Is Fat Spot Reduction Possible?
Warning: Adult language
Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language.
Sorry folks, it isn't. There is no such thing as 'spot reduction'. I know, not what you wanted to hear. But it's the truth. There are countless late night infomercials telling you different but it's all bullshit. They are making millions on feeding you a bunch of lies. There is no such thing as localized fat loss.
....But there is something you can do.
HERE'S THE DEALIO.
Everybody has a genetically pre-determined and pre-programmed body shape as well as fat distribution patterns. For example, some people are pear-shaped and carry most of their weight in the thighs and ass. Others are prone to belly fat with thin arms and legs. Etc.
You have NO control over where you will lose fat. Can you lose fat? Absolutely. But you cannot spot reduce. I mean think about it, do you have any control over where you gain weight? NO. Your body decides where it is going to lose weight and where it is going to gain weight.
The only way to reduce fat in your problem areas is to stay true to a fat loss plan and lifestyle. Eventually, you will lose the fat where you want because your body will continue to pull from all of the areas that have concentrated fat distributions.
Here's where your control comes in... Fat burning is NOT the same as muscle building.
Where you have NO control over your body's decision of where it will reduce fat, you DO have control over where you can build muscle. This is called spot gaining. With spot gaining, you can target specific muscles.
Let's say you are looking to sport a six-pack and want to build up your abs, well, that's doable (but I didn't say easy!). When weight training, you have the control over which muscles you want to build and strengthen. However, the problem is that even the most beautiful and amazingly sculpted muscles can be hidden by even the smallest layer of fat. So in order to be able to see all the hard work you put into weight training and muscle building, you gotta blast that fat.
Muscle and fat are different. The muscle does not 'own' the fat around it.
You must work both differently. In order to blast fat and burn calories, you need to do cardio...and lots of it (I'm talking 6 days of week people!!!). In order to build, strengthen, and sculpt muscles, you need to do weight training/resistant training at least 3 times per week. You can certainly train more than that. But you need to make sure you do not over-train your muscles. For it is in the rest and repair stages that the muscle actually builds. For example, if you are serious about weight training, alternate muscle groups; work legs one day, arms the next, then core, etc.
But if you are looking to increase fat loss and that is your main goal, you need to focus on intense cardio. I would stick with weight training 3x per week. Once you hit your goal weight or closer to it, you can bump up the weight training to a more frequent and more intense level. But you cannot leave it out completely.
It is vital to build muscle in order to keep a fast running metabolism and to achieve an overall optimum level of health. But for the sake of this article, let's focus on fat loss.
Here are some tips on fat loss:
1. You MUST eat healthy.
Proper nutrition is just as important as exercise in losing fat. Eat lots of fruits, veggies, whole grains & lean meats/fish. You don't have to eat like a bird, just be smart about what you are putting into your body.
Watch portion sizes and stay away from your trigger foods. Everybody has their own trigger foods that encourages binging and wild & out of control portions. Keep your trigger foods out of your house and focus on healthier replacements.
2. You MUST exercise 5-6 days a week!
For those of you who think walking leisurely around your neighborhood 3 times a week is gonna get you lean and healthy...think again. I'm not saying walking isn't good for you, but it's not the way to blast fat and lose weight. Walking is great for people who are not able to do anything more taxing and it has many health benefits. But if you have the ability, move your ass! And move it double time! Start out doing cardio 15 minutes a day and build up (quickly) to at least 30-40 minutes a day. Any more than that is gravy. Do as much as you can. And change up workouts to prevent boredom and encourage optimum calorie burning. I would also recommend some form of weight training/resistant training at least 3 times a week.
3. Eat frequent smaller meals, every 3 hours.
Keep your motor revved and fired up at all times by fueling up regularly throughout the day. This will not only prevent out of control hunger from creeping up and threatening your hard work but it will also reduce cravings, keep you energized, and will allow your metabolism to run fast and steady all day long.
4. Get AT LEAST 6 hours of sleep every night.
Countless studies have shown that fat loss and weight loss are easier and quicker to achieve with proper sleep. The process of losing fat, building muscle, hormonal changes, and the overall process of changing your body on a physical and metabolic level is hard work on the body. And it needs sleep to do it properly and efficiently. Set your DVR and get some zzz's.
5. Put time aside each week for meal planning.
I will take a day and hard boil a couple dozen eggs, make chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, my blueberry muffins, my crack salsa (bean salsa), my turkey veggie egg muffins, and cut up a ton of fruits and veggies. I can eat all week long from one day of prepping! Fill up your fridge with easy and quick healthy foods that you can eat in a pinch. It saves time and doesn't leave room for being starving. When you let yourself get too hungry, you are more tempted to grab quick slop that will sabotage your plan.
6. Keep a healthy snack table out in the open.
I have a snack table right between my dining room and living room. You must pass it no matter which way you're going. I have a giant fruit basket overflowing with a variety of fruits. I also have nuts, Lara Bars, plain popcorn (not microwave bag popcorn), etc. Not only do I grab these healthy snacks all day long but so do my two little girls as well as my husband. I don't care if it looks strange that there's a table filled with food in the middle of my house, it works. And no matter who is visiting me, you'll find them grabbing a handful of grapes or some other fruit as they walk past the table!
7. Avoid processed foods, white foods, and refined foods.
These foods are not only horrible for you but they leave you hungry quickly after consuming them and contain preservatives and chemicals that can actually impede fat loss. This INCLUDES artificial sweeteners both alone and in diet sodas and drinks! A great natural sweetener to try is Stevia. It's a bit more expensive but does not cause insulin surges nor is it artificial.
NOT BEING ABLE TO SPOT REDUCE ISN'T THE END OF THE WORLD.
There is no magic button. We all know this. The bottom line is, if you need to lose fat, no matter where at on your body...follow a healthy fat loss plan and it will happen.
It happens even sooner for people who only have to lose in one area. For example, someone who has a lot of fat around the middle but is otherwise lean everywhere else will end up losing where they want to because that's the only place fat is disproportionate. It takes time to get healthy and it takes even longer to look healthy. But does it really matter how long it takes in the end? You still have to do it.
The alternative is to stay overweight and unhealthy, which is basically a state in which you are just waiting to find out how sick you'll get. If you are overweight and unhealthy, it is only a matter of time before some illness claims you.
Diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, something... It WILL happen. It's not an IF....it's a WHEN.
Any effort is worth it. And any effort will get you one step closer to your goal. Just do it. You're not getting any younger. You're not getting any healthier. Make a plan and stick to it. Stop the excuses. Time flies by. If you change now, before you know it, you will look and feel great. If you don't change now, before you know it, it'll be a year later and you'll be in the same boat...maybe even worse.
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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.
NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.