While Instagram is full of members of the global #fitfam who show of their honed abs on a daily basis, those of us who don’t have a chiseled six-pack are all too aware that visceral, or belly, fat can be particularly stubborn to shift.
It’s far from an aesthetic concern, however. Because the amount of visceral fat we carry in our abdominal cavity surrounds a number of important organs, like the liver, pancreas, and intestines it’s important for our health to reduce it.
In fact large stores of visceral fat increase our risk for developing everything from Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance to heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
While it’s not possible to target problem areas when it comes to fat loss, scientists from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus analysed whether or not certain types of exercise were more effective than others to minimise those deadly belly fat stores.
The researchers had participants split into groups and commit to four workouts per week: some did steady-state workouts (like walking or long-distance running), while others took up strength training like lifting weights or a combination of steady-state and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
Truer words have never been written ✍🏽 It’s that time of the year again… @womenshealthuk have launched their #inshapemyshape campaign as part of this months issue celebrating healthy bodies across the board! If only we could all be a little more positive, stop comparing ourselves to one another and start loving what we’re got. Instead of trying to make life perfect, be proud of your achievements, enjoy the ride and give yourself a pat on the back. I’m still teaching myself this – I don’t want life to whizz by only to learn what really matters at the end of the journey. It’s too short and I want to be happy. I used to workout for the wrong reasons – as a punishment to my body (for copious dependencies I dealt with). Now I’m proud to admit that I LOVE exercise and I THRIVE off watching myself become stronger. Plus I love being able to eat lots of good food in order to feed my muscles and make GAINS ! Food is hands down the thing I most look forward to in a day, so I make it count 😂😂 !!! 💪🏽 I’m super duper proud to be supporting the gorg @clairesanderson (WH editor in chief) and her team in their third year of this awesome campaign.
When the trial period came to a close, the research team found those who had committed to a combination of steady-state and HIIT training lost both the most weight overall and more centimetres from their waistlines than other groups.
The same group also saw a spike in their respiratory fitness, which is important for warding off heart disease, while people in other groups remained the same.
The research team speculated the structure of HIIT programs – short and sharp – means we’ll try harder for longer, making them particularly effective at zoning in on belly fat.
“Group-based HIIT may consider as a good methods for individuals who exercise in gyms and craving to acquire significant fitness benefits in relatively short period of time,” they added.