It’s no secret that the only way to shed stubborn bell fat is through hard, hard work. It’s not going to go away by sitting on the couch playing Call of Duty for 6 hours every night, you need to get out there and exercise.
But what activities are best for getting rid of the old muffin-top? How do you know if you’re doing the right ones?
You’re Doing Cardio Wrong
I always hear people saying things like “I go jogging every day but I can’t seem to lose any weight!” Well, truth be told, cardiovascular activities requiring a constant, sustained aerobic workout are actually fairly ineffective for burning calories and fat reserves. The most effective cardio activities for accomplishing fat burning are ones where your body is forced to perform at a very high level for short intervals over a longer period of time. This constant variation keeps your body guessing and forces it to adapt quickly, using much higher levels of energy than constant prolonged activity.
Enter HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training
This is just a cool name for what is described above. Doing 10-15 minutes of HIIT will burn much more energy and calories than 30-45 minutes of low intensity sustained cardio.
Work Your Muscles
Cardio workouts are the main method that will help you shed fat. But don’t underestimate the importance of working all of your muscles. As you put more strain on muscles they will require more fuel to grow. This means that more of the food you eat will end up in your muscle tissue rather than in the fat around your belly.
Fat Burning Exercises
1. Wind Sprints
Following a warm-up, sprint for 15 seconds and then walk for 45 seconds. Repeat this four times. Next, change up the interval so you sprint for 30 seconds followed by 30 seconds recovery. Repeat four times. Finally, sprint for 60 seconds followed by 60 seconds recovery.
2. Cycling (Varied Resistance)
If you are cycling outside you will naturally have varied resistance in your route. If you are using a stationary bike, program it to “random” and hit it for 30 minutes. Every 10 minutes or so, allow your legs to “coast” to get a quick rest and then quickly hit it hard again. You can find some pretty cheap road bikes online that will suit most people well.
You need a starting line and 3 lines of various distance away from it. Start on your starting line and sprint to the first line, then back to the start, then to the middle furthest line, back to the start, then to the furthest line and back to the start. Do the whole drill as fast as possible without stopping.
4. Jump Rope
Jump rope at various speeds to get your blood pumping.
5. Box Jumps
Use a box height that fits your jump height. Practice jumping on top of the box with both feet simultaneously and back down immediately. Do this repeatedly until tired. These stackable platforms are pretty cool, especially for changing up the height easily.
6. Hill Climbs
Find an ample sized hill and get to the top as quickly as possible then come back down. Rinse and repeat.
Rowing is a great full body workout. Much like cycling you need your arms, legs and core to effectively perform the exercise. You can even find a pretty good row machine for your home gym for under $90 not bad.
8. Rollerblading/Ice Skating
Skating is another full body workout. You will naturally speed up and slow down which will enable HIIT. Roller blades are another pretty cheap accessory to your fitness lab.
When you think of high intensity workouts, racquetball doesn’t immediately spring to mind. However, this sport requires constant motion. Sprinting around the court can help you burn over 400 calories in 30 minutes. Cardio tennis is another effect high-impact activity. More tennis gear from Amazon.com
10. Jacob’s Ladder
Well, if you are lucky enough to have a gym with one of these machines you are in good shape. I say that because these things are super expensive and you are not likely to buy it for your home gym. But if you’re not familiar with it, go check out Jacob’s Ladder online.
11. Tire Drags
Find a big tire or two and a harness/rope to strap these to your back. Then do as many sprints as you can.
Classic outdoors activity that is both enjoyable and great cardio. Plus you get to feel like Bear Grylls with all the cool hiking gear you drag along. Don’t get in over your head though, there is no stepping off the machine when you feel like quitting.
13. Stair-Stepper (varied resistance)
Just like doing real stairs except you stay in one place. Be sure to change up your pace frequently to maximize your cardio workout. Check out stair-steppers on Amazon.com
Nothing to explain here. Change up your pace often. You can find some great deals on home treadmills online.
It’s known as one of the toughest sports out there, and if you have a place to play or a league to get involved in, go for it. Most adult leagues are non-hitting but after 60 minutes of up and down action you will burn off that smothered burrito you had for lunch with no problem. It’s also a ton of fun.
Just like hockey this sport makes you run and gun for short sprints over and over again. Find a league to play in, or just grab a ball and some friends and find an empty field.
The Airdyne is basically a stationary bike with handles that move. It helps work your upper body more during the exercise. Fairly affordable, you could buy an Airdyne machine and add it your home gym.
The elliptical is a great machine for using varied pace. This is another machine that would be simple to add to your home gym.
19. Recumbent Bike
The recumbent bike simply puts you in a leaned back position rather than hunched over as a normal bike would. This is easier on your back and allows you to put more stress on your legs and core.
Burpees are a masterful workout. They can be tricky to get the hang of for the first-timer and pretty difficult if you aren’t used to the basic movements. But once you have it down, they will burn calories like crazy.
21. Kettlebell Throws
Kettlebell throws make you get your whole body involved in order to move a weight up and down a few times. Super easy to learn the technique and easy to set a pace your comfortable with. A kettlebell set makes a nice addition to your home gym.
22. Circuit Training
Circuit training involves doing multiple exercises in series without stopping. This is great for cardio and burning fat because it continually changes the body’s motion and forces it to adapt.
If you have pool at home or a gym with pool access, start taking advantage of it. Swimming requires your full body to work.
24. Stadium Stair Run
This one might not be available to everyone obviously, since it requires access to a stadium. The idea is to time yourself and run up and down every staircase in a stadium. But, since a lot of people (and I mean a lot of people) can’t do a full stadium anyway, find some stairs in your neighborhood and take advantage of them instead.
Spinning classes will chew you up and spit you out. They are carefully designed to maximize cardio and calorie-burning. But beware, they are not easy.
Just like spinning, cardio kickboxing is usually set in a class environment. Ever see a professional kickboxer? Not an ounce of fat on them.
27. High Knees
Run forward with short, quick steps, pumping your knees into the air and flexing your hip, knee and foot. Keep your chest up, pump your arms and land on the balls of your feet.
28. Butt Kickers
Stand with the knees close together, arms either down by the side of behind on top of the bottom. Flex your left knee and the left leg behind you so it touches the glute, return that leg to the floor and repeat with the right leg. Do them as quickly as possible for time.
Stand with your hands straight up in the air. Without bending either, bring your right leg out straight and touch your toe with your left hand. Switch back and forth between right and left body parts. When you see yourself doing these, you will understand why they call them Frankensteins.
30. Power Skips
This one is a bit hard to explain, just watch this video demonstration.
31. Bear Crawls
Everybody knows how to bear crawl. I recommend doing these like sprints, up and down some nice soft grass and timing yourself.
Well, this one’s easy. You can get involved with a cardio dance class or you can do it in your own living room. Plus, it’s fun (when nobody’s looking).
33. Alligator Drags
Get in a pushup position. Now instead of doing a pushup, keep your legs completely still and drag yourself forward with your hands. After about 10-15 of these you will be saying to yourself “Well, this sucks…”
Surely, there are at least a few exercises amongst this list you can find the means to perform. Remember to employ the HIIT strategy and change up your intensity frequently to make your body really sweat. Good luck!