Use these ten foods in your diet to support fat loss and get the physique you desire. Assuming you are training regularly, including these foods in a high-protein, relatively low-carb whole food diet will help you get and stay lean, while feeling energized and motivated throughout the day.
Lose belly fat fast and improve your health by doing strength training and high-intensity intervals. Compelling research shows that the BEST way to get rid of the belly fat is to train with hard but short bursts of exercise, a style that taps into the anaerobic energy system more than the aerobic.
There is overwhelming evidence that belly fat loss is best achieved when exercise is with a high, but varied intensity, and a relatively large volume. However, this does not mean you have to spend hours and hours a day killing yourself in the gym. Less than an hour a few days a week can produce dramatic fat loss if you do it right.
This article will tell you why you burn more fat when you favor anaerobic-style training and give you eight reasons to favor this style of training by lifting weights and doing sprints rather than spending hours on aerobic exercise.
#1: Burn More Belly Fat with Sprint Intervals
A large number of convincing studies show that high-intensity interval training is the best conditioning strategy for losing belly fat. In contrast, one research group that has conducted a number of experiments comparing aerobic and anaerobic training for belly fat loss write, “Disappointingly, aerobic exercise protocols have led to negligible fat loss.”
The reason anaerobic interval training works so much better is that it requires the body to adapt metabolically—your body is forced to burn fat to sustain the level of intensity being asked of it. It also elevates energy use for more than 24 hours post-workout, which has a dramatic effect on belly fat loss.
For example, a 2008 showed that a 6-week program increased the amount of fat burned during exercise by 12 percent and decreased the oxidation of carbohydrates—obviously, a favorable result for losing fat. More impressive, a 2007 study showed that in as little as 2 weeks, active women who performed interval training experienced a 36 percent increase in the use of fat for fuel during exercise.
Interval training is so effective for fat loss because it taps into different energy pathways than aerobic exercise. Simply, aerobic exercise tends to burn carbohydrates first and activate pathways that are degrading to muscle, whereas high-intensity exercise such as weight lifting and sprinting will burn a greater percentage of fat, enhance the body’s production of enzymes involved in fat breakdown, and activate pathways that lead to muscle development.
The other reason anaerobic intervals are superior for belly fat loss is that they increase excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) a huge amount. A 2006 review showed that protocols that are more anaerobic in nature produce higher EPOC values than steady-state aerobic training because the trained muscle cells must rest restore physiological factors in the cells, which translates to a lot of energy expenditure.
#2: Lose Belly Fat With Sprint Intervals: The Proof
The following are examples of the superiority of anaerobic interval training for belly fat loss from the research:
• A 12-week high-intensity interval training program produced a 17 percent decrease in belly fat in overweight young men. Subjects lost 1.5 kg of belly fat and 2 kg of total fat, while building 1 kg of muscle. Fat burning was increased by 13 percent due to the 3-day a week program of 20-minutes of cycling in which the subjects sprinted for 8 seconds and then did 12 seconds of recovery, repeating these intervals for a total of 60 sprints.
• The same 20-minute cycling interval program produced 2.5 kg of fat loss in young women in 15 weeks, and the majority of the fat loss come from the legs and abdominal area. The sprint intervals were compared to a steady-state aerobic program that produced no fat loss.
• A 16-week study had trained athletes perform either a sprint interval protocol or steady-state running four days a week. The sprint interval protocol varied each day, but an example of one of the workouts used was 10 intervals of 30-sec sprints with 90 seconds rest. The sprint interval group lost 16 percent or 1 kg of visceral fat as well as 2 kg of total fat, compared to the endurance group that lost no belly fat, but did lose 1.4 kg of lean mass. The belly fat loss appears to be small, but be aware that subjects were lean, trained athletes to begin with and had less belly fat to lose than overweight subjects.
