Research: The Most Effective Way to Lose Belly Fat

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I knew that pic would get your attention….After 12 years of research, the first definitive study into the most effective way to ward off and lose belly fat has been conducted.

Belly fat is a symptom of today’s modern lifestyle. Australians now rank in the top five fattest nations on earth and have the second-highest rate of childhood obesity.

While the human body is programmed to store fat, the places it stores fat have different effects on people’s health. Visceral or belly fat clusters around internal organs and has been found to contribute to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Boutcher’s research conducted at the University of New South Wales has found that an interval sprint training program, combined with a healthy Mediterranean eating plan, is the most effective way to reduce this dangerous visceral fat.

12-week study where interval sprinting was performed three times a week for 20 minutes each session (or 1 hour a week in total), women lost 9% of total body fat (2.5kg) and experienced a 6% decrease in central abdominal fat. Meanwhile, men lost 9% of total body fat (2kg), 17% of belly fat, and 5% of subcutaneous abdominal fat.

To achieve a similar decrease in visceral fat under a conventional aerobic exercise regime, participants would need to train for 60 minutes, five days a week for 14 weeks. In addition, conventional aerobic exercise does not increase muscle mass, whereas interval sprinting does. Great news for those short on time!

There are possible reasons why interval sprinting lead to belly fat loss.

Increased fat burning – our fat stores are depleted and our bodies are forced to draw fat stores from other areas of the body

Increases muscle mass = higher metabolism

Decreased appetite – I know how much my appetite is suppressed after a hard workout!

The study also revealed:

  • Women lost 9% of visceral fat after 12 hours of interval sprinting
  • Men increased torso and leg muscle by a significant 1.2kg after 12 hours of interval sprinting
  • Drinking green tea before interval training burns 20% more fat

In his book 20 x 3 Dr. Boutcher talks about how resistance exercises don’t seem to work in decreasing belly fat and how people with high amounts of daily stress and lack sleep tend to have higher levels of cortisol in their blood which in turn is a reaction for our bodies to go into survival mode and cling onto fat stores. There are also examples of interval training sessions.

This book is an interesting read and I guess it is nice to know that research now proves what we all thought about interval training and it’s benefits!

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Note: this book was gifted for review purposes

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  • Reply Tatum Woodroffe December 17, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Sounds pretty reasonable to me….I know that for me personally increasing my refined sugar intake is the fastest way to put it on & retain fluid and cutting the sugar back and doing fasted training (whether it is long steady state or intervals) is the quickest way to drop it.

    • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} December 18, 2013 at 6:11 am

      Yep, so true Tatum. I’m big fasted cardio advocate also. They say intervals on fasted cardio is most effective but somedays you wake and you like to ease yourself into the day with something with a little less tempo! x

  • Reply Rachael December 17, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    My husband has been saying sprint training is the way to go for ages… Should have listened lol. Do u think swimming sprints would be the same as running sprints?… As I’m not allowed to run 🙁 I’m thinking any interval training would be good? 🙂

    • Reply Karla {Ironmum Karla} December 18, 2013 at 6:10 am

      Hi Racheal, swimming would be better than nothing that’s for sure, as long as you are really amping your heartrate above that 150 bpm. It would be similar to fartlek training and you could do say (pick a line on the bottom of the pool) 1/4 of 50 metre pool hard, easy to half way mark and repeat for the full lap. continue this 20 minutes and you will know you have done a workout. Remember to warmup and down though;)

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