Myth: Spot Reduction

Another myth rolling around out there is the myth of spot reduction. Spot reduction is the erroneously believed concept that you can exercise, diet or waist train away fat in a certain location, like love handles, pot belly and inner thighs. It is so sad that this is still among popular belief. I would think people would get the fact that their own attempts at spot reduction did not work, therefore, it is something that doesn’t exist; or even worse, that fitness professionals have the key to spot reduction and you only have to pay for them and follow their advice.

The reality is, spot reduction does not work. Period. Let me explain. First, every trustworthy personal trainer should be training at least one person for free. If a trainer is willing to train someone for free, they are more willing to ensure you meet your goals because it proves that they are in the fitness business for more than just a buck. Ensuring their clients meet their goals means more to them than the pay for ensuring their clients meet their goals. My free client is a woman I met at my fitness center. She was trying desperately to get fit, but never got results. I saw exactly what her problem was right away: she was lifting too heavy with poor form, she was using the equipment incorrectly and she was following trendy advice from fitness insta-famous deceivers who are not certified. I saw how much she wanted to get somewhere and offered her my services for free. It took her a while to take my offer, I supposed that she was weirded out about someone actually doing something selfless. Either way, one of her first desires was to spot reduce her belly. This is a common request from females and male clients, believe it or not. I had to assure her that spot reduction is an impossiblity. Here’s how I proved it to her.

I am a personal trainer. I am in amazing shape for my age and have worked very hard for years to get here. I have very low body fat; in my age group, the average is 20-24%. I am currently at 16%. That being said, I still have a little belly. I am so lean! My legs are lean, my bum is all muscle, my arms are lean, but I still have that little chubber on the front. The picture associated with this post has a belly about the same size as mine, her’s might be a skitch bigger. For the life of me, I cannot get rid of that little pudge! So I have decided that I’m the only one who thinks it is a big deal and have accepted that it is a part of me. That part will not leave even though everywhere else has. When you lose weight, your body picks and chooses what comes off first and when, not us. We have no control over it, our genes do. If you do not believe me, follow every piece of advice you can find on the internet promising spot reduction or better yet, look for research on the internet proving that you can spot reduce. I promise you will not find any, at least not any legitimate scientific research papers. You cannot diet it away or exercise it away. If anything, exercises will make it appear bigger because now you are putting volumous muscles under the fat which will only pop the fat up higher on top of the muscle. Like snow on a mountain. Think about that for a minute. Surgery is the only way to completely spot reduce.

So, if you want to drop your belly fat or your love handles, the best approach you can take is to reduce your calories by 20% of your basal metabolic rate. Do not ever eat under 1200 calories despite what the calculator may say because it is not sustainable. Find workouts from trusted fitness professionals, not uncertified, insta-famous people. If you are unsure that you are doing things right, hire a personal trainer. They can be cheaper than you think. Just make sure they are fully insured and certified, preferably through NASM. A personal trainer can ensure you are entering your program correctly and can correct your form mistakes. Nothing will steal your gains faster than incorrect form or using equipment incorrectly.

One more thing I would like to add. Waist trainers are nothing more than girdles of the 2000’s. Waist trainers will not “train” your waist to be skinny, will not cause a loss of fat due to sweating in that area and will not fulfill your desire to be the sleekest woman on the beach. Well, you can be the sleekest woman on the beach, but you must wear your waist trainer at the beach to accomplish that! Please, don’t fall prey to silly unscientific trends that celebrities and instagram influencers are doing and trying to push on others for a profit. Most times than not, their surgeries are the real reason behind any body alteration, not the gimmicky junk they are using to supposedly get there.

With patience, proper nutrition and an effective work out program, you can work towards removing that piece of you that is affecting your self-confidence.

Fitness Myths: Fit People Have It all Figured Out

grayscale photo of babys feet
Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Pexels.com

As a personal trainer, I see all kinds of fitness and health myths that do more harm than good. These can include fad diets, fad workout routines, fad healthy living hacks. Sadly, most of them are just that….fads. Fads come and go, that is for certain. In this series, I will be bringing to light some of the fitness myths I witness on a daily basis.

One of those myths is that fit people have everything figured out. Fit people have so much confidence, nothing can hold them back. But the reality is that some fit people got fit for a reason. Some began their fitness journey for health reasons, but some of them (actually, many of the fitness enthusiasts I know) began their journey because they just were not happy with their bodies and/or wanted to build up their self esteem. More people, especially young women, suffer poor body image and body dysmorphia. More so than in years past. I am only speaking for myself when I say I use fitness as a tool to feel better in my skin, but I’m pretty sure there are many fitness enthusiasts that feel the same way.

