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Does rowing burn belly fat? The quick answer is yes – rowing is a great way to burn calories, by sticking to an effective rowing program and a proper diet – you will lose that fatty belly fast.
Hi friends, it’s your favorite blogger Kathleen here today to talk about your jelly belly.
You know what I’m talking about. We have lots of names for it, don’t we? Meno-belly, jelly belly, Buddha belly, beer belly, the middle-age spread, pot belly, even spare tire!
No matter what name you want to give it, the fact is that while many people have it, no one wants it!
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There are two simple rules when it comes to belly fat, and if you’ve got some really stubborn belly fat, then this article is for you.
I’m talking from experience, friends. I put on so much weight (mostly right in the middle) after I hurt my back that I might as well have simply glued those donuts to my stomach!
So, how did I lose my jelly belly?
I used a rowing machine.
I am a big fan of my treadmill, don’t get me wrong, but after I injured my back, I couldn’t use the treadmill for quite some time. I found that a rowing machine was the only cardio my body could stand, and much to my surprise, I dropped my fat gut like an unwanted garage sale item.
Want to know more? Keep reading, friends, because I’ve got a few secrets to share, as well as that one weird fact about losing belly fat.
The Biggest Myth About How You Can Lose Belly Fat
First, let your old friend Kathleen share a secret with you about a myth that just won’t die.
Chances are that you’ve seen dozens of exercise machines on television, social media, or even on sites like Pinterest that say if you use this sit-up machine (or whatever it is), you will work those abs and drop that fat belly.
This is not true. I know we all wish it was this simple, but your body doesn’t work that way.
Like me, you’ve probably known people who put excess pounds right on their butt, or maybe it goes right to their face. Why is this? It’s genetics.
I know that I can take a look at a photo of my paternal grandmother and see my body type right in front of me. My weight goes right to my belly and my thighs.
As a matter of fact, many people put on belly fat (especially women) because your body is designed to protect those internal organs.
So the first truth here is that your body is going to add or remove fat from wherever it wants to, and you can’t control this, not even one little bit.
Second, you can’t spot-reduce away fat. All the sit-ups in the world will not make you lose one ounce of belly fat.
Doing endless sit-ups WILL make your abdominal muscles tight and hard, which will make you look better, but it won’t help you lose belly fat.
There are only two ways to lose that belly fat:
- Create a calorie deficit.
- Get in plenty of aerobic exercise.
Let’s take a minute to talk about those two rules to deal with belly fat, so that you get the full meaning when it comes to what I’m talking about.
Rule #1. Create a Calorie Deficit
Your body will burn calories even if you don’t do anything but sit, eat, and sleep. That’s how you keep your body systems functioning. The number of calories that your body burns every day to keep it functioning is called your body’s metabolism or base metabolic rate or BMR (not to be confused with your BMI). You can find your BMR using this calculator.
Any other type of activity you do will add to that number.
For example, a woman who is 40 years old, weighs 150 pounds, and 5 feet 4 inches tall has a metabolic rate of 1,421 calories. This is the minimum amount of calories her body will use every single day just to keep itself alive.
Any other activity she does will increase that metabolic rate.
The idea here is to create a calorie deficit. Most people do this by cutting back on a few calories (usually 200-500 calories/day) and adding aerobic exercise to burn fat (usually about 200 calories/day).
While you CAN simply cut back on calories and not exercise, the problem with that plan is that your body will become accustomed to having fewer calories, and it adjusts. Which means that you will need to cut back even more calories.
You get the idea, right? Eventually, you find yourself eating so few calories that you are half-crazy with hunger and you go on an eating binge.
It is FAR better to get in various amounts of exercise so that your body never becomes accustomed to your eating, and you will have more toned muscles as well.
One last note on this subject, remember too that muscle weighs more than fat, but it burns far more calories. This means that if you lose belly fat and replace that fat with muscle, you will increase your metabolic rate. That means you can eat more, friends, and that is a beautiful feeling!
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Meet the Two Types of Fat
Since we are talking fat, let’s take just one moment to discuss the two types of fat in your body.
First, there’s subcutaneous fat, and another is visceral fat.
You might think that fat is fat, and you don’t care, you just want to be rid of it, but hold on a minute. There is a difference, and it’s important that you know.
Subcutaneous fat is a big word for fat that lies just beneath the skin. This is the fat that jiggles like Santa’s belly is supposed to, you know, like a bowl full of jello.
While this type of fat isn’t pretty, it isn’t deadly either.
Wait- did I say deadly? You bet I did.
Visceral fat is the fat that is surrounding your vital organs. You can’t always feel this type of fat or see it. In fact, you can have a fairly flat tummy and still have visceral fat.
Visceral fat can kill, friends. This type of belly fat can lead to Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
I’m not trying to scare anyone, but I think we should know the facts about our own bodies, right?
OK, there is good news here. You can ditch both types of fat with aerobic exercise.
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Rule #2. Cardio Exercise Your Fat Away
Cardiovascular exercise, sometimes just called cardio, is the best way to reduce your overall body fat percentage. As I said before, your body will decide where it takes the stored fat to use as energy, but even if it decides to take that stubborn belly fat last, it will eventually have no other choice.
