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What is spot reduction and does it work?

So, you are wanting to spot reduce fat? By now we should know the reality of this endeavour. Continuously targeting those abs to get the flat stomach you desire or doing squats in the gym to grow your booty. If you are already lean, these exercises may be fine for defining muscles in the respective areas. But if the purpose is to get lean—meaning tone muscle and burn fat—this approach will likely leave you feeling frustrated and, ultimately, unsuccessful. Spot Reduction Definition For those of you who are not familiar, spot reduction means the attempt to remove subcutaneous body fat stores from specific areas of the body by performing exercises that target those areas. Why doesn't spot reduction work? Spot reduction normally targets muscles (i.e bingo wings) which are relatively small, through exercises that are relatively insignificant in terms of enhancing overall fitness, strength and energy expenditure – regardless how much you ‘feel the burn’ when training them. Yes, you definitely feel your abdominal muscles when you do crunches or your glutes when you do an exercise to target them. The “burn” you feel is because those muscles are exerting a lot of energy not because you are burning fat. Although it’s true that fat is used as fuel during exercise, unfortunately the systems responsible for this process do not take into consideration the parts of the body which you would like to shrink. Weight loss is a result of total body metabolism and often factors beyond our control, such as genetics, determine where on your body fat will come off first.

What should you do instead? It's fine to want to get rid of fat from a certain area but, ultimately, fat loss cannot be targeted. At the end of the day, to see definition you need to aim for a reduction in overall body fat percentage. This can be achieved through a well-planned diet and exercise regime combining both cardio and strength-based training. Top 5 Tips for reducing overall body fat percentage: 1. Clean up your diet Reduce the amount of processed foods, simple sugars and refined carbs. That means cutting out the cakes, cookies, ice cream, deep-fried foods, and sweets. Next, add more foods to your diet with low-energy density. Said more simply, include fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, lean meats, and fish in your diet. Take a look at our healthy and delicious recipes in our Nutrition E-Books for inspiration! 2. Drink more water Skip the high - calorie beverages that have little nutritional benefits and grab some water instead. This means limiting fizzy drinks, artificially sweetened juices, lattes, and alcohol. Water is essential for keeping your body hydrated and functioning optimally, therefore you should aim for 2-3 litres per day.

3. Be mindful when eating It’s not a race to finish your plate, so take your time and eat your food slowly. It takes your brain at least 20 minutes to realise your stomach is full, so by chewing lots and putting your cutlery down between each bite will prevent overeating. Also try to avoid sitting in front of the TV or computer when eating, as when we are distracted, we are more likely to make poor food choices and ignore signs of fullness. 4. HIIT it! High Intensity Interval Training is not only super time efficient, but it's been proven to be effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal fat. You can bring these into your workouts and can be done on the treadmill, rower, bike, running outside in an open space or even better, up a hill! Try one of our full body HIIT workouts in the workout and exercise area! 5. Lift weights All forms of exercise have their advantages. Cardio may burn the calories, but strength training has added benefits cardio alone simply cannot achieve. Compound exercises that work more than one muscle at a time, promoter faster muscle gain. Plus, they more closely mimic everyday activities (as opposed to isolation exercises like biceps curls), helping prevent injury and building stamina. Also adding muscle to your body gives you the potential to burn extra calories.

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