spot train to reduce fatWhile you can spot TRAIN an area of your body, you can not spot REDUCE that area. If you want bigger, stronger arms, curls and tricep exercises will be effective, but if you are trying to reduce flabby or fat upper arms, you need to reduce the layers of fat covering your entire body, not only your arms.

Many people still believe that spot reducing, exercising a specific set of muscles, will promote fat loss in that area. As an example, if you perform countless sit ups and crunches you’ll drop stomach fat – not true. We believe this partly because we want to believe it, but also because late night infomercials insist that their “abcisers” and similar products will spot reduce. Products that promise six-pack abs or buns of steel, that selectively target body parts cannot truly deliver localized fat loss.


The Physiology

There are specific physiological reasons that explain why spot taining (targeted fat loss) does not work. Fat stored in adipose tissue and in fat cells exists as triglycerides. Muscle cells, do not, in fact, can not directly use triglycerides as energy or fuel. Instead, the triglycerides must be broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids. These byproducts then enter the bloodstream to be used as fuel during exercise. The fat that becomes fuel comes from anywhere and everywhere in your body’s fat stores, not from the body part that is being exercised.

Additionally, many of the exercises associated with spot reduction do not burn many calories – and if you are not burning calories, you are not going to lose fat from anywhere in your body. As an example, you are much more likely to get rid of your love handles by running or biking than by doing endless crunches and sit-ups, simply because cardiovascular exercise is a much more efficient approach to calorie burning.

HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training, alternating brief periods of high-intensity and low-intensity exercises has been shown to be particularly effective at fat burning and weight loss. This is due to the afterburn effect – an increase in your resting metabolic rate that lasts for up to 24 hours after your exercise session. Resistance (weight) training can also help you achieve measurable fat burning results. Building and maintaining your muscle mass helps burn fat as muscle requires 30% more calories to maintain than fat. Healthy nutrition is also essential, if you burn 300 extra calories by exercising, you will not lose any fat if you eat 300 more calories after your workout.

Fat loss is a direct result of how many calories you burn versus how many you take in, not through spot reduction or targeted exercise. Performing 100’s of crunches each day will strengthen your abdominal muscles, but will not make “six pack” any more visible unless you also take the necessary steps to reduce your overall body fat. You must combine cardio with weight training and nutrition for safe and permanent weight loss.


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