Lose belly fat fast by doing strength training and high-intensity sprint intervals. Don’t worry—there’s no need to spend hours and hours a day killing yourself in the gym. A few hours a week total can produce dramatic results. This tip will tell you how to do it.
A study in the Journal of Obesity showed that a 12-week high-intensity interval training program produced a 17 percent decrease in belly fat in overweight young men (average age of 24). Participants performed three 20-minute cycling sessions a week in which they sprinted for 8 seconds and then did 12 seconds of recovery, repeating these intervals for a total of 60 sprints.
They lost 1.5 kg of fat from the trunk area, 2 kg of total fat, and also gained 1 kg of muscle, while increasing the use of fat for fuel by the body. There was a 13 percent increase in fat burning and a similar decrease in the use of carbohydrates for energy, which is a favorable metabolic environment for the maintenance of body composition.
Compared to aerobic exercise, sprints are a better exercise mode for losing belly fat because they allow you to achieve an intensity “threshold” that increases the body’s production of fat burning hormones such as growth hormone. Sprint intervals also enhance insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to use energy better and manage blood sugar.
The estimated optimal dose of aerobic exercise necessary to significantly reduce belly fat is 3,780 calories expended per week, which would require one hour of moderate intensity aerobic cycling daily to burn 550 calories a day so that you could theoretically lose a pound a week.
One reason for the misperception that aerobic training is better for belly fat loss than anaerobic training modes like resistance exercise is that most studies comparing the two have used inadequate training protocols. Most studies that have tested the effect of strength training on belly fat have used isolation exercises performed on machines at moderate intensities with relatively low volume.
Better results will come from a program that includes the following components:
- Multi-joint lifts such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, split squats, step-ups, chin-ups, and chest presses in every training session. Add isolation exercises only if you have extra time.
- Train with a higher volume—work up to at least 4 sets per exercise. Shoot for 24 to 32 total sets per training session.
- Train with a higher intensity—include training in the 70 to 85 percent of the 1RM range (the maximal amount you can lift).
- Count tempo for every lift so that you apply a specific amount of tension to the muscles. In general, opt for longer (4 second) eccentric tempos and short or explosive concentric tempos.