Have you ever seen these fitness apps that ask you what area of your body you want to ‘improve’ on, and then you’re shown specific workouts?
For example, there is an app out there that uses a grid pattern to choose what area of ‘belly fat’ you want to target, and there is a corresponding workout to help you achieve that goal. If you want to lose your love handles, then a routine of side crunches, planks, and other free weight forms of exercise are recommended.
Looks too good to be true, or is it that easy?
It’s very important to know, that you cannot target specific areas of your body fat with workouts. While this news may come to surprise to some, and may even disappoint you, but ‘spot reduction’ and targeted fat loss is a myth.
This 2011 study published in the US National Library of Medicine investigated whether abdominal exercises would reduce abdominal fat. Seems simple enough right? Get a bunch of people with belly fat to do hundreds of sit ups, and they’ll all end up with washboard abs? Wrong, of course it’s not that simple!
“Six weeks of abdominal exercise training alone was not sufficient to reduce abdominal subcutaneous fat and other measures of body composition”
This quote was taken from the abstract of this study, and simply put, facts are facts.
So What Can You Do?
If you are disappointed to hear that the $4 weight loss app you downloaded is a dud, don’t despair. By understanding that this system doesn’t work, you can begin to understand the truth about weight loss. If you consume more calories than you burn, you’re going to gain weight.
Where and how your body in particular stores excess fat is a dependent on a lot of variables. Genetics, sleep pattern, your job, stress levels, you name it. Most importantly, know that side crunches isn’t going to overcome the genetics in your family to develop love handles, especially if you need to adjust your diet.
Adjusting your diet to ensure you consume less (in a healthy manner of course) is the most important factor towards losing weight.
So Why Work Out?
If diet is so important, then why is working out such a focal point in all the weight loss ads you see? Being physically fit is imperative to keeping your body healthy (and your mind) and the benefits are well beyond what you see on the scale.
The easiest way to think of it is that working out determines how you feel, and eating will determine how much you weigh. Ultimately, you need to be doing both properly to ensure a healthy, targeted weight loss that will help you reduce targeted fat. Working out with a personal trainer can help ensure that you are doing both properly, and that will ultimately yield the best results.
Unfortunately there is no magic solution for targeted weight loss. Many of us who have excess weight to loss may look at our targeted areas and think nothing of that area, but understand that the big picture requires a total body solution for a specific problem. Develop a healthy plan of attack that involves a workout plan and a diet plan for maximum success!
To read more on topics like this, check out the healthy category.