Belly fat stubbornly refusing to shift? Then try these five workout tactics
Now, we’re not saying that running is evil. We’re saying that if you want to improve your body composition by burning fat and building muscle then the most effective and efficient way of doing that is to follow a weight training routine that includes elements of high intensity interval training. Yes, running and other forms of cardio will help you to lose fat. But it’s not the fastest way of losing fat. Steady state cardio will burn fewer calories than high intensity interval training, which makes huge demands on your body during the session and also burns calories long after your session has finished (thanks to processes such as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC). Another big reason to favour resistance training over running if you want to transform your body is that the latter will do little to improve your upper body muscle mass so you won’t build bigger arms, a broader chest, a v-shaped torso and defined abs.
Supersets are when you perform two exercises back to back without rest and they’re useful for burning fat because they increase the intensity of your workout. There are lots of ways you can do supersets. You could work opposing muscle groups, such as a biceps move and a triceps exercise. Or you could pick two moves that work the same muscle group. You can even put three moves together to form a tri-set or four moves to create a giant set. Whatever you do, the principle is the same; you’re taking less rest, which will increase the energy demand of your workout and help you to burn more calories. They’re also a way of making your workouts time-efficient which is always a bonus.
Don’t get distracted
Speaking of time efficiency, it’s really important that you stick to the rest periods detailed in your workout plan. If the plan says rest for 60 seconds then that’s exactly what you should do. This is such a simple thing but it can have a huge impact on your results. Most gyms have clocks on the wall so you can easily monitor the time you’re taking between sets and exercises. If there’s no clock, use a sports watch or your phone – just make sure that you don’t get distracted by the social media soup of adorable animals, hateful politicians and pictures of holidays-that-weren’t-actually-as-fun-as-they-look.
Ignore your abs
If you want to reduce the fat around your belly then doing lots of abs exercises won’t get you the result you want. That’s partly because you can’t spot-reduce body fat (in other words, you can’t choose where your body loses fat) and also because abs exercises burn far fewer calories than big compound lifts, and it’s the calorie burn that will ultimately influence how much body fat you burn. You do need to do some direct abs exercises in order to give your six-pack some shape and definition and they are best done at the end of your session. But the bulk of your workouts should involve compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously such as the squat, bench press and shoulder press.
Finish yourself off
One of the most effective things you can do to maximise the fat loss effects of your session is to include a ‘fat loss finisher’. This is a high-intensity exercise or set of exercises designed to be performed at maximum effort with short periods of rest between sets. We’ve used this strategy to great effect in the New Body Plan with exercises including kettlebell swings, farmer’s walks, battle rope slams and bike sprints. They’re really satisfying to do, they give you a great buzz and they’ll take your fat loss efforts to the next level.
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