In the weight-loss game, not all fat is created equal. And if you're trying to lose that belly pooch you just know is hiding a six pack, stomach fat is a particularly stubborn beast.
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But never fear: A recent study just found that one workout is particularly apt at burning off belly—a.k.a. visceral—fat.
Visceral fat is not only a pain in the butt, it’s also extra unhealthy, since it’s located in the abdominal cavity and surrounds several important organs. So, researchers looked into how certain types of training could slim this particular area.
In the study, which was published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, participants did four workouts a week, relying on various types of exercise. One group did four steady-state cardio and strength workouts, while another group did two steady-state workouts and two high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
Turns out HIIT is queen: The HIIT group not only lost more weight overall, they also lost more inches along their waistline, showing a significant reduction in visceral fat compared to the group that stuck to the steady-state gym routine. As an added bonus, the HIIT group also saw an increase in cardio respiratory fitness, while the other group did not.
The researchers say the fact that HIIT workouts are short and intense—allowing you to push your bod to the limit—may be why HIIT does such a killer job at incinerating the most unshakable fat.
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