• An 8-week interval program using both high- and moderate-intensity intervals decreased belly fat by 44 percent in middle-aged men with type 2 diabetes. Subjects increased quad muscle size by 24 percent and improved insulin sensitivity by 58 percent—a dramatic improvement that highlights the other mechanisms involved in belly fat loss (muscle building, insulin health & blood sugar management).
#3: Sprints Take Less Time than Aerobic Exercise
Not only do sprints help you lose MORE belly fat, they help you lose it FASTER and with LESS training time. Repeatedly, studies show that more fat loss is achieved in high-intensity programs that use 20 to 25 minutes of training time than those that use 45 or 50 minutes of aerobic training time.
Scientists write that anaerobic intervals are overwhelmingly preferable to aerobics for producing belly fat loss, and that the estimated optimal dose of aerobic exercise necessary to lose belly fat appears to be 3,780 calories expended per week. This is an enormous volume of exercise that would require 1 hour of moderate intensity aerobic cycling 7 days a week to burn 550 calories a day so that you could lose even a pound a week!
In less than half the time you can get better results with anaerobic training. A 1994 study is indicative of this: Participants did either 20 weeks of aerobic training or 15 weeks of intervals (15 sprints for 30 seconds each) and lost nine times more body fat and 12 percent more visceral belly fat than the aerobic group.
What is so interesting about this study is that the energy cost of the aerobic program over the whole study period was 28,661 calories, whereas for intervals it was less than half, at 13,614 calories. In less time, the interval group lost much more weight—nine times more weight. How do researchers explain it?
Aside from greater fat oxidation and higher EPOC, hormone response plays a major role…
#4: Sprints Improve Hormone Response for More Belly Fat Loss
Sprint intervals and anaerobic exercise in general improve your entire endocrine system. Both training modes enhance the cells’ sensitivity to insulin, making anaerobic training a successful treatment for diabetes.
Perhaps most important, anaerobic exercise also elevates growth hormone (GH) —a powerful fat burning hormone that helps restore tissue and build muscle—much more than aerobic training. GH is released by the body in greater quantities in response to physical stress above the lactate threshold, which is the reason heavy, sprints are so effective.
Another hormone called adiponectin that is released from fat tissue during exercise also helps burn fat. Emerging scientific evidence shows that any time you perform forceful muscle contractions, adiponectin is released, and then your body produces a substance called PGC1 that is like a “master switch” that enhances muscle and metabolic functions, thereby burning belly fat. Naturally, anaerobic training is most effective for increasing adiponectin and PGC1 to burn fat since sprints and especially weight lifting require extremely forceful muscle contractions.
#5: Strength Train to Lose Belly Fat
To get a lean, trim your midsection and lose belly fat, you need to strength train with a high volume, using large muscle groups, and short rest periods. This metabolically intense type of training is fantastic for increasing GH and aiding belly fat loss. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours a day killing yourself in the gym!
You will get results from a resistance training program that includes the following components:
• Multi-joint lifts such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, split squats, step-ups, chin-ups, and chest presses in every training session. Add isolation exercises only if you have extra time.
• Train with a higher volume—work up to more than 4 sets per exercise. Shoot for 24 to 32 total sets per training session.
• Train with a higher intensity—include some training in the 70 to 85 percent of the 1RM range.
• Include short rest periods (30 to 60 seconds) and always train a “finisher” that requires near maximal effort for more GH response (25 reps of squats or 2 minutes of leg presses, for example).
• Count tempo for every lift so that you apply a specific amount of tension to the muscles. In general, opt for longer (4 second) eccentric tempos and short or explosive concentric tempos.
• Shoot for 3 to 4 hours of total training time per week, which includes resistance training and a few short sprint sessions.
#6: Anaerobic Training Produces Less Cortisol For More Belly Fat Loss
Cortisol is the stress hormone that is elevated when you are under both physical and psychological stress. Research shows cortisol is chronically higher in endurance athletes—one study found that aerobic athletes had significantly higher evidence of cumulative cortisol secretion in their hair than controls.
