Contrary to what many late-night infomercials would have you believe, spot reducing is impossible. No matter how badly you want to lose your "spare tire," you can't magically melt fat away from just one part of your body. But you can reshape your body, including that spare tire, with fat-burning cardiovascular exercise and selective toning techniques. Burning off the spare tire means losing weight all over, so the more calories you burn, the better.
Running is hard, even painful work until the endorphin rush kicks in. But endorphins or not, you can feel good about how running helps burn your belly fat away. According to figures published on Harvard Health Publications, if you weigh 185 lbs. and run at a steady 7.5-mph pace for one hour, you'll burn 1,110 calories. Even if you only run for half an hour, you'll have burned more than 500 calories. A 6-mph jog burns about 888 calories in one hour.
Running is a high-impact activity. Every time your foot hits the ground or treadmill deck, your bones, muscles and connective tissue absorb the shock of impact. If you can't handle the repeated impact of running but still want a high-intensity workout to help you get rid of your spare tire quickly, try stationary cycling. According to Harvard Health Publications, if you weigh 185 lbs. you can burn more than 900 calories in an hour of vigorous stationary cycling.
As you work out regularly, you'll get stronger and faster and be able to handle more intense workouts. If you're not up to running or fast cycling yet, try walking. Literally as simple as putting one foot in front of the other, walking is easy on your joints but can be surprisingly intense. An hour of brisk walking can burn 444 calories if you weigh 185 lbs.; walk uphill at the same speed to burn even more calories.
In a 2001 study commissioned by the American Council on Exercise, researchers found that stability ball crunches are one of the best all-around abdominal exercises. Although doing crunches won't automatically eliminate fat from around your midsection, crunches do tone the muscles beneath the fat. This creates a muscular midsection that will gradually reveal itself as you lose the spare tire with regular cardio exercise. Toning your abs can make it look as though you've lost even more weight than you really have.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.