Fitness Myth #1

I hope that you’re aware of this, but lots of people still don’t know so I’ll explain just in case.

One of the first “myths” we learnt in fitness school was “you can’t spot train when fat burning”. Just to clarify, that’s not the myth, that’s the truth about the myth if you get me? The myth is “you CAN spot train body fat”.

Basically, if you want to burn fat on your tummy, stomach crunches, the plank etc. won’t do it for you.

Fat comes from the body as a whole, assuming you spend enough time in a calorie deficit. i.e. you burn more fuel than you consume through your food & drink.

Energy is stored within your muscles as fat (among other things), and once you deplete the fat stores from within the muscle by using them, you’ll replenish the fat by taking it from the fat stores under your skin. However they don’t take the shortest and most obvious route to get there. They need to go via the heart and lungs to oxygenate.

The upshot of this, you’ll burn fat from the entire body at a similar rate* rather than directly from the area next to the muscle which you’re working.

*The asterisk is because genetics will determine which part of the body retains the most fat. For men, it’s usually the waist because this is the most logical place to store it from a function and organ protection perspective. For women it’s more likely to be stored around the hips, waist and thighs.

So when I get an enquiry from a potential client saying “I just need a good core workout to reduce the fat from around my waist” I usually explain the above and tell them they either need to do a million hours more exercise (not the best solution given the type of people I’m talking to) or reduce their calorie intake.

It’s rarely the response they’re looking for so they go away and continue to retain fat around the waist because they’re searching for a “unicorn workout” (one that doesn’t exist) and don’t want to hear that their diet might be the issue.

So, bearing in mind that your total energy consumption is based on your mass (weight) and your activity levels, and we all have different masses and activity levels, it’s important to remember that we don’t all require the same amount of fuel. My healthy diet could be diabolical for you.

But we do all require a calorie deficit to reduce fat and a calorie surplus to gain fat/weight. So adjust your calorie intake and activity levels accordingly and you’ll get the results you want. But don’t expect tricep exercises to burn fat from the back of your arms and don’t expect sit ups to burn fat from your tummy.

So that’s that. More exposed myths coming your way in the near future.

Wanna know if I can help you on your fitness journey? There are a few ways to find out:

  1. Respond to this blog with your questions and I’ll get straight back to you.
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