The Myth of Spot Reduction
If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me which exercises to do so they can have abs, or how many Jane Fonda's they have to do to shrink their thighs, or what to do to stop the batwings from swinging I could go SCUBA diving in the Seychelles. All of these questions relate to the one myth, that no matter how much science has debunked, infomercials keep alive and kicking and that is the myth of spot reduction.
Spot reduction is the erroneous idea that you can do a specific exercise to reduce body fat in a specific part of your body to obtain a specific look. Most of these junk exercise routines and products (shake weight or thigh master anyone?) are targeted towards women, e.g. "21 days to flat abs! 2 Weeks to toned arms! 30 days butt lift challenge!" Don't believe me? Look Here.
The truth is, to get toned (whatever the hell that means) or to have visible abs, or slimmer thighs, or arms that don't wave back at you, you have to reduce your OVERALL body fat AND lift weights. When I talk about lifting weights I don't mean lifting 5 pounds 100 times. You're better off lifting 20 pounds 25 times or 50 pounds 10 times. All three of those combinations equal 500 pounds lifted, but the heavier weights will have a greater impact on your metabolism, which will in turn burn more calories, which will in turn help you lose body fat.
If you're frustrated because you have a part of your body that just seems to hold onto body fat, guess what? You're human! All of us are unique snowflakes and it is our hormones that have the biggest influence on our body composition. Our hormones are determined through a marriage of our genes AND our lifestyle (eating, sleeping, drinking and stress management). Not only that, where your body stored fat when you were 20 will change when you're 30, and will certainly change when your 40, and if you're a woman, hold onto your butts cause shit gets weird with menopause.
There is no way you can crunch away your belly fat. You have to eat less calories than you burn to do that, and perhaps, if you're not genetically gifted you might not ever have visible abs. There are 2 very famous CrossFit Games athletes who have very low body fat percentages who aren't genetically gifted with a 6 pack. Camille Leblanc Bazinet and Jamie Haiya have both addressed body image in the CrossFit community.
To achieve whatever body composition standard you want, first ask your self why you want it and second become very clear on what you're willing to do to get it. Getting your body fat low enough so that you have visible abs takes a lot of work and can come at a high price. Read this great article from Precision Nutrition on the high price of getting lean.
You've heard our Coaches say time and again, "You can't out-exercise your diet" and "Six-packs are made in the kitchen." If you're ready to get your lifestyle in check, you're in luck. You can get personalized nutrition coaching with Audy!
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