Can I spot reduce fat on my body?

If I had a pound for every time a client, friend or member said to me – I just want to “tone up” the back of my arms, or I just want a flat stomach – what exercises can I do to get a flat tummy I think I would honestly be the richest PT! Definition of the word “tone” means to contract a muscle.  So when we say we want to be toned, what we are actually saying is we want to build lean muscle tissue from muscle contractions. When this statement is relayed to the average female – the usual response is no, I don’t want big muscles! But there is a big difference. Building lean muscle tissue is exactly what you want to do to reduce your dress size and increase your metabolism. Its just a scary word to females and this is why I'm going to educate you all on embracing the resistance training and building lean muscle to give you the “toned” look all over!

In the past 20+ years we have all be duped into clever marketing strategies that make us believe one piece of elastic can remove all the unwanted fat from our inner thighs by using it for 5 minutes a day.  Another great one is the abdominal “toning” machines you see that cost £15 on QVC – use this for 6 weeks and you’ll have a six pack.  The models or actresses/actors that show these things off – I can guarantee they have been lifting weights and following a bikini body building diet for most of their lives to look they way they look.  The whole business about spot training any one part of your body is a myth! Yep, we have all been lied too for all of these years.

We cannot spot train our bodies because our muscles and bodies just don’t work in isolation. Of course you can increase muscle mass to an area of the body through repeated muscle contraction under load but to just remove unwanted fat from one specific area is not possible. Removing fat from your stomach, arms and thighs requires manipulating your diet for fat loss and working your body as a whole unit, so using compound exercises that target the core as well as large and small muscle groups.  Examples of this maybe the Deadlift: - one of, if not the best core exercise you can do.  Works a multitude of big muscle groups including the hamstrings, glutes, quads, erector spinae, traps, shoulder stabilisers and “the core”.   Of course you could layer in some isolation exercises into any programme to give that extra push on a specific muscle, but working the whole body as a unit and understanding your nutrition is absolutely key to this.

Hormones also play a huge role in where we store fat within our bodies. Diet and nutrition have hormonal responses as do tiredness and stress, so understanding how our hormones (male and female) effect our bodies is important.

Ask yourself this question – are you certain of exactly where you are getting your calories from? Have you tracked your food just to see how your balance of protein fat and carbohydrates looks? Without knowing this information its impossible to fully understand how your body is working.  Its also useful to know that each of us work differently.  What works for one, may not work for the next one so don’t follow fad diets or trends.  You have to put the work in and sometimes test your own body to find the answer you are looking for and this takes time and effort.  Training is only half of the picture and it’s the easy part.  Understanding nutrition is the hard part and keeping consistency over time, but this is what gets the result for life.

We can guide you through making necessary lifestyle changes to improve your diet and body composition.  We offer nutritional consultations and follow up advice for all of our nutrition clients.

For more information or to book a consultation please contact us at info@crossfitchiltern.com or call 01494 726447