Abdominal fat is notorious for being the hardest to shift, and there's a biological reason for that. Because the fat that gathers around your middle can be so stubborn, many people find themselves fixating their workouts around toning their stomach. But according to an expert, that's the wrong approach.
"Only doing abdominal-focused workouts, like crunches, won’t help you banish the bulge," Bupa UK's Dr Luke James told Cosmopolitan UK. "Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it."
So that's where we've been going wrong.
According to the doctor, straying from exercises that just work your stomach muscles and focusing on whole-body HIIT training (high intensity interval training) instead is a better way to target fat, because it gets your heart rate right up. "Squats, burpees and treadmill sprints are all examples to try," James suggested.
Apparently, HIIT can have a positive effect on your hormones - "especially those that are responsible for the process of lowering fat from areas like the belly," he explained - which is why it's the ideal exercise for burning fat in that part of the body.
But don't be disheartened if you think all those abdominal crunches have now gone to waste; Dr James says they're "great for building endurance", they just "do little to tackle the bulge". You live and learn.