Does Running Reduce Belly Fat?

Research shows that stomach fat is the most common type of fat that people are self-conscious about, and the type of fat that is the worst for your health.

So, whether you’re trying to shed some pounds or your doctor has raised some concerns about your belly, you may be wondering: does running reduce belly fat?

Running is one of the most effective exercise types for people looking to shed stomach fat. Research indicates that it burns more calories than other forms of exercise. Asics reports that a runner can burn up to 500 calories in just 30 minutes, which helps shed pounds and reduces belly fat.

Though running is a great way to reduce belly fat, there are many aspects to keep in mind when running to lose weight or belly fat.

Different running techniques can help you burn more calories, allowing more fat to burn away. In addition to reducing belly fat with running, you should also consider making dietary changes and doing other workouts.

How Does Running Help With Reducing Stomach Fat?

Does running reduce belly fat?

As most people know, weight-loss boils down to a relatively simple equation, calories in vs. calories out.

This concept means that you should always be burning more calories than you eat to lose weight. 

Running is an excellent way to push your body to its limits and burn the highest number of calories in a short period. In just a 30-minute run, you could burn between 300 – 500 calories depending on your pace and body weight.

The high number of calories burned quickly makes running the most popular exercise for people looking to lose those extra pounds around their bellies. Research indicates that by replacing walking with running, for every 1 mile you run, you will be burning an additional 33-35 calories above what you would burn with just walking.

The basic principle is that the fewer calories you leave unused at the end of the day, the less fat produces and stores in your body.

There is also a certain point during a workout when your body starts burning fat directly, and this is the point that you should aim to reach if you want to get rid of that stubborn belly fat.

How Often Should You Run To Lose Stomach Fat?

Since we know that running burns calories and reduces fat, how often should we do it to see the best results?

This question is a bit more loaded than you might expect since everyone is different, and different forms and lengths of exercise will affect us differently.

However, there is a universal guideline that you can follow to burn as much belly fat as possible.

  • If you want to see the best results in the shortest time, you must be prepared to work for it and keep a tight schedule. If you aim to reduce belly fat, you need to run at least three times a week between 30 and 60 minutes. Although, it would be best if you didn’t stop there. 

    Ideally, you want to alternate between different workouts like running, swimming, a gym routine, etc. If you’re going to see the best and fastest results, you should set a schedule to run 3 times a week as a minimum and do three other types of workouts in between your running sessions. Some people run over 5 miles every day and see incredible transformations as a result.
  • Alternatively, our bodies are amazing at adapting to new environments. If you are running the same route, at the same pace for the same amount of miles week in and week out, it is possible that you could reach a weight loss plateau. To keep shedding that extra stomach fat, you must alternate between distance running and sprinting.

You will also need to change the distance of your run and the route you have chosen. This method will help prevent your muscles from getting used to the effort during your run and burning calories more effectively.  

Switching up your runs and alternating between different methods will help burn more calories and slim down your stomach quicker.

Does Running Give You Better Abs?

Running abs

When you run regularly and stay fit, you reduce the amount of fat around your belly, and the amount of fat spread over your body.

Because you are reducing the amount of fat your body has, your body will become more defined and “tighter,” allowing you to see muscle groups you might not have seen before. One of the most likely changes to notice is that your abs may become more defined.

Though your whole body will be affected when you run, you will naturally notice changes in the sections of your body that you work to improve.

Of course, losing belly fat is also likely to make you run faster – potentially up to 3.3 seconds per mile per pound lost.

However, just because you want to lose body fat does not mean that you are necessarily building abs at the same time.

Though there are forms of running, like trail running, that allow you to work out more parts of your body, including your core, you will not be building your abs directly, meaning that you are unlikely to see a six-pack just from running.

However, you might be able to notice more definition as the fat around your abs burns away over time, leaving you with a clearer view of the muscles.

In addition to the reduced amount of fat around your abs, you may start seeing changes if you follow the guidelines given above.

If you are running and working out specific muscle groups regularly, you will much more easily see the difference as the extra weight around your belly starts to fade away. 

Seeing results like muscles forming in areas you are not used to is why implementing a plan like the one given above is essential.

Not only will you lose weight and feel more confident, but working out specific muscle groups will allow you to build muscle, make the difference even bigger and more prominent, and push yourself even more.

The toning effects are by no means limited to your abs!

How To Get Better Abs With Running

Knowing the role of running in your weight loss journey and your journey to less fat around your belly is important.

Patience is a virtue, as you can see here:

However, it is also essential to know that running alone will not get you to where you want to be if you wish to have rock-hard and well-defined abs.

In addition to running, you should also be doing other workouts and eating healthily and appropriately.

If you want a six-pack or good-looking abs, the steps below will help you burn the fat around your belly while toning and defining your ab muscles.

Ramp Up The Cardio

The first step is cardio – To start seeing when muscles are building, you need to lower your body-fat content to get into good shape. The best way to achieve a lower body fat is to keep up the cardio work.

Four of the best types of running you can use to burn more calories and get into shape are the following: 

  • Regular runs – This is what you would usually do when you go for a run. This type of running requires you to use your usual pace while doing a run between 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Long runs – Long runs are the same as a regular run, except that they are longer than a usual run.
  • Uphill runs – Running uphill is another excellent way to improve stamina while working on muscles like your core and calves.

Introduce Toning Specific Workouts on Rest Days

The next step to achieving better abs while running is to do other workouts in between or alongside your running routine.

Some of the best ways to improve specific muscle groups like your abs are to do exercises that focus on building, toning, and defining those areas of your body.

By doing workouts that tone specific areas of your body, you will lose weight, and some fat will go into building muscle simultaneously.

Doing exercises while running regularly, allows you to lower the body fat content while also making the muscle groups easier to see. If you are looking for the top exercises to build your abs, here are some examples:

  • Heel taps – Heel taps require you to lay on the floor with your knees bent and your feet off the floor. While in this position, you need to lower one foot at a time until the heel touches the floor and then return to the starting position.
  • Russian Twists – Start by sitting on the floor, bending your legs, and raising them. Now you want to look forward and twist your torso from one side to the other while tightening your core.
Russian twist workout
The super-effective Russian Twist is great for toning the belly

While you are working out, you need to eat correctly to see a fundamental change in your body.

Combine With A Healthier Diet For Maximum Impact

As discussed, running helps you use calories and burn fat, but it doesn’t help you run if you still eat too unhealthily, as your intake will still be higher than what you burn.

Though there are plenty of eating plans you can find on the internet, there are some specific things you should remember.

One of the most vital things you should never forget is to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated will allow you to do workouts while still staying safe and ensuring that you do not become ill.

Additionally, some of the foods you should look at eating more of, or the best foods in combination with a running routine, are avocado, lean beef, nuts, berries, eggs, and whole grains.

Our Verdict On Running To Reduce Belly Fat

Running can help you drastically reduce the amount of belly fat you have.

However, you need to do more than just run to see good results.

If you want to make a fundamental change in your life, you should follow all the steps and guidelines given above.

Remember to stay hydrated, eat better, run at least three times a week, and do other workouts, and you will see a change in no time.

Author Profile

Esme Sanders

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Esme is a frequent contributor who manages to stay much more neutral on these pages than she ever manages after a glass of wine at club night. She is a 5K-10K specialist, albeit one with over twenty half-marathons under her belt. Esme divides her time between a busy career, two kids, yoga, pilates AND a busy race schedule.
Esme Sanders

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