Targeting Belly Fat / by Stephen Cooper

As most of you know if you have been training with me even for a little while I'm not a big fan of cardio. I especially despise long duration cardio for the intention of fat burning. If you love to run for the sake of clearing your head, heart health, or you just feel good doing it then have at it.

For me, ever since the 7th grade I have hated running. I can remember running around a dusty track and detesting every step I took, God forbid we had to run around the school that was pure boredom.

If you are like me you want the “short cuts” to fat burning and losing fat. One of the short cuts to fat burning is high intensity training sessions.

I recently read this over at the highly respected trainer Alwyn Cosgrove’s site…

"Here's a study that came out late last year:

Irving et al.

Effect of exercise training intensity on abdominal visceral fat and body composition.

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008 Nov;40(11):1863-72.

The study consisted of three groups:

  1. No exercise
  2. Low intensity aerobic exercise (5 days per week low intensity)
  3. High intensity (above Lactate threshold) exercise (3 days high intensity, 2 days low)

The exercise groups burned the exact same calories (so exercise time was adjusted down in the higher intensity group.

At the sixteen week point the high intensity group had significantly reduced abdominal fat
The low intensity group saw no changes.

It's clear that if you want to target belly fat - a higher intensity training program works better. But here's the take home advice -- these researchers adjusted the time down in the high intensity group (so that calories burned were the same) - for example only doing 20 mins instead of 30 mins.

But that's not real world. So if you have 30 mins to train - 30 mins of high intensity work would make an even bigger difference. Because when calories burned are the same - it's more effective - you'd see an even bigger effect when the calories burned were higher.

Bottom line - train harder to target belly fat more effectively."

So please folks when I suggest that you do something in a specific manner to burn fat there is a method or science to my madness.  

Participate, challenge yourself, and you will get results.