Targeted Fat Loss- The Great Fitness Lie Ever Told
Sit-ups, Crunches, Oblique Twists, Electronic Stimulators, or As Seen on TV Gadgets Do Not Create Abs…
Here, I said it. I know what you are thinking, every late night infomercial for the last 30 years has promised rock hard abs, free of fat, by using their awesome new product. They show fitness models with a chiseled midsection, so it must work right? WRONG!
Unfortunately science has proven over and over that spot reduction fat loss doesn’t happen. Our bodies do not burn fat the way we think it does. If you want bigger arms, you train them. If you want bigger legs, you train them. However we see results because we are growing the muscle. These areas also don’t typically hold a lot of fat. Our midsections, on the other hand, hold a lot of fat. By working out these muscles, you are going to make your abs bigger, but the fat on them won’t go away. Targeted fat loss cannot happen.
Yale Scientific summed it up best:
It turns out that there are a few basic physiological reasons why targeted fat loss does not work. The fat contained in fat cells exists in a form known as triglycerides. Muscle cells, however, cannot directly use triglycerides as fuel; it would be analogous to trying to run a car on crude oil. Instead, the fat must be broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids, which then enter the bloodstream. As a result, the fat broken down to be used as fuel during prolonged exercise can come from anywhere in your body, not just the part that is being worked the most.
Targeted fat loss doesn’t work. It sucks. I know.
How Do You Get Abs?
It takes a lot of work to get abs, definitely when many of us are genetically predisposed to hold fat around our midsection. The best fat fighter is proper nutrition with exercise. Cardio is great, however working out with weights is better. Why? Muscle burns fat at rest. We need lean muscle to maximize fat burning. Lifting weights will help promote more lean muscle and at the same time burns fat.
Hierarchy of Getting ABS
- Workout with Weights
That’s the order of importance.
Should I Train Abs?
Absolutely! A strong core is important, however don’t train abs just because you think it will give you a flat tummy. Also if you have lost a lot of weight and have loose skin, training your abdominal muscles will help them grow to tighten the skin!
Questions? Comments? Post below!
Personal Trainer/Sports Nutritionist
Targeted Fat Loss: Myth or Reality?