The number one way to cut nasty abdominal fat from your belly is to ditch sugar... but it’s not the only option. Choose the right type of exercise and you can fast-track fat reduction around your middle.

So you’ve wrapped a tape measure around your tummy and discovered something terrible – technically you’re classified as being “overfat”! The first thing you need to do is take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. A recent study suggests that up to 90 percent of US males and 80 percent of US females are overfat, and that there are more people who are overfat than there are obese and overweight people globally.

The second thing to do is take action.

The risks of a big waistline

If your waist measurement is disproportionately large your daily struggle to button up your pants should be the least of your worries. A large waistline is a clear indicator of a number of serious heath risks. This is because abdominal fat – which is often called visceral fat – is the dangerous fat that wraps around our organs. It upsets organ functionality, affects our hormones and increases the risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

“Abdominal fat can wreak havoc with your health,” explains Bryce Hastings, Les Mills Head of Research. “Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and hypertension … they’ve all been linked to excess abdominal fat.”

Are ab exercises the secret to cutting tummy fat?

No, powering through sets of crunches is definitely not the way to go says Hastings. “When it comes to fat burning, spot reduction just doesn’t work,” he explains. While core training is important for building core strength and improved functionality, it will do little to remove the abdominal fat that many of us have covering our six packs. “The most effective way to burn fat is to focus on overall energy expenditure,” Hastings advises.

What is the best type of exercise for cutting abdominal fat?

This is where the fat burning power of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) comes in. The specific tummy trimming benefits of HIIT have been highlighted in a 2016 study into how different approaches to training can affect fitness and body composition in healthy adults. The study tested two groups of exercisers. One group followed a conventional gym training program four days a week, the other did two conventional gym workouts and two HIIT-based LES MILLS GRIT Cardio workouts a week. Both groups trained for the same total amount of time each week.

After eight weeks both groups saw a reduction in total body fat, but it was those doing the HIIT workouts who really transformed their waistlines. These individuals eliminated an average of 2.2cm from their waistline measurement and experienced an overall loss of 2.2 percent visceral fat. They also benefited from a significant increase in cardiorespiratory fitness, sprint speed and arm strength.

You can’t exercise away the effects of sugar

According to Canadian performance physiologist, Paul Laursen, when it comes to overfatness you can exercise till the cows come home but still be at risk – in fact, even athletes can be overfat. He states that while regular exercise can certainly help ease the issue, it is diet that’s the most powerful modifier.

The biggest problem is sugar. Modern diets are laden with processed sugar (much of which is in disguise) and when you have too much sugar in your diet it directly translates to too much visceral fat deposition.

The good news is, there is actually no evidence that sugar is addictive and cutting it from your diet isn’t as challenging as it seems. Thanks to the many healthy ways to satisfy your sweet cravings you can dramatically reduce your sugar intake – and your waistline – with just a few simple steps.

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