There is no doubt about it, belly fat is beyond frustrating. Sometimes, it seems that no matter how clean you eat or how many miles you run, that pudge refuses to budge. While it may be tempting to just throw in the towel, we suggest you read this first!
A recent study from Harvard University shows that the best way to burn belly fat is not through endless cardio but something else entirely! Cardio exercises are still necessary as they contribute to an overall body health, but, as it turns out, daily weight training is the answer for your gut!
The researchers examined the fitness habits of 10,500 men, aged 40 and over, and found that the men who lifted weights for 20 minutes every day, accumulated half as much belly fat over 12 years as the men who just did straight cardio.
Obviously, when you weight train you are building and maintaining your muscles, but it is so much more than that. "When you weight train and build more strength and muscle mass, over the long-term, your muscles will adapt in a way that they are able to take in more oxygen," says study coauthor Rania Mekary
. This oxygen intake is key in your body's ability to burn fat. With this increase in oxygen, your muscles will develop more mitochondria which sparks energy in the muscle cells. "When you have more mitochondria, your body is able to burn more fat as a source of energy," explains Mekary.
Weight training also helps your burn calories for longer periods of time. "Other studies have found that even between sets, during these very short breaks, your muscles are pumped up and you continue to burn calories," Mekary says. "Even 48 hours after you've weight trained, you're still burning more calories than a person who did not lift weights."
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Of course, this trimming transition will not happen overnight. It may take a few months to see results. Previous studies have found that weight training is NOT more effective when it comes to fighting fat gains but they were conducted over a short time frame which may explain why Mekary's 12 years of data found the opposite to be true.
While strength training is more effective than cardio for creating a svelte waist, it is worth noting that the study also found that men who did both cardio and strength training kept off the most weight as they aged!
So, what does all this information mean for you? It means that if you are ONLY doing cardio and struggling to lose fat, you should consider adding at least 20 minutes of strength training to your daily routine. No need to give up your cardio, just enhance it!
If you are looking for a program that incorporates both cardio and strength training exercises, we've got just the thing for you. The DailyHIIT Show is a real time workout series you can do anywhere. These short, intense workouts will get your heart rate up and help you build long, lean muscles. Have a look:
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Have you added weight training to your routine and noticed a difference? Leave us a comment and share your story!