In addition, cortisol is generally elevated more following aerobic training than anaerobic training. Part of this has to do with the fact that strength training and intervals do elevate cortisol, but they also elevate anabolic hormones such as GH and testosterone that counter the negative effects of cortisol.
If GH and testosterone are not elevated, cortisol overwhelms tissue, having a catabolic effect that leads to gradual muscle loss and fat gain. By doing aerobic training without strength training, you will lose muscle, lower your metabolic, rate, and gain fat. Worst of all, high cortisol causes chronic inflammation, which lead to belly fat gain over time—all-around bad news!
#7: Anaerobic Training Is More Fun & Less Boring than Aerobic Exercise
Intervals and strength training take less time and provide much more variety than aerobic training. Not only are you doing many different exercises in a strength training session, but you are pushing yourself to reach new personal bests. When you see how it can transform a fat belly into a lean, cut midsection, you will be that much more motivated to continue!
In addition, although sprint interval training can be mentally challenging, it only requires a short workout and many trainees find intervals less boring than endurance exercise. Plus, most people enjoy feeling powerful and fast from going all out. Get a training partner to help push you through the hard parts and know that by working hard but smart, you will reach your fat loss goal.
#8: Mix It Up with Modified Strongman, Varied Strength Protocols & Sprints
A few more anaerobic training suggestions include the following:
• Try modified strongman training: Do sled training, tire flips, and a heavy farmer’s walk to lose belly fat fast.
• Mix up strength training protocols with circuit training and supersets that use very short rest periods. For example, do supersets with 10 seconds rest when switching from the agonist to the antagonist exercise and 60 seconds between sets. Or, do a “death circuit” of heavy, high volume deadlifts followed by split squats followed by lighter high volume squats with 10 seconds rest between exercises.
• Try a sprint training workout in which you do 20 second all-out sprints with 10 seconds rest in 4 sets of 4 intervals. Rest 3 to 4 minutes between sets.
• Try hill or stair running in which you sprint up as fast as possible and jog down—repeat immediately. Do 8 to 16 reps.
• Try a sprint-endurance workout with six to eight 200-meter sprints (about 30 seconds each) with a 3 to 4 minute recovery.
This also works great for someone with a home gym with restricted surface area. It goes like this::
Equipment needed: Olympic bar and plates and dumbbells
A. Power cleans from mid-thigh 5 x 4-6, rest 3 minutes between sets. Tempo X0X0
Equipment needed: Chin up station and dumbbells
A-1 Wide Grip Pullups, 5 x 4-6, rest 100 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
B-2 One Arm Lean Away Lateral Raises 5 x 8-10, rest 90 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
Equipment needed: Olympic bar and plates and Power Rack.
A. Paused Front Squats 5 x 4-6, rest 3 minutes between sets. Tempo 32X0
B. Cyclist squats, 5 x 8-10, rest 2 minutes between sets. Tempo 30X0. They are narrow heels elevated squats. Heels are 15 cm apart, and elevated 6-10 cm. Expect to decrease the weight every set.
C. Inertia squats 5 x 6-8, rest 2 minutes between sets. Tempo 22X0. Sent the pins so that are at solar plexus level when your heels are together. Work up in weight on this one. Only the last set should be challenging.
D. Back Squats 1 x 15-20. Tempo 20X0
Equipment needed: Adjustable Bench and Dumbbells
A-1 Incline Dumbbell Press, 5 x 4-6, rest 100 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
A-2 Incline Dumbbell Curls 5 x 4-6, rest 100 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
B-1 Flat Dumbbell Presses, 4 x 8-12, rest 90 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
B-2 Seated Dumbbell Zottmann Curls, 4 x 8-12, rest 90 seconds between sets. Tempo 30X0
Now this will only work if you do it….So stop reading, print it out, stick it on your wall and get TRAINING TODAY!!
