Why You Can’t Spot Reduce Your “Problem Areas”
I polled my Instagram audience yesterday to see what their thoughts were on whether or not you can spot train / spot reduce problem areas. This is what the poll told me at the end of the day: 21% of the audience said “Yes” and 79% said “No” Who’s right? Who’s Wrong? Let’s break it down.
While you can’t spot REDUCE you can spot ENHANCE
Someone told me that a long time ago and it really stuck with me. You cannot target or isolate say, your mid section, to lose fat by doing 1,000 crunches. It doesn’t work that way. Let me explain:
- Working your abdominal muscles will make your abdominal muscles stronger, absolutely! But it will not burn the fat on top of the muscles.
- We all have muscle underneath the fat we carry, but isolating that area isn’t going to magically melt the fat away. Is it a bad thing to strengthen your core? No way! That’s called spot enhancing. When you spot enhance certain muscles, you will keep them nice and strong and will help them to grow bigger, which is important. Remember, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.
- No drastic changes in your overall body fat will be seen by simply isolating and working small muscles. See below to what WILL change your body and lessen your over all body fat.
The whole body is greater than the sum of it’s parts.
A well rounded, balanced program full of strength training and cardio is what you need. If you want to “sculpt” your body and “burn fat” then you need to simply increase your fitness level! Here’s what has to be kept at the forefront of your fitness routine.
- Spend 2-3 days per week lifting heavy weights for your bigger muscle groups. Perform big movements to have a dynamic workout and to move your body through space. Think lunges, squats, pull-ups and push-ups.
- Integrate lower weights into some bigger exercises for compound movements that will get your heart rate up faster and burning calories while building muscle. For example, add a bicep curl to your lunge or a shoulder press to your squat. This will give you a bigger bang for your buck since you’re working both big and small muscle groups at once.
- Spend 1-3 days adding in some cardio. Cardio doesn’t have to be boring! Interval style cardio is going to allow you to train faster with great results. Intervals don’t have to be crazy intense, they just need to be speeds higher than what your baseline is. You can do intervals by way of creating a fun circuit that combines both strength and cardio. Add in some medicine ball slams with a 2:00 jog for 20 minutes and you’ve got yourself a fun and effective interval session.
- Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (LISS) can be a good option for people, too. If you like a simpler, more gentle on the joints style of training this could be great for you to add into your weekly workout schedule. It will require more amount of time, say 40 – 60 minutes over a 20 minute interval, but there is nothing wrong with catching up on your favorite show while you’re burning calories and strengthening your heart muscle! Be sure you’re sweating and breathing hard during this LISS workout. If it feels too easy, it is too easy and your body is BORED!
I hope this helped you think big picture for your workouts going forward. If you ever need more assistance, you know where I am. In the gym or online, I’ve got you!
Let’s connect if you’re ready for your free week of training,