Burning fat, more specifically belly fat, is a popular reason why people exercise. Find out whether stair climbers and steppers can help you with this goal.
The first thing to note is that stair climbers can help you lose weight in combination with the right habits in other lifestyle areas.
Whether the fat you burn comes from your stomach or other areas depends on how far you are in your journey and personal factors like genetics.
Something to note is that your belly is usually one of the places where you lose the least amount of fat. The human body tends to store energy there the most.
In short, stair climbers do ultimately help you burn belly fat but whether you focus on that area or others first is not something you can influence a lot.
How you gain belly fat
To figure out whether stair climbers and steppers can help you burn belly fat and how much, it helps a lot to know how that fat got there in the first place.
Your body needs energy to function. Even when just sitting down or sleeping, there are a variety of processes going on to keep you alive.
When you eat (typical) food, your body extracts energy from it which is often measured in calories. However, it is also possible that you extract more energy than you use throughout a typical day.
In cases like this, your body stores the excess energy in certain ways. Some of the main ones are glycogen and body fat. This body fat is distributed over different areas including your belly.
Where you gain fat first and where you gain more fat depends a lot on your genes (and to some extent what type of food you eat).
The problem is that excess body fat increases the risk of all kinds of diseases and is generally not considered visually appealing. That is why many people try to burn fat around their belly and other areas.
How you can burn belly fat
Luckily, it is also possible to reverse the process above and get all the health benefits that typically come with that when done in safe amounts.
You do this by making it so your body needs to use more energy than is coming in from food. In a situation like this, your body starts using up energy stores like body fat to fuel your movements.
In what areas your body uses up fat and to what extent is generally not something you can influence in significant amounts.
Even if you feel a “burn” in for example your legs when using a stair climber, this is due to muscle fatigue and not necessarily because the calories you are using up come from there.
In short, to burn belly fat you have to lose body fat overall until (at least part of) this area is next.
Do stair climbers help you burn belly fat?
One way to make your body use up more energy, which in turn can lead to losing body and belly fat, is moving more intensely for longer. In simpler words, by doing things like stair climber workouts instead of sitting down.
A pound of body fat is around 3500 calories (one kg +-8000 calories).
With MET values you can estimate that a 155-pound (70 kg) individual will burn around 330 calories while using a stair climber or stepper at a moderate pace for 30 minutes (1).
So if your other lifestyle habits would make you stay at the same weight, spending about 5.3 hours = 318 minutes (preferably not in 1 session) would result in burning about one pound (0.45 kg) of body fat.
How much of this stair climber fat burning happens around your belly again depends on things like genetics, where you are in your weight loss journey etc.
Something important to note is that other lifestyle areas like nutrition still play a big role in fat loss. You can do a lot of stair climber and stepper sessions and still gain fat if you don’t do these other things at least somewhat right.
How to burn more fat with stair climber workouts
Not all stair climber workouts are the same. Besides exercising longer, there are a few other changes you can make that can result in using up more body fat, and in turn hopefully some belly fat.
First of all, you can focus on moving faster. There is a reason calorie-burning estimations vary between light and moderate paces. Generally, the faster your body has to move the more calories it burns (as long as you don’t overdo it).
Secondly, stair climbers and steppers often have a resistance setting. With this, you can change how hard it is to do one step. Again, when your body has to work harder, it typically needs more energy from body fat and other sources.
Lastly, you can add weight to your workouts in a healthy way. Whether it is by building muscle with resistance training or by wearing a weighted vest, when your body has to move more weight it generally uses more energy.