Cardio burns calories and helps flatten your tummy.
Chris Clinton/Photodisc/Getty Images
A gym membership is not a necessity to get a flat stomach, but paying for it every month might motivate you to use it. Excess belly fat can jeopardize your health, because it increases the risk of serious conditions, such as diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, and heart disease. The gym offers a variety of exercises that can help reduce belly fat. Your emphasis should be on cardiovascular exercise to burn calories and strength training to stimulate muscle tissue. You can flatten your stomach at the gym with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet.
Perform at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week to burn calories. In a 30-minute session, a person who weighs 155 pounds can burn 335 calories by pedaling on an elliptical machine; 223 calories on a stair climber; 316 calories on a rowing machine; and 260 calories on a stationary bike or by participating in a low-impact, step class.
Add variety to your cardio routine to avoid overuse injuries and to target more muscles. For instance, instead of always riding a stationary bike, challenge your muscles slightly differently by using an elliptical machine or stair climber, or take an aerobics class. Alternatively, engage in cross training, during which you perform three, 10-minute sessions of different types of cardio.
Incorporate high-intensity intervals into one or two of your weekly cardio sessions. According to the American Council on Exercise, high-intensity interval training can effectively whittle away belly fat. Whether you jog on a treadmill, ride a bike, or use an elliptical or rowing machine, speed up to a vigorous pace for 30 seconds to one minute. Then return to a maintainable pace to recover for about two minutes. Alternate between the intensities throughout your workout.
Perform strength training on at least two nonconsecutive days of the week. Strength training preserves and increases muscle tissue, which uses up more calories than fat even when you're sleeping. Use free weights, weightlifting machines, exercise bands, or your body weight for resistance. Target your large muscles with multi-muscle or compound exercises, such as bench presses, deadlifts, lat pull-downs, bent-over rows and pushups.
Work combination exercise into your strength-training routine. These exercises combine isolation and compound workouts so you stimulate optimal muscle tissue in minimal time. For instance, perform lunges with lateral raises, step-ups with overhead presses, and squats with front raises.
Minimize the rest period in between strength-training sets so you turn your workout into a circuit-training session. Your heart rate stays up while you stimulate muscle tissue, resulting in increased caloric burn. Work opposing muscles consecutively. For instance, go from one set of leg extensions, which target your quadriceps at the front of your upper legs, to one set of hamstring curls, which target the back of your upper legs.
Make abdominal-strengthening exercises part of your strength-training routine. Although solely doing these exercises won't reduce belly fat, they do strengthen and tone your abs, so that when your excess belly fat reduces, you'll have a well-defined tummy. Perform knee raises or leg lifts in a captain's chair apparatus, bicycle crunches, and crunches on a stability ball. According to an ACE-sponsored study, these exercises most effectively work your abdominals.
Eat a nutritious, reduced-calorie diet to support your weight-loss effort. If you eat unhealthy, you'll end up gaining back the calories you burned through exercise and won't lose any weight. Include veggies whole grains, lean protein, fruits and reduced-fat dairy in your diet, and eat smaller portions to cut calories. Make small dietary changes that you can easily maintain long-term.
Create a deficit of 500 calories a day through diet and exercise. Since one pound of fat has 3,500 calories, you'll lose one pound of fat per week.
Hire a trainer if you're new to exercise. He can familiarize you with the gym, and show you perfect form of different exercises that can help you reach your goal.
Consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have a medical condition, have been inactive, or suffer from an injury.