 31, 2010 at 11:49 am #

    This theme was echoed in a book that I was reading yesterday, and I have become a believer over the years.  I have seen for myself that intervals and higher intensity cardio workouts bring me the results that I am seeking.  Thanks!

  4. Mary January 31, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    Well what a timely topic for me personally.  You must have somehow known that I was just whining about my new cardio workout based on my lastest metabolism testing!!!  I was whining, because I have to get my heart rate up so much higher than my last round. Of course, that IS the point of improving, which is good,  None the less,  I was whining.  Your information confirms that I need to stick with it, suck it up and reap the rewards!  Thanks, I will….it's worth it.

  5. Ray February 1, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    Prevention magazine had an article a few months ago with different levels of treadmill workouts. One of those was a fat burner workout. It ramps up to a maximum effort three times during the 30 minutes. Good to hear support backing it up.

  6. Jae_click fitness February 15, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    I enjoyed your post, thanks for the tips! For years I was wasting my time trying to burn my belly fat by doing lots of crunches and sit-ups. Later I found out that they only tone your abs but dont get rid of the fat that's covering all my hard work! One of the best advices though is to drink lots of water and split your meals. I agree, skipping breakfast will only make you hungrier. Hope these tips help too!

  7. weightloss tricks February 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    Very good article I enjoy your website keep up the good articles

  8. Mike March 30, 2011 at 6:02 am #

    I have found Interval training with progressive loading of weights effective for fat loss.
    For example a circuit of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds of for a total of 20 minutes has worked well for me.

  9. KEN EBACHER March 30, 2011 at 7:45 am #


  10. Tracy March 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I have been working on my treadmill every day, but every other day I warm up 5 min., then I walk fast for 1 min., then jog 1 min, walk 1 min, jog 2 min, walk 1 min, and alternate that and sometimes instead of jogging I will go to about 7% incline and walk for 1 min, and then every other day I use my weight machine. Am I doing this right? Also, I have a problem now, I broke my hand last night, I have been told not to do anything for 6 weeks. If I did the weight machine for my legs only will that be okay? Also, if I walk on my treadmill instead of jogging, will I be doing any good for me? or wasting my time? I’m so angry at myself for this set back, I can’t stand not being able to work out for 6 weeks. I just got started on the weight machine 2 weeks ago and I was seeing results, now I can’t do it. Any suggestions on what I could do now will be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Tracy

    • Chris and Kara Mohr March 30, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

      Depending on your level of fitness, I’d go as hard as you can for about 20 sec and then “recover” for about 60, so a 3:1 rest:work ratio. TM is tough with this because it takes awhile to get the belt up to speed. Can you do this outside?

      • Tracy March 31, 2011 at 4:42 am #

        No, it’s still cold, icy, and slick, so I’d better not chance it yet. Thanks for the help, I will do the 3:1 on my treadmill and see how that goes. Tracy

  11. Tracy March 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

    Chris and Kara,

    I’ve got some great news. I went to my regular doctor today, he said if my hand is broke, it’s not bad enough to show up on the x-ray. He took the HUGE splint off that the other doc put on and now it’s in an ace bandage. He said I could do whatever I want, but when it’s hurts, then quit, this is fantastic news. I should be able to work out hard on my treadmill, but I wont be able to do any weight lifting, but it wont take as long to heal as I was first told so I should be back to my weights within 4 weeks, (I hope). Thanks for all of your help. Tracy

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