For years it has been the advice of Diet Free Life that circuit training [a combination of cardio and resistance training, which includes lifting weights and strength building exercises] is how you exercise to burn belly fat. If it’s not circuit training, the other recommended method is high intensity interval training with your cardio.
In a NEW study, researchers assigned roughly 150 overweight, sedentary, middle-aged men and women with high LDL (“bad”) or low HDL (“good”) cholesterol to aerobic training, resistance training, or both.
The cardio sessions meant doing the equivalent of about 12 miles a week at a vigorous pace on treadmills, elliptical trainers, or stationary bicycles. For resistance training, participants performed three sets of each of eight exercises, with eight to 12 repetitions per set, three days a week.
After eight months, those who did just resistance training lost only subcutaneous (below-the-skin) abdominal fat. In contrast, those who did cardio—with or without resistance training—lost deep belly fat, subcutaneous belly fat, and fat from around the liver.
What’s more, they were less insulin resistant—that is, their insulin was more effective at admitting blood sugar into their cells.
What to do: Begin exercising where you are with the goal of combining cardio (to lose the most fat and curb insulin resistance) with resistance training (to minimize the loss of muscle that occurs as you age).
Source: Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2011, doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00291.2011.