Vary the tempo of your lifts to lose fat and get more powerful. Manipulating tempo is an easy way to modify the amount of time your muscles spend under a load, making it one of the best tools to help you break through plateaus and drop a few pounds of fat.
A fascinating new study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research shows how varying tempo and load will produce very diverse physiological results. This study compared the effect of performing the upright seated bench press on power, work output, exercise time, energy burned, and excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) using the following four protocols performed to failure:
• Muscular endurance, 55 percent 1RM with a 4141 tempo
• Fast Force endurance, 55 percent 1RM with an explosive tempo
• Maximum Strength, 85 percent 1RM with an explosive tempo
• Hypertrophy, 70 percent 1RM with a 2121 tempo
(Here is a quick description of tempos :
The first and third are the amount of time it takes you to perform the eccentric and concentric portions of the exercise, respectively. The second and fourth are the number of seconds you are advised to pause after. So 2010 requires a 2 second eccentric portion (lowering the weight), no pause at the bottom, a one second concentric portion and no pause at the top.
the ‘X’ implies you perform the action as fast as possible with good form. You typically see this on the concentric (raising the weight) portion of an exercise. )
Results showed that the Fast Force protocol resulted in the greatest power output, followed by the Maximum Strength protocol—a finding that is not surprising since those exercise trials were performed explosively and the others used a controlled, deliberate tempo. Maximum possible velocity and loads in the 30 to 60 percent of the 1RM range will always produce greater output than restricted lifting speed or heavy loads. Still, the fact that the Maximum Strength trial produced the second greatest power output also supports the inclusion of heavy load training for power—it’s not that one tempo is always best, but that you must vary tempo to achieve optimal results.
The Fast Force protocol also resulted in much greater work to be performed than all other protocols. The Maximum Strength protocol was second in work output, but this protocol took the shortest amount of time to complete (only 30 seconds) compared to the Muscular Endurance, which was longest in 105 seconds. The Fast Force and Hypertrophy trials both took about 64 seconds.
Considering that energy is related to the ability to perform work, it can be concluded that the Fast Force protocol requires the highest energy cost, or for practical purposes, it results in the greatest calorie burn. However, the Maximum Strength protocol provides the greatest energy burn for the amount of time spent lifting, again highlighting the value of tempo variation.
One interesting point made by the researchers is that in the Hypertrophy protocol, the amount of work performed was similar to that of the Maximum Strength trial, but the Hypertrophy protocol took much longer to complete, indicating that building muscle is a result of longer exercise duration and the subsequent physiological and metabolic responses produced, rather than mechanical work.
The last thing you should be aware of is that all the tempo protocols produced similar EPOC, which refers to the amount of calories burned following the workout due to an elevated metabolism. Although EPOC was similar, you would achieve best fat loss and body composition by using similar time under tension as with the Fast Force and Maximum Strength protocols since these used the most energy during training, and EPOC can be maximized with higher loads or greater work.
Buitago, S., Wirtz, N., et al. Mechanical Load and Physiological Responses of Four Different Resistance Training Methods in Bench Press Exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
If your primary goal is lean abs, a high volume total body program with sprints is the way to go. You’ll gain strength and muscle mass in the obliques, rectus abdominus, and erector spinae, giving you better trunk stabilization and a rock hard stomach.
Call us today on 01202 671783 for more amazing info to get you looking great by this summer.
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We store fat in adipose tissue in our bodies — mostly under the skin (subcutaneous) or in the body cavity (visceral), with a small amount in our muscles (intramuscular).
Why is fat loss so important?
We need to lose fat…
As a group, people in most industrialized societies are likely to be over-fat.
This isn’t just a cosmetic problem. Excess body fat can negatively affect nearly every facet of life, including:
- decreased mobility
- poorer emotional health and self-esteem
- increased risk of organ failure
- poorer circulatory health
- increased risk of heart disease
- increased risk of stress fractures
- increased risk of strokes
- increased risk of cancers
- decreased sexual and reproductive health
Fat cells can act as endocrine factories and produce hormones that influence numerous processes in the body — most of which lead to more fat accumulation.