In order to burn fat, you need to increase your heart rate to between 65 and 85 percent of its maximum. You can find out your “fat burning zone” using this calculator. It’s also called your target heart rate.
Whenever you increase your heart rate to this level, your body will need to start burning fat for fuel. Understanding all these are especially useful if you have to cut back on calories and lose belly fat.
So, the next question is, what’s the best way to do cardio exercise.
Related Post: Will a Rowing Machine Tone Your Bum?
Rowing Is a Terrific Cardio Workout
Yes, as the name implies, rowing will give your entire cardiovascular system a workout, which is extremely important for your overall health and to avoid heart disease, the #1 killer in the world. The best thing of all, cardio exercise will also help you lose body fat.
Rowing is a full-body workout that is low-impact, so it won’t hurt your joints, but you still will work all the major muscle groups and lose weight with a rowing workout routine.
Since it works all the major muscle groups at the same time, rowing machine workouts will increase your heart rate fast.
So if you want to lose belly fat faster, you will need to commit yourself to do rowing workouts that really make you sweat!
Is a Rowing Machine a Good Way to Lose Weight?
You bet it is! I am living proof that regular use of a rowing machine can help you lose weight. If you keep at it long enough, you’ll eventually drop that excess belly fat. Or butt fat. Or wherever you’ve got unwanted fat hanging on.
To reduce weight, you will need to commit yourself to do rowing workouts for 20-30 minutes each day, at least 5 days per week.
While you are using a rowing machine, it’s a good idea to monitor your heart rate. This way, you will know that you are working out hard enough to lose fat and shed off weight.
Remember that exercise intensity has a lot to do with losing body fat. You can’t just row along at 5 strokes per minute and think that you will lose fat, hit your weight loss goals, and avoid cardiovascular disease.
When it comes to losing weight, you need to work out at your target heart rate and hold it there for at least 10-20 minutes.
Want to know my secret for shedding belly fat and reducing overall weight? Keep reading friends.
Related Post: Does Rowing Work Your Abs?
My Secret for Losing Belly Fat
I want to share my secret for losing weight and getting rid of belly fat faster but with less effort.
No, I’m not selling any kind of pill or machine, I found a little-known secret that helps you burn calories faster and gets your heart rate into the zone quicker than a regular rowing machine workout will do.
It’s called HIIT.
This is short for high-intensity interval training.
You may have heard this term before but not really understood what it was or how to do it. Don’t worry, I’ll lay down all that you need to know.
HIIT involves doing short bursts of activity (in this case, rowing) as quickly as you can for a set period of time, let’s say 3 minutes, followed by a short period of rest or slower activity.
For example, you might row 500 meters as fast as you can, then row the next 200 meters at a slower pace. You would repeat this sequence for a set number of meters (let’s say 2,000) or repeat it for a set number of minutes, such as doing this over and over for a full 30 minutes.
Remember earlier where I said you could burn more calories but with less exercise? It’s true.
You only need to do a HIIT workout every other day. You can still do the full 30 minutes, but instead of 6 days a week, you only need to do 3 days per week and you will still burn more calories.
Of course, you could also do only 15 or 20 minutes of HIIT for 5 or 6 days a week and you would burn the same number of calories as you would if you did the traditional 30-minute workout routine.
I used HIIT to lose tons of weight and did resistance training on my “off” days. My workout routine was 30 minutes of HIIT on my rowing machine on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, then I used resistance bands Tuesdays and Thursdays. That left me with weekends off, so to speak, which I used to take walks with my kids and do yard work).
Unless you absolutely love spending all your time working out, I found that I could use my indoor rowing machine less when I used a HIIT rowing program.
By the way, if you aren’t sure about what rowing can do for you, check out this article.
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So How Long Should You Row on a Rowing Machine to Lose Weight?
You can do the typical 20-30 minutes most days of the week (you should always give your body at least one day per week to rest and build new muscle), or you can either do HIIT those same 6 days per week for 15-20 minutes or do HIIT for 30 minutes 3 days per week.
The choice is yours.
I like to do cardio and really love my rowing machine, but I do have a life and have other things to do! If you feel the same way, try HIIT. It feels strange at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you ever bothered to exercise any other way!
Rowing and HIIT go together like hand and glove. You can’t beat it for losing belly fat fast!
The Bottom Line – Does Rowing Help Lose Belly Fat?
For anyone who wants to lose belly fat or all-over body fat, you really can’t beat a rowing machine. You know that being overweight is not good for your health. Besides, everyone wants to look good naked, right?
Do the work and you will see fat loss all over your body, including that spare tire. I highly recommend taking measurements and photos, then comparing your results once a month. The changes that will happen to your body will be nothing short of astounding.
I bet your doctor will be happy with your efforts as well. Tell your doctor that you know what visceral fat means. I bet he’ll be impressed.
Stay healthy and happy, and live life to the fullest, friends, because it’s too short for anything else.