You hear it everywhere nowadays: High-intensity training is the best way to burn abdominal fat — the yucky (disgusting?) belly fat that we all loathe. For a lot of reasons, the body loves to store excess calories right there, and it happens to both men and women–yikes!
From a health perspective, there are two types of belly fat: the subcutaneous fat just below the skin surface, and the visceral fat, which is deeper and around the internal organs like the intestines, liver and kidneys. Visceral fat has the worst metabolic and health consequences, reducing good cholesterol and raising bad cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. It is associated with metabolic syndrome, a condition with abnormal blood fats and glucose, high blood pressure and obesity. The trouble is, you can’t tell who has more visceral or subcutaneous fat by looking at a big belly!
Either way, it is clear that it would be great for all of us to lose that belly. And actually, both types of belly fat can be reduced successfully with a sensible diet (NEWAY all the way!) and workouts done at a higher intensity.
High-intensity exercise basically means you have to work at a higher heart rate. It does not mean only interval training (where you work really hard for 20 to 60 seconds, recover, than repeat the activity. It can also mean working out at such a pace that you have a hard time saying a whole sentence.
Circuit training is a combination of various exercises performed in progression from one to another. One way to include weight training in a high-intensity exercise program that burns a lot of calories is to use a weight training circuit in which you move quickly, or even jog between exercises, with little rest. This keeps the heart rate high, provides further intensity in the actual weight lifting exercise, and generally qualifies as high-intensity exercise if you keep on the move. By doing a combination of high-intensity aerobics and resistance training, you get a great workout and target fat loss, muscle building and heart-lung fitness. We do a lot of that in Barb’s Fit U FIO and EMM classes. An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all prescribed exercises in the program; the idea being that when one circuit is complete, you start at the first exercise again for another circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often with rapid movement to the next exercise. This is my favorite way to train, and I believe the most effective one.
Try it and tell me what you think!