Millions of people do a lot of cardiovascular workouts in order to lose body fat and get fitter. Many of them hope that by doing these workouts they'll be able to get a flatter stomach, not just lose weight in general. In this article I want to explore this issue and talk about what cardio burns belly fat for real and help you focus on the right cardiovascular workouts to lose fat and the way in which you should do them to get optimal results.
Let me start by saying that there is no one specific cardio workout that burns belly fat. Cardio, like strength exercises, can get you to lose fat from a specific body part. You can't decide where to direct your exercises to burn calories and fat from. Cardio can burn body fat in general but never belly fat specifically. This means that you can stop looking for a secret cardio workout that targets belly fat. There is no such thing.
This leaves us with all the workouts we know and love like running, swimming, rowing, bicycle riding, using the stepper or the elliptical machine, spinning, aerobic classes, and so on. Each of these burns some belly fat because it also melts away body fat. The only thing that's different is how much does it burn away. The basic rule is that the more intensive a cardiovascular workout is, the more it burns fat. This means that you should spend the bulk of your time on doing the harder, more strenuous workouts. These include running, rowing, swimming (which is hard in its own way), kickboxing, and more. You need to figure out the intensive workouts for you.
How you do these workouts is also important. Running at a leisurely pace will not get you the same results as really pushing yourself hard. One way is to do HIIT cardio, High Intensity Interval Training. These workouts are done in various speeds throughout the workout, changing your pace every few moments. This helps you do very quick stretches while working out your body at a variety of intensities.
Another thing to consider is which workouts involve the abdominal muscles more than others. While this has no effect on the way your body burns belly fat, it can help you strengthen your abs while doing cardio. A stationary bike, for instance, doesn't really help you work the abs. An elliptical machine is not effective either. Running or kickboxing does involve the abs a lot and so these types of workouts may prove better if you're trying to get firmer abs.
In conclusion, go with the more intensive workouts that involve the abs and do them hard. The results will be better and faster.