I want to take a minute to clear up a common misconception that has been bothering me – the idea that you can spot reduce fat. Every woman has trouble spots on her body – places that tend to gain weight more rapidly and hold onto fat more stubbornly than others. So it’s natural that a lot of women look for exercises that will “fix” those specific areas. I’ve been seeing a lot of workouts on Pinterest and ads on websites that claim if you do “these 3 magical exercises” you will eliminate fat from your trouble spot. It actually doesn’t work that way, and it’s too bad a lot of people are misled into thinking it does. Let me explain.
The real culprit for trouble spots is excess fat. So the trick to “fix” those spots, of course, is to lose fat. A fact many people aren’t aware of is that our bodies are designed to lose weight from everywhere at once, not just one area of our bodies. Which is why in order to lose weight effectively, you need a combination of two types of exercise: those that boost your metabolism, and those that build muscle. A boosted metabolism is what burns off extra calories, rids the body of toxins, and leads to fat loss. Increased lean muscle content burns fat both during exercise and for hours afterward, which is why strength training is one of the best ways to lose weight. Exercises that isolate your “trouble zone” aren’t going to cause a significant amount of fat loss from that area. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.
Let’s say there’s a woman named Teri. Her trouble spot is her belly – she keeps gaining weight in her midsection, more than in other parts of her body. So Teri looks for ab exercises, thinking those will burn off the fat on her abs. What she doesn’t know is that no matter how many crunches and sit-ups she does, they won’t make much of a difference in her actual fat content. Why? Because exercises that isolate only the abdominal muscles aren’t anywhere near powerful enough to burn much fat or build enough muscle to help with weight loss. Our bodies lose fat from everywhere – it’s impossible to just lose the weight from one body part at a time. We just aren’t designed to work that way.
A common misconception is that ab muscle burns ab fat, butt and thigh exercises will get rid of butt and thigh fat, and arm exercises eliminate arm flab. While that is true to a very small extent because building muscle will “tighten” those areas, it isn’t really going to help with actual fat loss. Simply put, you can’t pick where you lose weight from because your body will lose it from everywhere at once, in varying degrees, and there’s nothing you can do to change that. So to lose weight from one place, you have to do exercises that make you lose weight from your whole body. And the best way lose weight from everywhere, is to combine compound strength exercises that work the largest muscle groups in your body (like squats) with interval training. (If you aren’t familiar with interval training, contact me and I will be glad to explain it to you).
So please don’t be fooled by ads and fake fit people who claim a spot specific workout will eliminate your trouble spots. There are much faster (and healthier!) ways to do it. Below is an example of a workout that combines strength training and interval training for maximized fat loss, both during and after your workout: