Are you looking for a strategy that could help you lose your belly fat and get a flat stomach? You are not alone! One of the many ways that beginners use to shed off some pounds is by sprinting. If you are a newbie in the weight loss world, you might want to try this method. But before you get started, here’s a question to consider: will running burn belly fat effectively for me?
You probably know of many people who are running as a way to exercise and lose weight. It is estimated that in the United States alone, over 64 million people take to the streets at least once a year. Let’s take a quick look at how you could get rid of belly fat through sprinting as a primary exercise.
What Is Belly Fat?
Belly fat, found in the area of the body between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the thighs, is also known as visceral fat. It is not only a source of shame for many but also a danger to your body health. Doctors say this is the most dangerous fat there is in your system.
Lethal compounds accumulate in your abdomen and surround your organs. This fat will not only affect how you look but also raises the risk factor for the following conditions:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Shorter life expectancy
- Sleep apnea
- Some types of cancers
- Coronary artery diseases
- Heart diseases
Will Running Help Me Burn Chest And Belly Fat?
To shed off some pounds, you need to create a calorie deficit in your system. You should create a deficit of about 3,500 to 7,000 calories weekly to lose about 2 pounds every week.
This deficit can be achieved by eating fewer calories and burning more by sprinting. You can burn off your chest and belly fat if you run consistently (17).
Will Running On A Treadmill Burn Belly Fat?
As earlier mentioned, you can only lose weight if you have a calorie deficit in your system. This deficit can be achieved by fat burning workouts such as running on a treadmill.
However, you need to make sure that you have consumed fewer calories than normal before your workout. You should also burn a lot of the calories you consumed while running on the treadmill to achieve the desired results.
In fact, research shows that running on a treadmill burns 33 more calories than walking. Sprinting on track burns 36 more calories than walking (6).
Will Running For A Week Burn Belly Fat?
Sprinting is an effective way of burning calories. You can easily achieve a calorie deficit by consuming less and engaging in this physical activity.
The amount of belly fat you can burn by sprinting will highly depend on your pace, run duration, and body size. If you give a week of planned exercise, you will successfully burn considerable belly fat amounts.
Will Running And Walking Burn Belly Fat?
You already know that sprinting works magic; how about walking? Well, you can burn visceral fat with a simple brisk walk.
However, to burn considerable amounts of fat, you will need to walk at a fast pace and also for longer distances. The faster and longer your walk is, the more calories you will burn.
Benefits Of Running To Burn Belly Fat
Here are some reasons why you should consider sprinting as a way to lose weight over other types of exercises.
1. It Burns More Calories
A study conducted by Harvard University supports the above difference in calories. The study compared calories burned by people of three different weights over 30 minutes.
According to the results, 70Kg subjects could easily burn 372 calories sprinting at a normal pace of 10km/hr for 30 minutes. That was as many as the calories burned by subjects engaged in vigorous martial arts, swimming, and 30 minutes’ games such as basketball (3).
2. You Will Burn Calories Even After Exercise
Only a few exercises continue to burn fats after you are done with workouts.
Well, research shows that high-intensity runs such as hill-repeats and so forth continue to burn fats up to 48 hours after your exercises (5).
Running uses several muscles which need energy to recover after your workout. This is normally referred to as the “after-burn effect” in the fitness world.
Several studies have shown that this after-burn effect can help you significantly burn more fats over time.
In one study, subjects were made to cycle for 45 minutes at a very intense pace. They burned 519 calories during their workout and another 190 calories over the following 14 hours (1).
3. Suppressing Your Appetite
If you are trying to reduce your calorie intake by eating less, you might already know that this strategy will sometimes increase your hunger.
The good news is that sprinting can help you keep your hunger at bay. Several studies suggest that high-intensity running compacts hunger by reducing your appetite (7).
High-intensity runs suppress the levels of the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. It also promotes the production of satiety hormones, such as peptide YY (PYY).
A study involving 11 subjects found out that sprinting for an hour or doing strength training for 1 and a half hours reduced ghrelin levels and increasing production of PYY.
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4. Running Targets Belly Fat
A lot of studies show that belly fat can be reduced by moderate to high aerobic exercises such as sprinting without changing your diets.
An analysis of more than 15 studies involving over 852 subjects found out that aerobic exercises reduced fat without any diet change. Training at moderate to high intensity was found to be the most effective at compacting belly fat (14).
A study involving middle-aged subjects found out that high intensity running reduced belly fat considerably more than no exercise or low intensity running/walking.
5. Running Has Tons Of Other Benefits
Aside from cutting your belly fat, sprinting has many other health benefits. A few of the health problems running prevents include the following:
- Heart disease. One study with over 50,000 subjects found out that sprinting for five to ten minutes every day could reduce heart disease risk by around 46%
- Diabetes. Sprinting can lower your blood sugar by making your muscle cells sensitive to insulin (12).
- Falls. Running will help you reduce the risk of falling while walking if you are elderly. Research shows that older people who run are less likely to fall since their leg muscles are more responsive.
- Cataracts. One study found out that moderate and vigorous running or pace walking reduced cataracts risk. The more the exercise subjects did, the lower the risk was.
- Knee damage. Some people believe that sprinting is bad for the knees. Well, it turns out to be false. According to an analysis of 28 studies, this is just a misconception. There is strong evidence that physical activity increases the strength of your knees (16).
- Knee pain. Running can also compact knee pain. Research involving subjects with an average age of 64 years concluded that knee pain and arthritis are not linked with sprinting. Instead, people who run actually have less knee pain.
How To Burn Belly Fat Through Running?
If you want to lose weight, then you must burn as many calories as possible. Sprinting can help you do so. Here are some habits that will help you get rid of that daddy’s bod:
1. Choose The Appropriate Type Of Running
The first step to losing belly fat is to choose the kind of exercises that work well for you.
Well, there are several types of running. Each type has its purpose as well as benefits. You can choose your preferred one from the following types:
- Base. This is a normal run. It is short or moderate length (Around 10km) and done at a natural pace.
- Long. It is a longer version of the base run. It is done at the same pace but over a great distance, usually 15 to 20 kilometres. This type will improve your endurance and fitness (2).
- Interval. Short and intense run that is often repeated several times. There are short breaks in between. For instance, you could run for a distance of 400 metres five times and take rests of around 5 minutes for each interval. This type of run gives you running speed and power.
- Hill repeats. Similar to the interval sprinting. However, here you will run uphill. For instance, you could run for 1 minute 10 times, taking a break between the repeats. This type of exercise will strengthen your stamina and improve your power as well as speed.
- Recovery. These are slow runs that are done after hard runs. For example, you could do uphill runs and do a 4-minute run at your comfortable pace.
- Progression. Here, you start slow and finish at a fast pace. For instance, you could do an 8km run at a natural pace and then 2km at a breakneck pace. These types of runs will improve your speed, endurance and reduce fatigue.
2. Getting Started
Once you have chosen the type of runs that work well for you, you should now start. So, have the following:
- Good and comfortable running shoes
- Comfortable top
- A water bottle
- Comfortable pants
Women must wear a sports bra while running to reduce pain. You can have reflective gear or a coat to avoid accidents as you run very early in the morning or at night.
At the beginning of your workouts, follow these basics:
- Warm-up. Before running, it is important to stretch out to prepare your body. Start by stretching, then walk for about 5 minutes and eventually start sprinting slowly as you progress to a high pace.
- Cooldown. Once you finish one round of your run, cool down for around 6 minutes. Take a walk during this time and gradually increase your speed after the break.
- Frequency. Aim for 3 or 4 days of running every week. This allows you to have enough time to recover in between your workouts.
- Workout time. You can run for 30 minutes every day. This includes five minutes of warm-up, 20 minutes of sprinting, and 5 minutes for cooling down (9).
3. Have A Plan
If you are using your runs to lose belly fat, you need to have a plan.
For a beginner, you might want to alternate running and walking during your workouts. Gradually, you should increase the time and intensity of each exercise.
Here is a sample plan for a month.
- Do 5 minutes of warm-up.
- Run for 1 minute at a natural pace
- Add 2 minutes of moderate pace walking
- Repeat the natural and moderate run for 7 times
- Cool down for 5 minutes
- Warm-up for 5 minutes
- Run for 2 minutes at a natural pace
- Add 2 minutes of moderate pace walking
- Repeat the moderate walking and natural running for 5 times
- Cool down for about 5 minutes
- Warm-up for 5 minutes as usual
- Run at a natural pace for 3 minutes
- Walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes
- Repeat the runs and walks 4 times
- Cool down for 5 minutes
- Warm-up for 5 minutes
- Run for 4 minutes at a natural pace
- Walk at a moderate pace for 2 minutes
- Repeat the runs and walks 3 times
- Cool down for 5 minutes as usual
After the fourth week, you should increase your runs for some minutes. You can also walk for less time between your runs. Try adding different styles of sprinting for more comfort.
4. Incorporate Running With Other Exercises
To lose belly weight more effectively, you need to burn as many calories as possible. One way of doing so is by incorporating other exercises apart from sprinting. Follow the tips below:
- Do not do crunches. Abdominal exercises such as sit-ups and crunches strengthen your abs. However, they won’t be effective for losing belly fat. The exercises you need to do are those that engage several muscles and challenge your cardiovascular system to burn more fats.
