Can you imagine a 500 lb man with ripped abs? I found a couple of images online but I won’t post them here. It’s nasty. There have been a lot of questions lately about the issue. It seems to come up every few years. I don’t know how I ran across it this morning but I did. Although I’m not a medical expert, I have been around the block a couple of times. I have never seen a fat person with abs. There have even been studies that have verified that spot reduction is not possible.
It IS possible to gain muscle and tone areas of the body while staying overweight. I have heard the analogy that losing fat is like draining a pool. As you drain it, from the deep end, the shallow end appears but there is still a great deal of water in the deep end. With more draining, eventually more and more of the sides, and eventually, the bottom of the pool will appear. It’s much the same way with our bodies. They were designed to hold onto fat in the case that food stores become less plentiful. Also, men and women typically carry weight in different ways and in different areas. Men tend to hold onto fat around their abdomen and women tend to hold onto it around their hips and thighs. Of course, we are all different and have different genetics and lifestyles but in general that is the way it is. So, women typically want to get rid of “thunder thighs” and big hips while men want to get rid of the “beer belly”.
The good news is, you can do it. The bad news is, it will take time. However, it won’t take as much time to take it off as it did to put it on. Spot reduction is a myth in general. Suppose a man wants to lose that beer belly. He gets up and does a ton of crunches every morning. His abs will develop and get stronger but the fat will not necessarily go away, especially not as fast as he wants it to. As the muscles get bigger, they will actually push the fat further out so that “beer belly” may actually increase. The body will grab fat from where it wants it to come from. One molecule may come from the tip of the nose, one from the end of the big toe, one from the right shoulder blade and a couple from the belly. In general, the first place the body stores fat is the last place it comes off. So, doing all those crunches will likely push the belly out further and make your face thinner. It just simply isn’t possible to “spot reduce”.
Spot Reduction – What is the Answer?
There are some areas of the body that have less amounts of fat. The arms and in some cases, the legs, have thinner layers of fat, especially when a person is not morbidly obese. It is possible to work those areas of the body and tone and make them larger and some fat may disappear from those areas, giving the appearance of spot reduction. But, it is not spot reduction. It is simply the body shedding fat where it went on last. That is why someone who is overweight or fat can have big well developed arms and yet have that “beer belly”. Over time, the body will shed that fat in the areas where it is not wanted but will only do it with good nutrition and consistent exercise.
The exercise that is best suited for fat burning over a period of time consists of three elements.
HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. It consists basically of revving the body and heart rate up and letting it recover somewhat during the exercise regimen. That is obviously the interval part and the High Intensity part of it speaks for itself. Just be careful not to get injured doing the Intensity portion of it.
Resistance – This one is obvious. Muscle burns fat. Muscle just sitting there takes energy to maintain itself. If not maintained, it will eventually go away but in the meantime, overall metabolism increases because of it. Adding resistance training is a must to increase metabolism and maintain good muscle health. Muscles move us and make us appear healthy. We’ve all seen long distance runners who do nothing but train to run. To me, they look anorexic and unhealthy, but they sure can run can’t they?
Stretching – Flexibility is key to maintaining good health. Again, this one should be obvious. We’ve again all seen older people who have no flexibility and are hunched over. As we age, flexibility erodes because it is not worked on. Flexibility prevents injury and keeps us young. Tony Horton calls flexibility and yoga “the fountain of youth”.
The bottom line is spot reduction isn’t feasible. Stop looking for shortcuts. Just eat right and workout hard. Spot reduction isn’t possible but overall reduction is and the more weight you lose, the better your overall health will be. Shakeology will take one of the meals out of the equation for eating right and a good program to help you lose weight will also. I can help you. Contact me for more information.