Do you have a problem area? You want to lose fat/tone up your thighs/bum/tummy... You’ve tried diets and countless leg/bum/tummy toning exercises and nothing is happening... Why?
It's very hard to spot reduce fat in one specific area, females especially tend to store fat more around the tummy/thighs and bum as this is our bodies natural way of protecting out reproductive organs. We’re led to believe that reducing calories and increasing exercise will combat this however you could be doing more harm than good… it’s actually more about finding a balance.
Train your whole body!
You may think endless sit ups will give you abs, multiple lunges will give you great legs… there’s no denying exercise will build muscle and the more you exercise certain areas the more muscle you’ll build which is great. But if your aim is to cut fat you can maximise this by training your whole body, activate the need for fuel in all the muscles throughout your body, building muscle tissue everywhere will increase your metabolism and encourage your body to use fat stores as energy.
When our bodies are stressed we produce Cortisol (the stress hormone). Increased levels of active cortisol in our bodies have a direct effect on our fat cells. If you imagine each of your fat cells has two settings “Suck & Blow” to elaborate… they are either sucking up everything they can get hold of from the blood stream to build up fat storage or they are blowing everything out to be metabolized as fuel. When your body releases cortisol it triggers the “Suck” reflex on our fat cells. Now you can diet & exercise but if you’re fat cells are stuck on suck you’re going to struggle to lose the jiggle.
Don’t Focus on Eating LESS… Focus on Eating MORE of the RIGHT Things!
Restrictive calorie diets and periods of fasting are stressful (you probably knew this) But this dietary stress will hugely increase the release of cortisol into the blood stream, or you may have heard this called “Starvation mode” After prolonged periods of starvation, the body will utilize the proteins within muscle tissue as a fuel source, so not only are we clinging on to body fat but we’re burning valuable muscle tissue… Total disaster!! You can however combat this by eating good clean whole food regularly, reducing portion sizes but eat more frequently (for example a meal or snack ever three hours throughout the day). Eat plenty of the right food rather than focusing on counting calories.
Work Hard and Recover!
Exercise is also a big “stress” on the body. But we all know we need to exercise right? So we counteract the stress with adequate recovery. Here’s where the balance comes into play. To reduce the muscle-wasting and fat-gaining effects of cortisol exposure from prolonged periods of high intensity exercise you introduce adequate rest/recovery periods. Weight training is a great example of allowing you to train to your absolute maximum output while keeping cortisol levels down using rest periods. Also by allowing time to rest/recover it optimises your body’s performance when it’s required to work, this in turn allows for increased muscle strength & growth. Or if weights aren’t your thing try HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) you can even do this style of training at home or outside. Also please note I am not by any means knocking cardio as this too is a useful tool in fat burning especially following an intensive weight training session but if you’re going to spend any more than 15 minutes on a cardio machine make sure it’s Low intensity so you’re promoting fat burning rather than increasing stress.
Once you master balancing the three primary components of your program: training, diet and recovery you’re on the fast track to success.