One of the areas I see exploited regularly in the press and in ads is the idea that there are special exercises to help you reduce fat in a specific part of your body.
Well, I hate to be the one to break it to you folks, but the secret is that there aren’t any exercises that can effectively reduce fat to just one part of your body. In other words, if you want to reduce the fat in your abdomen, doing all the sit ups in the world isn’t going to accomplish that for you. If you do lots of properly performed crunches, you can increase the strength of your stomach muscles. But, unless you do other things to reduce the layer of fat over those muscles, you will simply have a set of well camouflaged six pack abs that no one will ever be able to see. The same goes for your legs, your butt, or any other part of your body. Doing exercises to try to reduce the fat in those specific areas just doesn’t work.
So now you’re confused. Why do all these “exercise experts” keep writing about how their video or special exercise book will allow you to get rid of fat in specific areas by just doing a few simple and quick exercises? It’s very simple, they want you to buy their product so they can make lots of money. Rather than basing their programs on sound exercise principles, they base them on the psychological fact that most humans want to do things the easiest and quickest way they can.
Given the following scenario, which do you think most people would choose to do? Someone tells you that you need to do an hour of aerobic exercise and strength training every day and watch what you eat in order to get rid of unwanted fat. Someone else tells you that you can get rid of the fat around your tummy just by doing a few special exercises that will only take a few minutes a day. You probably hope that the few minutes a day will be enough. And so you and everyone else goes out and buys the special program, video, or piece of equipment. Well, guess what? You’ve just been exploited, because these gimmicks don’t work.
What is the secret to losing fat in specific parts of your body then? The secret is that there is no real secret. It is physiologically impossible to get the body to lose fat in one specific area by just doing exercises for that part of the body. Most of us do have a tendency to gain weight in certain parts of our bodies first. Often times women will gain weight in their hips and thighs. Men gain weight in the abdominal area. As you gain more weight it will usually spread itself out throughout the body. When you try to lose weight, the process is reversed. So, in order to lose weight in one specific area, you will have to cause the body to lose weight all over.
If you are really interested in losing body fat there is a very simple formula. Calories taken in by the body must be less the calories expended by the body. For every 3,500 calories you expend over the amount your body needs to function, you will lose one pound. Conversely, for every 3,500 in excess calories you take in that the body doesn’t need, you will gain a pound. It is a little more complicated than that, but not much. If you want to lose fat and keep or create muscle tone and strength, you should do some strength training (weight lifting) several times per week.
Additionally, you should do aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, biking, etc.) almost every day to help burn calories and keep your heart (the most important muscle in the body) in good shape. It’s also a good idea to do some regular stretching to keep you flexible. Along with the these things you also need to watch what, how, and when you eat. If you combine all of these guidelines then you can lose weight and fat, and become healthier. If you want to try some of the gimmick programs out there you will probably lose some money, but not much else.
Online fitness coach Tom Manfredi is the creator of the site fitness-after-50.com [http://www.fitness-after-50.com/]. He has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and over 20 years of practical exercise experience.
This site is designed with the mature adult in mind. Learn more by going to fitness-after-50.com [http://www.fitness-after-50.com/]