When you think about burning belly fat, what kinds of exercise come to mind? Do you imagine having to do endless crunches, planks, and other ab-targeted exercises? If so, you’re thinking about belly fat all wrong.
Targeted ab moves will condition, tone, and strengthen your abs. However, they won’t help torch the layer of fat covering your abs to reveal all the hard work underneath. That’s something you’ll accomplish only through cardio and strength training; two types of workout that don’t target your abs but do promote fat loss throughout the body!
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of burning belly fat at the gym, including 5 mistakes you should avoid and 3 workouts you should be doing.
The basics of belly fat
Not all fat is created equal, including your belly fat! In fact, belly fat is typically made up of two types of fat:
- Subcutaneous fat – This is the fat you can pinch on the surface. While it’s frustrating, it doesn’t pose too much of a threat to your general health.
- Visceral fat – Visceral fat is firm and surrounds internal organs rather than sitting on the surface. Visceral fat is more dangerous, because of its proximity to your organs, but the good news is it’s also the fat that’s first to go when you start losing weight. This is why you don’t notice most initial weight loss on the surface.
5 Mistakes to avoid when trying to burn belly fat
There’s nothing worse than showing up to the gym for weeks on end, putting in the work, and still not seeing the results you want. By understanding the mistakes you may be making which are causing this issue, you can avoid making them yourself!
Here are 5 of the most common mistakes gym-goers make when they’re trying to burn belly fat:
- They’re doing cardio, then weights – You might not think the order of your workout matters, but it does! If you’re slaving away on a cardio machine before you make it to the weights, you’re not going to have as much energy, and won’t be able to lift as heavy as you would have if you’d started in a rested state. Make sure you’re working out as hard as you can by doing weights, then cardio – you’ll burn more fat overall, belly included.
- You’re resting between sets – While some recovery time is normal between sets, you don’t want to rest for too long. When you do sets back-to-back, you increase your heart rate significantly, which promotes fat burn, even after you’re done working out.
- You’re not challenging yourself – Muscle burns more fat than other body tissue. As such, it’s important you’re always challenging yourself to continue building muscle that will burn more fat even when you’re not at the gym. If lifting a certain weight feels easy, increase it! You always need to challenge yourself to see improvement, especially for fat burn.
- You’re not interval training – While there are benefits to steady state cardio, interval training can rev up your metabolism long after your workout is complete! In fact, interval training means you can do shorter workouts, at higher intensities, and lose more weight. Just 15 to 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), 3 to 4 times per week is all it takes to see results.
- You’re not giving yourself time to recover – Whether you have weight to lose, or are just an avid gym-goer, working out too often can have negative effects on your body too. If you’re doing back-to-back strength training without rest days, you’re putting yourself at increased risk of injury, and your muscles aren’t being given the opportunity to rebuild.
It’s simple to flip all of these mistakes into belly fat burning exercises. Read on to see our top tips for when you want to make the most of the gym for belly fat burning purposes!
How to really burn belly fat at the gym
When you want to burn belly fat at the gym, there are a few primary types of exercise you should focus on:
- Cardio – Cardio helps create the energy deficit your body needs to lose weight. Energy deficits help the body use stored triglycerides (or fat stores), for energy. This means you could get on a treadmill, bike, or even rowing machine and create the deficit necessary to begin using fat for energy!
- Interval training – As was mentioned above, interval training is a great way to burn belly fat after you’ve gotten used to training in a steady state. Research shows that interval training can improve insulin resistance and glucose tolerance, both of which can promote belly fat loss. You can adjust the intervals as you train as well to do more work and less rest as your physical fitness improves.
- Weight Training – Lots of dieters believe that cardio is the best (and sometimes only) way to lose belly fat. However, strength training might be even more effective! Weight training tends to target the entire body while building muscle. By doing so, the body can process food more efficiently, and burn more calories than it would with a lower muscle density. As such, it’s important you make weight training a regular part of your routine as well.
Take to the gym and get burning!
Now you know everything you need to know to start burning the stubborn fat that surrounds your internal organs and sits on the surface, all that remains is to get to the gym and change your workouts accordingly.
By paying close attention to the mistakes many dieters make, as well as the workouts you should focus on every time you hit the gym, you can torch belly fat in no time!
How do you train for fat loss? Share your tips in the comments below!