For years and years we've all been told that spot reduction is not possible. Recent research might be telling us something different, however.
As a body transformation coach, one of the number one areas that people want to 'lose' is the stomach. The problem is, though, that most of those people are trying to get rid of their belly fat by doing an endless amount of crunches and abdominal exercises.
Unfortunately that does not work. Another way people are trying to lose their belly fat is by doing a long, steady state aerobic cardio. This is what the fitness industry has taught since the Arnold days and especially in the 80's and 90's. Long cardio, however, has not really proven to be wholly efficient at bringing everyone shredded six-packs.
Over the last few years the tide has been shifted to a training protocol called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. HIIT is performing a short burst of high intense activity at about 80-90% of your maximum effort (100% is as hard as you can possibly go) and then 'resting' for a longer period of time at about 30% of your maximum effort.
Keep in mind that your 100% intensity might not be what mine is, for example. Mine is a full out sprint. Yours may be a fasted walk walk.
Another thing you need to know about how to perform interval training properly is taking into consideration the length of the 'work' interval. If the 'work' interval is 30 seconds long then your 80% intensity should be able to handle the 30 seconds, but you should not be able too much longer than that.
Steve Boucher, a fitness professional in Australia, came out with some interesting findings in a research study he performed about HIIT.
During a 15 week study he had women perform either HIIT or steady state cardio for 45 minutes 3 times a week. The HIIT group performed a 5 minute warm-up, did 8 seconds of bike sprints at 90% intensity with 12 seconds of 'rest' at 30% intensity for 20 minutes, and then finished with a 5 minute cool-down.
At first the HIIT group only did 5 minutes of HIIT and built up to 20 minutes by the sixth session (2 weeks).
Here's what he found:
o The HIIT group lost 3 times MORE fat then the steady cardio group
o The HIIT group worked out HALF as much then the steady state cardio group
o The HIIT groups aerobic fitness actually increased MORE than the steady state cardio group (26% and 19% respectively)
o The HIIT group lost a SIGNIFICANT amount of fat off of their stomach
If you are currently performing long, steady state cardio you could be holding yourself back from maximum fat loss. And if you're trying to shed that ugly belly fat from your body then interval training is the way to go.
Here's what I do with my clients.
If you are a beginner you should shorten the length of your high intensity intervals. Typically, most of my beginning clients do 15-20 second intervals at 80-90% of their max with 90-120 seconds 'rest' at 30% of their max intensity. Typically 5-6 intervals are sufficient to begin with.
Remember to always do a 5 minute warm-up and a 5 minute cool-down.
As you progress all you have to do is make the intervals longer. Perform anywhere from 30-60 second hard intervals with 30-120 'rest' intervals. Perform anywhere from 6-8 intervals and you'll be shedding belly fat in no time.