While focusing on crunches will definitely strengthen your abs, it unfortunately won't dissolve the tire or muffin top around your waist. To get rid of ab flab, you've got to include gut-wrenching, calorie-burning cardio regularly in your routine. And not just any kind of cardio — you need interval training. Alternating between moderate and speedy bursts is the key. How do I know?
A recent study in the International Journal of Obesity revealed that "women who alternated cycling as fast as possible for 8 seconds with 12-second rest periods repeated for 20 minutes dropped 9.5 percent of their mushy middles, whereas those who cycled steadily for 40 minutes gained."
You can do intervals with virtually any type of activity. Here are some ways to do it:
- Use visual goals. Run or bike at a moderate pace, and then look ahead and sprint to the mailbox that's 50 feet away, or up the hill, or to the end of the street. Once you reach your goal, reduce back to your moderate speed. After your breathing returns to normal, choose another goal to race to.
- Use time. Watch the clock and move moderately for five minutes and then zoom as fast as you can for one minute. Repeat this pattern for at least 30 minutes.
- Use music. Make an interval playlist, alternating between fast-paced peppy tunes, and slower, chill tunes. Walk, run, or dance to the beat. Here are some of my playlists for intervals.
- Use a FitSugar interval workout. I always find it is easier to follow a cardio routine and intervals are no exception. I have made many interval workouts, from treadmill to swimming, from stationary bike to elliptical.