Ellipticals can be as helpful as treadmills in burning calories.
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You can achieve a flatter stomach with proper diet, cardiovascular exercise and weight training. The elliptical plays a part in this strategy for a three-part ab attack. But it alone won't guarantee you a swimsuit worthy middle. The way you use the elliptical determines its ability to contribute to flattening your tummy.
Know Your Enemy
Belly fat is a combination of subcutaneous fat, which lies just below the surface of your skin, and deeper visceral fat -- an insidious, inflammatory fat that can endanger your health. Flattening your stomach requires you to target both types of fat through weight loss. Harvard Health Publications advises exercising at least 30 minutes per day, and up to 60 minutes, to lose weight, which will help slim your belly. The elliptical counts as cardiovascular exercise.
Go For It
A modest intensity level on the elliptical may be enough to improve heart health, but it won't help you lose a lot of stomach fat. A 2008 issue of "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" published a study showing that high-intensity exercise is superior in targeting both visceral and subcutaneous abdominal fat. When middle-aged women exercised at a high intensity, at or near their lactate threshold -- the point where they felt breathless -- three times per week and at a low intensity two times per week, they lost more abdominal fat than their counterparts who exercised at a low intensity five times per week. All the exercisers burned the same number of calories per session, despite different intensities, over the 16 weeks they participated in the study.
Interval training on an elliptical is another way to encourage weight loss, particularly for your stomach. A study published in the "Journal of Obesity" in 2012 found that three high-intensity interval training sessions of 20 minutes per week done for 12 weeks resulted in significant fat loss in the trunk and belly. The 46 inactive, overweight males also significantly improved their aerobic power. To perform interval training on the elliptical, alternate short bouts of all-out intensity with short bouts at an easy pace. In the study, the work intervals lasted just eight seconds and the easier intervals lasted 12 seconds. You can also do longer intervals lasting one to two minutes.
You'll Have to Work
You need to burn calories more calories than you consume to lose weight, which helps you achieve a flat stomach. A session on the elliptical trainer can burn as many calories as a session on the treadmill, as long as you work at similar intensities. To achieve this burn, you have to work against significant resistance. The "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" published a study in 2010 finding that calorie expenditure and oxygen usage are equivalent when using the treadmill and elliptical at the same intensities, but that elliptical exercisers experience a higher heart rate.