Background:I have suffered a severe shoulder injury, and have therefore been completely bedridden the last four months. This has resulted in some extra kilos around my belly, enough to make me look like a stuffed sausage in some of my clothes. Under normal circumstances I would consider myself an athlete (I did an Ironman, a marathon and a few long bike races last year). I've never had problems getting in good shape fast, but this time everything goes much slower.

Current status: Due to the shoulder injury, there are a few exercises I can't do (for instance running, swimming and pushups).

Until now, (after the injury), I've been riding my bicycle trainer for 30-60 minutes (approx. 30 km/h, 180 rpm, 80% of max HR), followed by a three sets of 30 crunches, 60 sec plank, and 10 reps with the superman. In the end I do my mandatory shoulder exercises (resistance band for the rotator cuff, something like this).

The time I have available is 60 minutes three times and 90 minutes once a week.

Question: Is there something I can change, in order to loose some belly weight faster, not including dieting (I have found a lot of information about this already). I'm pretty much restricted to the exercises I mentioned above, so it's mainly a question of intensity, order, number of repetitions etc.

Would it be better to do intervals on the bike? Lower intensity? Or maybe mix it up: 10 minutes with high intensity on the trainer, then one set of core exercises, 10 minutes on the trainer etc.?

Note 1: I know it's not possible to reduce the fat percentage on one body part alone. However, my belly is the only place I have (visible) fat. My arms are skinny and my legs are well-trained.

Note 2: I have no problems with motivation.

Note 3: I do not have a gym membership.

Note 4: My BMI is exactly 25, so I'm not "overweight". The problem is that all the kilos are on my belly.

  • Did your doctor recommend any physio to help with the shoulder injury?
    – Recycle
    May 12, 2016 at 12:14
  • Yes, and the physio gave me shoulder exercises. In my country the physio is free if you have had severe injuries and have a referral from the doctor. Unfortunately, they are reluctant to give workout schedules, general training advice and so on since that's not what they're getting paid for. "I recommend you try to work out regularly, and do some cardio training,,, and remember the shoulder exercises."
    – CG.
    May 12, 2016 at 12:18
  • In reality, the differences between doing intervals and sustained effort cardio is going to have a minimal impact on your goal of losing weight. The major contributor will be calories in vs calories out.
    – John
    May 12, 2016 at 13:26
  • When you plank, do you rest on your forearms or in a push-up position?
    – Dark Hippo
    May 12, 2016 at 16:26
  • And, if you don't mind saying, what was the nature of the shoulder injury?
    – Dark Hippo
    May 12, 2016 at 16:27

3 Answers 3


Exactly. You say "not including" diet, so if you're unwilling to sacrifice calories from food then you will have to increase calories burned through exercise, and keep calorie intake the same.

  • 2
    The poster is just asking what they can change in terms of exercise, not including diet, because they make it clear they've obtained the necessary information about that already. I'd assume they know to create a caloric deficit and just want to know what could be adjusted on the exercise side of things.
    – G_H
    May 12, 2016 at 13:56

Given a primary goal of fat oxidation (burning), I would suggest lowering the intensity of your workouts. 80% of HRmax is an anaerobic level of effort -- at this intensity, you're burning mostly carbohydrates and not much fat.

By lowering your cardio intensity to 65% of HRmax, your workout fat burn rate will roughly double [see, for example, Figure 2 of Acten and Jeukendrup, "Optimizing Fat Oxidation Through Exercise and Diet," Nutrition 20(2004):716-727.]


Excellent you have sorted your diet! You have 3 options based on working out for the same time:

  • Weightlifting: Boosts metabolic rate, builds strength.
  • High Intenisty Workout >70%+ HRMax: High calorie usage during activity, develops recovery.
  • Medium/Low Intensity Exercise <60% HRMax: High "Fat burn" rate, builds endurance.

My recommendation is to do all 3. Keeping your exercise varied and goal-based will enable you to make the most progress by utilising the benefits of all the different ways to burn calories. 3 days a week could be Push/Pull/Legs weightlifting, pair that with some light cardio work and the rest of the time you can do high intensity cardio.

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