Can You Target Fat Loss?September 13, 2021
Can you target fat loss? It’s an age-old myth, but spot reduction for fat does not work. The idea might make sense: working out an area of your body, in particular, should make that area more fit, right? As it turns out, this assumption has been proven wrong through the decades.
In 1971, a study conducted by UCI on tennis players showed that despite having a significant difference in muscle development on the racket arm vs the non-dominant arm, subcutaneous fat comparisons were statistically insignificantly different. A more recent study in 2007 by UConn showed fat loss associated with a 12-week supervised resistance training program for a non-dominant arm resulted in generalized effects as opposed to the trained limb.
Weight loss ultimately ends up being a simple equation of caloric or energy input vs output. Energy output and caloric consumption can accurately affect your desired outcomes.
So, what does that mean? How does one get rid of that “beer belly” or those “flappy wings”?
Those areas of “flab” that you’re interested in getting rid of ultimately are just depositories for fat storage. Fat is your long-term energy store. Though it is not possible to specifically target those storage areas, as they grow in size, you can acknowledge it as a sign of increased bodily fat. Therefore, it becomes relevant to gear your diet and exercise towards an overall fat loss.
How Can I Get Rid of My Overall Body Fat?
Clean Up Your Diet
You will want to cut out any excess so that you are not wasting the macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) you consume.
- Excessive sugar intake tends to be the biggest cause of increased body fat. Carbohydrates (especially simple sugars) are your short-term energy, meaning if you don’t burn off that energy, you’ll store more fat.
- Try to balance your meals and decrease your caloric intake to better match your activity level.
- Complex carbs include foods such as oatmeal, beans, and potatoes. Complex carbs take longer to digest and burns more of your body's short-term energy.
The other half of the basic equation is energy output, so get your body moving!
- One strategy to burning your body’s fat more effectively includes doing cardio after resistance training.
- By following this progression, you will be using your carbs early to build muscle mass and tone (which also helps with improving your metabolism) after which you will be more at the point of using your long-term energy storage (fat) for building endurance at a lower intensity but prolonged exercise.
Find Your Motivation & Set Goals
This is probably the most important. Understanding the basics will get you doing generally the things you need to do, but keeping up with it is the most difficult part to overall fat loss.
- Find a race, sport, or other activity and set a goal to keep you motivated and on track for positive progress.
- Understand that it won’t be easy to achieve those goals, but if you can consistently work hard across a long duration, you’ll see lasting effects.
- Incorporating the changes into your schedule and making it a lifestyle or habitual change will make it a lot easier to maintain progress.
- Acknowledge that personal desire and internal drive are going to be stronger than external motivation.
- Work out buddies are great, but hopefully, you and your buddies are intrinsically motivated and not relying on each other exclusively to accomplish your goals. If one person drops off, that opens up an avenue for excuses to stop your progress as well.
Have you or somebody you know successfully managed to improve your body composition? What was your avenue to success?