Monday, April 15, 2013

Spot Reducing: A Fitness Fib

Dynamic/metabolic training will help you shed body fat.
  Tone your arms in 10 minutes! Shrink your belly in 14 days! Pshhhhhhhhhh

  We've all heard it, and we've all tried it. But now is prime time to stop wasting our energy, and realize one thing: We can't spot reduce fat.

  Spot reducing, no matter how hard we try, is impossible.

  Don't think of this as me being negative, or a killjoy, because it's true. 

What is Spot Reducing?
  Spot reducing fat is saying, 'I want to lose weight in my stomach.' Or, 'I don't want to lose fat in my upper body, but I want to slim my legs.' Then we head to the gym and proceed to isolate our 'problem area', and do 1000 sit ups, 200 squats, or 800 bicep curls. We do this over and over, never see the results we are looking for, and get frustrated and discouraged.

Isolation training at its finest: the ab roller.
  Training by isolating only trains, or conditions, the single muscle we are working. It tones that muscle -- whether it'd be our abs, our triceps, or our legs. And that gets us nowhere in regard to burning the layer of fat we're trying to get rid of.

  Furthermore, fat does not convert to muscle. Ever. You have to burn through the fat, while toning the muscle. If there's five inches of fat covering your abs, your stomach won't look any more toned than it did prior to doing 1000 sit ups a day! 
Then, How Do We Tone?
Dips alone won't give you toned arms.
  Say, for example, we want to drop a little extra body fat on the backs of our arms, and tone up our triceps. I bet every single one of us just flashed to someone doing tricep extensions or dips.

  We can do all the tricep extensions, dips, push ups, you name it, our upper arms can handle, but it won't get us any closer to our goal.

  First and foremost, we must reduce our overall body fat.

  Slimming our physique is not easy. But the idea is relatively simple. In order to reduce body fat, we must be willing to work our entire body.

  Our workouts should be dynamic and metabolic. Metabolic workouts burn the most calories, and burned calories equal burning fat.

High Intensity Interval Training is the answer.
  Workouts that are 'metabolic' are workouts where we're simultaneously training multiple muscle groups. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), plyometrics (jump training), and circuit training are metabolic workouts.

  These training techniques are most effective because you burn the most calories during your workout, and continue to burn calories after your workout is over -- know as after-burn, or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).

  Cardio workouts (running, walking, biking, swimming) are other effective training methods that burn fat, but don't provide the after-burn that HIIT does.

  On the contrary, isolating one muscle group burns the fewest amount of calories -- another reason doing hundreds and hundreds of sit ups is the least effective way to trim your stomach.

  Secondly, we need to clean up our eating habits (not necessarily going on a 'diet'). Changing our eating habits means changing our lifestyle. It's a permanent change, not a change that last a week, a month, or a even a year.

  It's focusing on the quantity and quality of the foods we are eating. Most obviously, dump processed foods, as they wreak havoc on our metabolism.

The Science Behind It
  Finally, our bodies will lose/store fat where it is hormonally predisposed to. Generally speaking, women (or estrogen dominant people) store fat in their lower bodies, while men (or testosterone dominant people) store fat in their bellies.

  Yet another reason we can't spot reduce fat. It's based on our biochemistry and hormones.

Ignore the Gimmicks
  Those 'lose back fat' or 'torch belly fat' teasers we see in so many ads are dishonest! Forget the gimmicks and the quick fixes. More often than not, they're ineffective and a waste of energy and money.

  While it may be obvious, or something you've heard dozens of times, it bears repeating: adopt a sound fitness and nutritional plan! It will take time and dedication, but it'll be more fulfilling, and more permanent.

  You want more ideas? Just let me know!

Jillian Michaels Podcast 4/29/2011
Debunking the Myth of Spot Reduction


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