- Do planks. If you want to incorporate other exercises, then you can do planks. Planks will hit your core, engage your legs, chest as well as shoulders. If you are a beginner, you can take 3 to 5 sets of planks at a duration of 20 to 30 seconds for each repeat. As you progress, you can try holding longer.
- Incorporate other high-intensity weight exercises. High-intensity weight training consists of an intense exercise with lower recovery periods. Researchers have linked interval exercises to lose more belly fat than moderate cardio training (8).
- Do resistance training. Research has shown that resistance exercises are super beneficial to people with prediabetes and other metabolic issues. A mix of strength training and cardio can reduce your visceral fat if you are overweight (15).
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5. Change Your Diet
The kitchen is the place where your battle for losing belly fat is won or completely lost. You need to make the following changes to your eating plan for better results:
One way you can follow to reduce your belly fat is to reduce your daily sugar intake. Science agrees with the statement.
One study revealed that people who consume four to five servings of white bread every day gain a lot more belly fat than those that consume the same amount of calories (18).
So, cut back on those cookies, doughnuts, pasta, crackers, and junk foods for best results.
Ditch Sweetened Beverages
Soda, coffee, fruit juice, beer, energy drinks, and any other sweetened beverages contain a lot of calories.
Even one cup of coke is bad for you. Research published by the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society supports the statement. The study found out that subjects who consumed soda regularly gained triple the amount of fat over 9 years than those who didn’t consume it (4).
So, instead of having sweetened drinks, drink something else like water.
Eat Healthy Fats
Are you in the category of people who believe that fats can make you gain weight? Well, you are on the wrong side.
Not all fats are bad for you. Research shows that eating a diet rich in monounsaturated fats is better for your blood sugar level than one rich in carbs. Also, some types of fats help in controlling your hunger so that you consume fewer calories (10).
Eat A Lot Of Proteins
Proteins are essential for building your muscles and helping you lose weight.
One study published by the FASEB Journal had subjects consume a lot of proteins. The control group ate fewer proteins. Results showed that the first group lost more fats, including belly fat than the other group.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help subjects lose 4 to7 percent of their belly fat within less than six months. So, have a fasting plan on top of running. You can restrict yourself from eating for certain hours. However, make sure you do not run on an empty stomach.
6. Change Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle can also affect your belly fat results. You will sweat for nothing if you neglect your everyday lifestyle. Follow the tips below for optimum results:
- Get enough sleep. Research shows that sleeping for six to seven hours contributes to low levels of belly fat. If your amount of sleep is below this, then you will gain more visceral fat. One study concluded that women who sleep less than five hours gain extra weight than those that slept for 7 or longer hours every night (13).
- Set your goals right. Researchers have found that the key to achieving weight loss is in setting your goals right. So, start by setting your long-term and short-term goals. A good example of a goal is losing 3kgs per week.
The Art Of Staying Motivated
Sticking to a running plan is quite challenging. So, how do you stay motivated?
Well, the trick of staying enthused is keeping your sprinting sessions fun so that you do not have any excuses to skip them. You can do so by adhering to the following:
- Change your routes every week.
- Add different types of running to your schedule. You could try hill repeats today and intervals tomorrow.
- Run with a friend who challenges you. This will keep you motivated and give you a sense of security, especially if you do your runs early in the morning or late at night.
- If you find it difficult to be motivated in the morning, you can set up your running gear the night before to save your efforts when you wake up.
- Sign up for sprinting competitions such as marathons for motivation.
Will running burn belly fat? Yes, it can. It burns a lot of calories and will definitely help you banish your belly fat. What’s more, this exercise has lots of other health benefits and is quite easy to incorporate into your workout routine.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
Reviewed by: Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer
- A 45-minute vigorous exercise bout increases metabolic rate for 14 hours (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Ask Well: Reducing Belly Fat (2015, nytimes.com)
- Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights (2018, health.harvard.edu)
- Diet soda intake is associated with long-term increases in waist circumference in a biethnic cohort of older adults: the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging (2015, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Effects of exercise intensity and duration on the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (2006, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Energy expenditure of walking and running: comparison with prediction equations (2004, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exercise-induced suppression of acylated ghrelin in humans (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- How much should the average adult exercise every day? (2019, mayoclinic.org)
- Long-Chain Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Be Beneficial for Reducing Obesity—A Review (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Muscle contributions to propulsion and support during running (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Prolonged increase in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscle after exercise
- Sleeping Less Linked To Weight Gain (2006, sciencedaily.com)
- The Effect of Exercise on Visceral Adipose Tissue in Overweight Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2012, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effects of Manual Resistance Training on Fitness in Adolescents (2009, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What is the effect of physical activity on the knee joint? A systematic review (2011, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- What to do to help lose chest fat (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Whole- and refined-grain intakes are differentially associated with abdominal visceral and subcutaneous adiposity in healthy adults: the Framingham Heart Study (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)