I get this question a lot. People want to know how to get rid of fat in a certain area. They want to know how to firm up or tone up a specific body part.
It can be frustrating to hear these questions at times, but I understand why people ask them. As a society, we’ve been brainwashed by the fitness companies and their marketing departments. They put out product after product trying to get you to buy into their hype.
The fitness industry would fall flat on its face if they told you the real secret to getting rid of fat in those pain-in-the-butt places. With television commercials and ads like the ones below being blasted at you, why wouldn’t you think you could target fat loss? A Google search brings up some of the following workouts:
- 10 minute toned abs
- Thigh toning workout
- 5 minute toned body legs workout
- 20 minute total body toning workout
- 8 workout moves for a toned body
- Triple threat toned abs
The Secret to Targeting Fat Loss
The real secret to targeting fat loss in a specific area is through proper diet. I’m really sorry to let you down. You were probably expecting some mind blowing revelation on how to get six pack abs through some amazing 10 minute abs workout. If you were, then I guess this really is a revelation for you.
You cannot target fat loss through exercise. Read it again. Read it again. You cannot target fat loss through exercise. Doing situps is not going to give you six pack abs. Doing butt blasters (or some other catchy marketing term) is not going to give you buns of steel. You aren’t going to get “toned” arms or legs simply by doing leg or arm workouts.
- The secret to “targeting” fat loss in the stomach area – DIET
- The secret to “targeting” fat loss in the inner thigh area – DIET
- The secret to getting a firm butt – DIET
- The secret to getting toned arms – DIET
- The secret to great looking legs – DIET
Do you see a pattern here? I’m sorry, but no amount of exercise is going to make that body part look good if there is a layer of fat covering it up! Healthy eating combined with a calorie deficit is the only way to target fat loss. Fat loss is systemic – not localized.
To better explain this, take your typical arm workout. Maybe you are doing some curls in the hope to have “toned” arms. As you are lifting the weight, your bicep sends out a signal that it needs energy – fat and glycogen. This energy is used both for lifting the weight, and used to repair muscle tissue.
When your muscles send out this “I need fat” signal, your body releases all sorts of fat-burning hormones and chemicals into the blood stream. Within seconds and a couple of heart beats, these fat burning chemicals are dispersed throughout the entire body.
They start pulling fat from all over the place – from the fat in your midsection, to the fat on your fingers. It would be great if your muscles would just use the fat from the surrounding muscle, but that’s just not how it works.
From commenter Jason – You can’t tell your body where to deposit fat, so why do people think they can tell it where to remove it?
Understand What Being Toned Means
I really despise the word “tone”. It’s another one of those misunderstood words used by the fitness industry. It was created to target women who didn’t want to get big and bulky through strength training.
Here’s the thing though, being toned means nothing more than having muscle and having low body fat. There is no exercise that accomplishes this by itself. Your goal should be to build muscle in the most efficient way possible, and then use proper nutrition to remove the fat covering it.
Stop wasting your time with crunches, leg lifts, or any other isolation exercise that doesn’t challenge you. You might feel a great “burn” while you do them, but that has nothing to do with how effective your workout is.
Get in the gym and start lifting some weights, or do your strength training at home – just do it. Build that fat-burning muscle, and then focus on your diet.
If you don’t want to get bulky, then you have to watch what you eat. If you put on muscle but do nothing to decrease your body fat (diet), you are going to look bigger. However, if you get in the gym and do squats and other highly effective compound movements, and couple that with a great diet and a calorie deficit, you are going to start seeing the true potential of your body.