So, when you see someone who is fit and find yourself comparing what you look like to what they look like at the time, just know that they don’t have it all figured out, and they are not any different than everyone else.

Diet Resistant Fat? WTHeck?

The other day, I was watching the morning news while getting ready for my day. A commercial came on from a liposuction franchise company and featured an overweight/obese woman who was hailing the company for helping her get rid of her stubborn fat. The commercial went on to say they use a technique that will permanently get rid of your “diet resistant fat“. As the commercial aired, I really didn’t pay attention until I heard this phrase. Diet resistant fat.

Baloney, there is no such thing as diet resistant fat! Yes, maybe the last few pounds is really hard to shed, but diet resistant? The fact is, if less calories are going in than energy expended, fat loss is a biological certainty. Just ask those people who were undergoing a mass genocide in the 1940’s. I’m pretty sure that when they were liberated, there was no “diet resistant fat” on their bodies. In fact, there was next to no fat on their bodies.

Listen, fat is burnable, but you have to actually try, and it’s not easy, but it is attainable if you do the right things and work for it.

Little known fact is that mitochondria is key in fat loss. Mitochondria are cells that exist in our muscles and are necessary in the process of fat loss. Men have more mitochondria in their bodies as their muscle mass is generally larger than women, that’s why men lose weight faster than women. Mitochondria is responsible for the compound ATP, which gives your body energy to get through exercise sessions. However, it is also responsible for fat loss in your body. Simply put, mitochondria with the combination of oxygen (think weight training, interval training, cardio), burns fat and is expelled from the mouth as CO2. Simple. It’s not any more complicated than that, really, my keto friends. And yes, while a decrease in calories will cause fat loss, I believe mitochondria to be a far superior mode as there are so many other benefits to exercise than just fat loss: increased energy, increased bone density, decreased depression and anxiety, increased self esteem, increased stamina and let’s not forget: looking good with your clothes off.

Here’s something to consider, however. Eating a clean diet will feed your mitochondria. Eating sugary snacks, simplex carbs, processed foods, junk junk junk will not feed mitochondria. Protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains will. It is also implicated that through a proper diet designed to feed an active body will increase mitochondria density and hey, that’s a win-win.

Yes it is hard work. But don’t you think that living in middle age without medications that keep you alive and age related pain is liberating? As a 54 year old woman, I can tell you YES! It’s a simple as getting 150 minutes of exercise every week and eating foods that benefit your body, not your emotions.

I do also want to mention that some individuals suffering certain metabolic/endocrine conditions have a harder time losing the fat, but it is still not impossible to lose any fat with these conditions as long as exercise and diet programs are safe for these individuals.

So as you see fat loss is not as complicated as people think it is (and as I have myself in the past). It takes more determination to lose fat than anything as anyone will attest, it is hard to do, but it is doable in varying degrees.

What’s With all the Hawking?

Like other fitness enthusiasts, I frequently follow other fitness sites offering advice and training ideas. Hey, education is half the game, right? However, how do you know that the blog you are following isn’t just gimmicky, trending false info that is focused more on their sales than your progress?

In my experience, there are things to look out for in fitness blogs to help you determine which blogs are not worth following and which blogs actually give you scientific information you can use. These are the things I look for in a fitness blog and will avoid that blog if I see any of the following:

  1. Monetization. Now, I understand that you are going to find monetization on everything from blogs to YouTube channels, but if it looks like the site’s main goal is to hawk supplements or diet pills, I avoid it like the plague. The sites’ main purpose is to push those supplements, many of which do not even work. When you visited the site, did you immediately witness a pop-up trying to sell you supplements? Did you actually have to click out of that window just to read the intended page? I will stop going there. There is nothing to see except supplements and weight loss products that I don’t want or need, and if the site’s main purpose is to hawk those supplements, can you really trust the workouts that they are offering?
  2. Lack of scientific evidence. Does the article talk about how the workout will benefit you? Does the article site any research supporting the workout? Did you try the workout and didn’t even feel it? I avoid those, too.
  3. Social Media Fluff. When I find a new fitness site, I usually size it up before it gets a bookmark. Sure, bikini photos are certainly inspirational, but is the whole site filled with this? Where’s the scientific research? Where is the work out advise? Diet advice? I am so happy to see that you have sculpted your body, but how is your pics and diet pills that probably don’t work going to help the reader visiting your site? I tend to take sites more seriously if there is actual content, not just “InstaFamous” content that benefits the InstaPerson more than the reader.

Be discerning when finding fitness sites to follow. If you feel that you are not taking anything away that is valuable, why waste your precious time when you could be learning information from credible sites that will actually benefit you?

If you have found any good fitness sites, be sure to comment so we can share credible info.