Does ab work burn belly fat?

girl doing ab work

Someone has told you that you can target the fat in your stomach with sit-ups.

So, your plan to burn your belly fat is by doing thousands of crunches.

And within a month, you should have six-pack abs, right?

Wrong.

Learn the right way to lose belly fat before it kills you.

Does ab work burn belly fat? The truth.

So, does ab work burn belly fat?

Simply no, doing ab workout all day will not burn your belly fat.

And let me tell you why you are wide-eyed in disagreement.

You do your crunches, and you feel the burn.

And the burn “feels” like you just torched a couple of fats in your belly.

Sadly that is not the case.

The “burn” that you feel after a workout is the lactic acid in your muscles.

Lactic acid builds up when the demand for oxygen in your muscles is not met during exercise.

The benefits of doing crunches are to tone and strengthen your core muscles. Crunches are not designed to burn belly fat.

What burns belly fat?

guy shrugs

So, ab work doesn’t do anything for your belly fat. 

If ab crunches won’t burn belly fat, what does?

Cardio does.

Running, walking, jogging will get you a leaner stomach. 

If you are not into those types of cardio, you can do whatever you want as long as you are hitting your fat-burning zone. 

To find your fat-burning zone, you need to find your maximum heart rate. You can use our MHR calculator by clicking here.

Your maximum heart rate and age determine your ideal heart rate to burn fat.

In a study, even working at only 61% of your MHR will burn your stored fats.

Take me, for example, my MHR is 180 BPM, and at only 61%, I am burning fat. 

After taking 61% of 180 BPM, my fat-burning zone is at 110 BPM. Getting to 110 BPM is reasonably easy — it’s a brisk walk in the park.

[source: Quantifying differences in the “fat burning” zone and the aerobic zone: implications for training.]

Exercises to burn belly fat

The following are my recommendations and what I use to burn the fat in my gut:

  • Walking
  • Shadowboxing
  • Skipping
  • Play sports

Walking

group of people walking

Walking is still my number 1 exercise to burn belly fat. 

In my experience, walking has the least chance of getting an injury. Walking is also great for beginners, and you can adjust the intensity for the more advanced.

Even though I never experienced injuries from running, some avid runners report of many injuries. The following are the common injury for runners:

  • Plantar fasciitis.
  • Achilles Tendonitis and Insertional Achilles Tendinopathy.
  • Shin splints.
  • Patella Tendonitis.
  • High Hamstring Tendinopathy.
  • Stress fractures.
  • Runner’s Knee.
  • IT Band Injuries.

As you can see, there are many injuries you can sustain when running.

[source: Comprehensive guide for every running injury]

After walking for weeks or months, eventually, you will get fitter. You may notice you are not huffing and puffing as much. 

Turn it up a notch and push yourself. If you don’t, your abs won’t show. To up the intensity, you can power walk or hit the hills. 

Hitting the hills will work out your quads, glutes, and calves. Power walking will push your muscles more than you’re used to.

Learn more about walking to lose belly fat by clicking here.

Shadowboxing

shadowboxing

I thought shadowboxing is common knowledge. But when I told a friend, he had no clue.

So, let’s define shadowboxing.

Well, my definition of shadowboxing is to box, fight, an imaginary opponent. 

Being Filipino, I’m a boxing fan. Filipinos only have 2 sports, boxing and basketball, that’s it.

By age 11, I started boxing. Sparring with a friend on the street using worn training gloves and always getting knocked out on my arse, fun times.

I’ve learned how to shadowbox by watching other boxers.

I already knew the basics, I just needed to pretend I was boxing someone.

You can get the basics down by watching youtube videos such as the following:

Now, depending on how much effort you put in, you can lose a significant amount of calories by shadowboxing. 

The beauty of shadowboxing is that you don’t need any boxing equipment to get started. It’s also convenient when you lack space.

Moreover, shadowboxing is surprisingly low impact on your joints. If you want to know more about shadowboxing, click on this link.

Skipping

woman jumping

Skipping ropes is fun. I like to compliment my shadowboxing by skipping for 10 minutes. 

My routine is as follows: skip for 10 minutes, then shadowbox the next 20 to make up 30 minutes of cardio.

Or, vice versa.

Shadowbox for 10 minutes and hit the ropes for 20 minutes.

Or, shadowbox for 15 minutes and skip for 15 minutes. There are too many timing variables, and it’s up to you what suits you best.

Skipping ropes is excellent to improve your balance, develop cardio, and build your calves.

The downside to skipping is that it takes a long time to master. You could be tripping on the ropes for the first few days or even weeks, depending on your skill level.

However, once you can skip for 1 minute without tripping, you’ll feel like you just climbed Mt. Everest.

Play sports

people playing sports

Playing sports is fun! Especially with friends. 

Not only are you burning fat, but you are also catching up with mates.

If you don’t have friends to play with, why not join a club? 

Get some pick-up games at the courts. 

If you are anti-social, you can start rowing, surfing, bodyboarding. There are hundreds of sports you can play solo.

Running

people running

The best thing about running is that you are always hitting your fat-burning zone. 

Don’t get all excited. Before you hit the pavement, make sure you are adequately geared. Essential gear for a runner is their shoes. 

Buying proper running shoes lessen your chances of injury. Running shoes are different from other shoes; they are usually lighter and have better sole padding at the heel.

You see, most people run from heel-to-toe. Running shoes are designed for heel-to-toe applications.

There are 3 ways people run, heel-to-toe, midfoot strike or forefoot strike.

I run on the balls of my feet and toes without putting pressure on the other parts of my foot, forefoot strike. 

However you run, the important thing is that you are wearing proper gear.

For better guidance on running click on this guide to running.

Conclusion

does ab work burn belly fat

Does ab work burn belly fat?

No.

To burn belly fat, you have to be in a calorie deficit. 

You can achieve a calorie deficit through diet and exercise. 

Doing ab work will only strengthen your core muscles and tone your stomach.

If you have a hard time watching what you eat, how about sweating the calories out instead?

You can lose a significant amount of calories by walking, jogging, or playing sports.

The important thing is that you are hitting your fat-burning zone. To find your fat-burning zone, use our calculator

It’s simple, just put your age, and it will calculate how much intensity you should put in to burn fat.


Nutritionist

Christian Tanobey

Metabolism of a sloth and a body that’s almost impossible to put on muscles motivated me to study weight loss and nutrition. Sharing what I’ve learned and experienced to help you achieve your ideal body.


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