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New Study: Interval Training Helps Reduce Belly Fat

Posted May 06 2010 8:04pm
By Craig Ballantyne 11/02/2007

Reduce Belly FatConventional wisdom says you can’t spot-reduce belly fat. But new wisdom says you can lose that spare tire and not the way you think. Forget crunches. A new report says that “high intensity intermittent exercise may result in greater fat loss in the abdomen.” In other words, interval training burns stomach fat first, over all other sources of fat on the body.

Professor Steve Boucher, the study’s Australian co-author, and his colleagues put young women into two groups:

Group 1: Three workouts per week of 20 minutes of intervals (8 second sprint followed by 12 second recovery) for 15 weeks

Group 2: Three cardio workouts per week of 40 minutes for 15 weeks

Group 1, the interval group, lost a significant amount of abdominal fat.

So why do the intervals work so well?

Boucher believes it has something to do with the increase in hormones called catecholamines (adrenaline is a catecholamine hormone). These increase after intervals, but not after slow cardio. Catecholamines are a fat-burning hormone and there are a lot of catecholamine receptors in belly fat. He thinks the elevated fat-burning hormones from intervals ends up leading to targeted belly fat burning.

Interesting theory. We’ll see if more research is able to confirm that hypothesis. Regardless, it’s great to see studies showing intervals to be more effective for losing stomach fat than slow cardio workouts.

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is an expert consultant for Men's Health magazine. If you're looking to burn fat, build muscle and quickly step into the body you have always wanted with just three workouts each week, check out Craig's fat-loss system by .]

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