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The Only Type of Exercise That Reduces Your
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Last updated June 5, 2016 (originally published May 6, 2013)

By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
[
Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our panel of
Registered Nurses, Certified fitness trainers and other members
of our Editorial Board.
]




Here’s an experiment. Say you have two identical twin sisters and
each wants to reduce their waist size. Sister One, call her Anne,
decides she will walk 5 days a week on the treadmill at a
moderate rate. Sister Two, call her Emma, decides she is going to
run for 3 days a week and then do some light workout on the
other two days. Which sister will reduce her waist size more after
3 months?

Unfortunately, If you have been searching for an ideal exercise to
reduce your waist, you would have found conflicting answers.
Some sources advise that moderate exercise is the best way to
reduce your waistline. Others say that you have to incorporate
weight-training to reduce abdominal fat. Which is correct? What
is the best way to achieve a healthy waist size in as little time as
possible. Which exercise actually works to reduce your waist?

In 2009, a team of 8 scientists at the University of Virginia  
undertook carefully controlled physical experiments to learn
which type of exercise is effective at reducing your waistline.
From their landmark study we now know the answer to a
question that has baffled physical trainers for years --- should we
workout harder or workout  longer if we want to reduce
abdominal fat? We now know that only one type of exercise ---
high intensity exercise – is effective at reducing visible abdominal
fat.  

Moreover, only a particular type of high intensity exercise will
actually reduce abdominal visceral fat, and that is high intensity
exercise that makes you work above what is called your “lactate
threshold”.

Elite athletes are very familiar with the Lactate Threshold. They
have used this physiological tool to train their bodies to achieve
out-sized, superhuman results in the Olympics.

What Is the Lactate Threshold?



























Lactic acid is a waste byproduct of muscle exertion. Whenever
you exert yourself, a bit of lactic acid is released into your blood
stream. If you exert yourself at a moderate pace, your body is
able to remove the lactic acid about as fast as it is released.  But if
you push yourself hard, the lactic acid that is released will
overwhelm your body’s ability to remove it.  The build-up of lactic
acid will make you stop.  You’ll have no choice.  

Have you ever run fast and had to pull up, panting, you just can’t
go any further? That’s because your body’s lactic acid levels rose
too high.

Lactic acid is released whenever the amount of oxygen you have
in supply is too low to meet your body’s metabolic needs.  
When lactic acid rises too high, your muscles can no longer
contract and you simply have to stop. Sometimes you start to feel
a pain in the muscle that is lactate-burdened. You may feel a
painful cramp. Your muscles seize up.

Your lactate threshold –also called the anaerobic threshold – is
important for you to recognize. If you never reach your lactate
threshold, you will not reduce your waist circumference quickly.

Closer Look at the Proof That High Intensity Exercise Reduces
Waist Size

In the study, researchers started with 27 women who all had
metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome describes a set of
unhealthy characteristics ---including being overweight, having
high blood pressure and being sedentary ---- that tend to
increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Having a waist size over 40 inches (102 centimeters) is one of the
defining characteristics of metabolic syndrome. So is having a
waist circumference above the recommended healthy waist size.
To be diagnosed as having metabolic syndrome, you need to have
at least two of the unhealthy characteristic.  In the study, all the
women had larger than healthy waist size, plus at least two of the
following characteristics:

  • abnormally high fasting blood glucose

  • a HDL-C (good cholesterol) number that was too low

  • abnormally high triglycerides levels (called
    hypertriglyceridemia)

As for blood pressure, all of the women either had normal blood
pressure or slightly
high blood pressure (mildly hypertensive).

The Battle of the Workouts

In the experiment, the 27 women were divided into 3 groups of 9
each. One group was assigned to work out at a low intensity ---
always  below the Lactate Threshold--- for 5 days a week. The
second group was assigned to workout at High Intensity ---
above the Lactate Threshold --- for 3 days a week and Low
Intensity for 2 days a week. The last group, the control group,
didn’t do any exercise.

Here’s a key point. The two groups of participants who did
exercise were closely monitored and measured to ensure that the
total amount of calories both groups burned were identical.  

The fact that the two exercising groups were each limited to the
same calories burned is what makes this particular study so
important.

Several studies in the past had found that moderate intensity
exercise worked to reduce body fat and belly fat but these studies
suffered from the flaw that the groups used to compare moderate
intensity with high intensity workouts were not limited to the
same calorie expenditure.

And, since people who work out at a moderate pace can work out
longer, they naturally would burn more calories.  Thus, these past
studies never truly pitted high intensity exercise against lower
intensity exercise in a meticulously controlled calorie-expenditure
environment.

At the end of 16 weeks, the researchers found that High
Intensity, above the Lactate Threshold, exercise will

  • significantly reduce your visible abdominal fat )called visceral
    abdominal fat)

  • significantly reduce the fat that is not visible which is buried
    under layers of skin (called subcutaneous abdominal fat)

  • significantly reduce the fat that is in the middle of your
    thighs.

Example of High Intensity Exercises You Can Do

First of all, what is “high intensity” for one person is not
necessarily high intensity for  another. We each have different
Lactate Thresholds. But to find out in a rough measure where
your Lactate Threshold is, find a flat surface to run on. Run for a
minute. If you’re not out of breath, great. You’re in good
condition, so you’ll have to work harder to reach your Lactate
Threshold. Run faster.

When you find  a speed which you can only comfortably hold for
a minute without getting out of breath, you’ve probably come
close to your Lactate Threshold.

Now, the trick is to push yourself beyond your Lactate Threshold
three days a week, say, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On
two other days a week, you can cruise at low intensity.

You can also try a rowing machine, treadmill, swimming, kick-
boxing, boxing, judo, ballet. Any exercise that is intense enough
to make you run out of breath. Do it hard enough to run out of
breath. Then, try to extend the amount of time you can do it each
week before you run out of breath.  At the end of 16 weeks, your
waist line will be significantly smaller.

[Editor's Note:

Scientists recently have discovered that
food can turn into fat in
as little as 3 hours and during that 2 hours, the fat is stored
around your waist. So, it may help you to avoid adding weight
around your waist if you exercise within 3 hours of eating.]
















































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