Health & Fitness

HIIT Is Officially The Best Exercise For Burning Belly Fat, According To Science

And Gisele Bündchen's abs.

By Kristen Amiet
Under Armour
While it's (sadly) not possible to target problem areas when it comes to fat loss, we do know that fat in certain areas is more difficult to shift than others. And visceral – or belly – fat is particularly stubborn.
It's important for our health to reduce the amount of visceral fat we carry in our abdominal cavity because it surrounds a number of important organs, like the liver, pancreas, and intestines. 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.
In a bid to understand how we can minimise those stores, scientists from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus analysed whether or not certain types of exercise were more effective than others.
They 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).
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 – an obvious indicator of a reduction on visceral fat – than other groups.
The added bonus is that the same group saw a spike in their respiratory fitness, which is important for warding off heart disease, while others' 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.
  • undefined: Kristen Amiet