There’s one thing to like about visceral fat: It yields fairly easily to aerobic exercise. Vaporizing calories via running, biking, swimming—anything that gets your heart rate up—is an effective way to whittle your middle. In fact, one 2011 study from Duke University Medical Center, published in the American Journal of Physiology, found the sweet spot: Jogging the equivalent of 12 miles a week was even more effective in reducing visceral fat than resistance training three times per week. However, both types of exercise were beneficial when it came to belly fat, the researchers say. (Don’t have time to hit the gym? Try these fun at-home cardio workouts if you’re in a pinch.)
Not only is fasted cardio not beneficial but it is actually detrimental to results. Fasted cardio may result in higher fat utilization but it also results in higher amino acid utilization which means more muscle tissue breakdown. As if that wasn’t enough, research has also proven that fasted cardio leads to far less total calories being expended per session. This means that there is simply less fat loss from fasted cardio when compared to cardio performed in a fed state. So make sure you get some food in your system before you head out to perform your cardio.
The prevailing formula for a long time on how much fat you’re going to burn was calories in minus calories out, based on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and exercise efforts, explains strength and performance specialist Joel Seedman, Ph.D., owner of Advanced Human Performance in Atlanta. But with all the different biochemical reactions in the body, hormonal response, and endocrine function, there are an infinite number of factors that can affect how your body is storing and breaking down calories.