by Arya Ziai
No doubt you’ve seen the articles and watched the television ads claiming to have the best exercise for six pack abs, or the workout routine that will give you thinner thighs. While I know it seems logical that if you work a certain body part you can expect that part to change, I want you to know that these types of claims are just downright bogus.
So, let’s just lay to rest, once and for all, the myth that doing extra leg lifts can somehow force the fat off your thighs or that hundreds of crunches can help melt body fat from around your waist line. I sure wish that’s how the body worked (it would make my life a lot easier) but the truth is, there is no specific exercise that has the ability to target a specific area of fat.
The Myth of the Magical Exercise
The idea of targeting specific pockets of fat by doing certain exercises, commonly referred to as spot reduction, remains one of the longest running myths in the weight-loss industry. As hard as it is to believe (even for many fitness professionals,) thousands of hours of scientific research have gone into proving that the body just doesn’t operate that way. Bummer, I know… but here’s some good news. If your workout routine includes the right balance of strength training, cardio and, most importantly, proper nutrition, eventually, your body fat will have no choice but to leave the premises, love handles, thunder thighs, belly fat and all. Here’s how it works:
Who Goes First
Genetics play a large role in where your body releases fat, while your metabolism determines when you will lose it. As you reduce your calories through proper diet and exercise, your body will normally let go of visceral fat first – that’s the stuff tucked around your organs. Over time, if you continue to lose, your body will draw more and more from the subcutaneous layer – the fat that sits between the skin and muscle.
The primary function of subcutaneous fat is insulation and storage. On most human bodies, this storage system is located around the waist, hips, and thighs. Now, in a perfect world, the body would release fat evenly from head to toe but, because we are built to survive, these stubborn trouble spots are usually the last to go.
Guaranteed, however, if you persist, this subcutaneous layer will begin to thin out and, eventually, your body will have that lean, athletic, ready-for-the-beach look! The key, of course, is focus, intention, consistency and persistence.
So the next time you find yourself grabbing that flab around your belt, asking the question, What exercise will get rid of this? you have your answer: Proper diet, strength training, cardio, determination and, above all, patience.
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