We previously spoke about how strength training is not just restricted to men, but for all. Women can gain many benefits through strength training, which is often traded for cardio to lose fat. But here is another trap where many beginners tend to fall – spot reduction.
What is Spot Reduction?
There is one common spot many people aim to get rid of – stubborn belly fat. However, in order to reach this goal, they might go overboard on core conditioning exercises such as doing an unreasonable amount of crunches, planks and sit ups. But there comes a difference between core strengthening and fat loss that many tend to completely misunderstand. While crunches do give you a strong core, doing them alone does not trigger fat loss.
Explaining Fat Loss
Spot reduction is when you aim to get rid of fat in a specific place. However, through trial and error, many who have attempted to do so, will tell you that it is futile. Here’s why –
- When your body loses fat, it burns the excess energy that is stored in the body in forms of fat. This means that the fat utilized can come from various energy stores throughout the body, and not targeted areas.
- If spot reduction was really possible, the human body would suffer a tremendous imbalance. Image someone with a skinny abdomen yet perfectly proportionate upper and lower body.
- Aiming to get rid of belly fat completely is a nice goal for the summer and for athletes who compete. However, it is not sustainable in the long run, which is why even bodybuilders have an ‘off season’ where they return to normal levels of body fat. The human body needs fat and cannot simply stay lean always, unless some people have genetics that allow them to remain lean.
Cardio and Fat Loss
Now that you know spot reduction is a myth, let’s talk about what will help your stubborn fat areas – cardio! Performing plyometrics, High Intensity Interval Training and other forms of endurance cardio is what triggers fat loss. When aided by strength training, you will have more lean muscle mass, which means that your body can utilize more energy. This energy will likely be taken from the stubborn fat storages, though not targeted. Quick results are never possible in fitness, but a consistent approach to training will eventually help you get rid of the fat and achieve your aesthetic goals. But skip doing numerous exercises targeting a specific area; you could use the time and reps to be more efficient with your workouts!
Also read: The Reality: Strength Training for Women