If you're looking for a workout appropriate for most fitness levels, easy on the joints and effective in burning calories, hit the indoor cycling studio at your local health club. Spinning, a branded indoor cycling class, features an instructor who leads you through hills, windy roads and speedy flats, all to the beat of pulsating music. Including spinning in a workout regimen can help you lose weight - even in your belly - but it alone is unlikely to give you a flat stomach.
Belly Fat Loss
To get a flat stomach, you need to reduce belly fat - much of which lies deep within your internal organs and excretes inflammatory chemicals that raise your risk for chronic disease. You can reduce belly fat with exercise, particularly aerobic exercise that scorches calories and helps you burn more energy than you consume. Although spot reduction isn't possible, when you have an excess of fat located in your midsection, you tend to lose it there at first when you drop pounds. In a 40- to 45-minute spinning workout, you burn between 400 and 600 calories, which is an effective way to jumpstart weight loss and belly fat loss -- getting you closer to having a flat stomach.
A study in a 2008 issue of "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" found that high-intensity exercise was more effective in reducing participants' overall belly fat when compared to low-intensity exercise. In this study, women who exercised at an intensity at or near all-out effort for a short period of time three times per week and at a low-intensity two times per week lost more weight in their stomach than participants who exercised five times per week at a low intensity after 16 weeks. All the participants burned 400 calories per workout, regardless of intensity. Spinning, especially interval and hill workouts, count as high-intensity sessions. You, the participant, are in control of the actual intensity of your ride, so beginners can ride alongside advanced cyclists and still get a super workout.
Attending a spinning class once per month or even once per week will not be enough to make changes in your belly or body. For significant weight loss, you need to do cardio exercise for at least 250 minutes per week, advises the American College of Sports Medicine. This means you need to commit to at least one 50-minute class, five times per week. Your body and mind benefit from frequent changes to your workout regimen, however. Even if you love spinning class, consider rationing your participation and doing just two or three sessions per week. Add in a brisk walk, a game of tennis or a run on the treadmill on other days to combat boredom and to prevent your body from becoming too accustomed to spinning to accrue benefits.
To get a flat stomach, you'll have to do more than pedal away under the barking orders of a kit-clad instructor. Spinning is a good start, but it is only part of a whole plan that can bring a slimmer middle. Eating a diet that sticks to proper portion sizes and emphasizes lean protein, leafy greens, whole grains and small servings of unsaturated fats is another key strategy in flattening your stomach. You should also include weight training at least two times per week, as a study published in a 2010 issue of "Obesity" showed that it can prevent additional belly bulge creep and help you keep off lost weight.