Beyond the health of it all, carrying a lower body fat is often considered more attractive and desirable as the underlying muscle tone is revealed.
Further, carrying a lower body fat is advantageous for many sport competitors (barring sumo wrestlers) as extra fat weight adds drag and additional resistance that must be overcome.
Bottom line: Carrying a lot of excessive body fat makes health, body composition, and athletic performance worse.
…but it’s hard.
Here’s the problem — collectively, we’re not very good at losing fat either.
About 95% of those who are overweight go on repeated diets, only to gain most or all of the weight back within one year. Nearly 70% of the United States is overweight or obese. The percentage of 12 to 17 year olds who are overweight has doubled since 1980.
We need a better solution. Knowing how fat loss works may be helpful.
What you should know
Fat cells are a major storage site for body fat, and are in a continuous state of turnover. Fat metabolism is regulated independently by nutritional, metabolic, and hormonal factors; the net effect determines levels of circulating fatty acids and the extent of body fat.
Fat loss and hormones
Fatty acid release and use requires lower insulin levels and an increase of the hormones glucagon, cortisol, epinephrine, and growth hormone. These “anti-insulin” hormones activate HSL. The other major hormone that influences fat metabolism is thyroxine (thyroid hormone).
After a large feeding, glycogen is synthesized until stores are replenished. If high blood sugar persists, glucose is converted to fatty acids. Amino acids can also be converted to fatty acids. The enzyme necessary for cells to accept triglycerides is lipoprotein lipase.
In the un-fed state, insulin concentrations fall, and the anti-insulin hormones increase. This accelerates fat use.
Fat loss and caloric deficit
When we decrease our caloric intake significantly, the body preserves fat stores very efficiently. Since insulin is low, thyroid hormone production is decreased. With this, resting metabolism is lowered. This can take place within 24 hours of starting an extreme diet.
The body’s response to calorie deprivation makes rebound weight gain all but definite once the diet is finished. Muscle is usually lost, so the body usually becomes fatter.
Fats are more than just a fuel source during rest and lower intensity exercise. Fats restore phosphagens that have been exhausted during high intensity exercise. After intense exercise sessions, oxygen uptake is increased, which allows restoration to pre-exercise conditions (the “afterburn” effect).
Fat loss is a complex problem
With our focus on specific nutrients, intense nutrition counseling, dieting and processed food consumption over the past 30 years, body fat levels have also increased. In other words, more information, more dieting, more junk food has given us more fat.
While some of this may seem counter-intuitive, it illustrates the importance of body awareness, avoidance of processed foods, regular physical activity and influential food advertising.
Summary and recommendations
To maintain a low body fat and/or lower body fat:
- Exercise at least 5 hours per week
- Eat whole/unprocessed foods at regular intervals, while being aware of physical hunger/fullness cues
- Sleep 7-9 hours per night
- Don’t engage in extreme diets
- Stay consistent with your habits
- Incorporate non-exercise physical activity
- Ignore food advertising
For extra credit
Aspartame was approved for use in 1981, and while this non-caloric sweetener was hypothesized to help control body weight, since 1980, levels of body fat have increased….stop using, eating or drinking anything with this in.
Other factors associated with lower levels of body fat include:
- green tea
- low energy-density foods
- dietary protein
- avoiding refined carbohydrates
- adequate hydration
- dietary fibre
- fruits and vegetables
- regular exercise
- adequate sleep
- a supportive social network
While cortisol can break down muscle tissue, it can also break down body fat.
If you increase physical activity and nutritious food intake, metabolism will increase.
Blaming weight gain on calories is like blaming wars on guns. The diet is not the cause of excessive body fat levels. Rather, it’s the entire lifestyle.
Severe calorie deprivation inhibits the production of serotonin, a brain chemical needed to control appetite and maintain harmony with food.