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Spot Training: The Monster, the Myth and the Legend

  By posted Mar 19th 2012
Weight Loss
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Body fat has a mind of its own. It appears where it wants to, and seems to disappear (under great duress) from all the wrong places.  So can we target areas of our bodies to reduce fat?  Fitness expert, Sophia Yasmin says “In my opinion spot reduction of fats is not possible, there is no way to target a particular part of the body for fat loss.”  We have adipose tissue all over the body and this tissue is made of adipocytes (fat cells) whose sole job is to store energy in the form of fat. Body fat distribution differs from person to person based on gender, hereditary aspects, ethnic persuasion and lifestyle choices.

Sophia Yasmin suggests getting your body in a catabolic state, which is burning more calories than eating, therefore your weight loss will be a combination of muscle and fat from all around your body (there is also no way to just burn fat). Once you have lost enough weight, build muscle to reduce your body fat percentage and target those areas that are most needed.

There are generally two types of fat storage: visceral (surrounding organs), or subcutaneous (beneath the skin) - about 80% of all body fat. Many people compare subcutaneous fat to the layers of an onion. Rather than disappearing from a particular place, it comes off layer by layer from the whole body.  Moreover, the way fat is shed is different from person to person. It tends to go from the most recent place it appeared. If your tummy started gaining first - this will be the very last place for the fat to disappear from!

So what does this mean?  Will you ever be able to get the six pack abs, or those fabulously sculpted arms?

Sophia Yasmin believes that as it not possible to spot reduce fat in just one part of your body like your abdominals, research has shot down spot reduction training over and over again. Therefore to shape your abdominals you will need to lose the fat all over your body.  A good approach to losing body fat would need three key essentials: regular cardio exercise, consistent strength training for all your muscle groups and a healthy, low calorie diet.  

The regular strength training will not only help you build muscle, but will also reduce fat loss in the long term; a pound of muscle can burn between 20 to 30 calories per day while a pound of fat only burns 5 calories.  What more reason do you need to start a strength training program than the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn! 

Sophia Yasmin has received training from the YMCA Fitness Industry Training, Les Mills International and the Pilates Institute in the UK.  She has also trained with the Australian Fitness Network in Melbourne.  Sophia holds two degrees, one from the University of London and one from the University of Melbourne; and her specialty is exercise and science.

Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images

 

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