( 2 MINUTE READ )
I receive questions/inquiries quite often about reducing fat in certain areas. While there is TONS of noise out there claiming that ‘X exercise will reduce fat here’ and so on, this is unfortunately not true.
You cannot target where you lose fat, where fat comes off and on first is largely dependent on genetics and gender. And to lose fat you MUST be in calorie deficit. You can’t just exercise it off.
What you CAN do however, is spot enhance. This is where you would build muscle in designated areas to achieve a certain shape when the fat does come off.
For example, building your glutes and lats (upper back) to achieve the look of a smaller waist. I personally hold more fat in my lower back (love handles), so for me, building muscle in my glutes and upper back has made that less noticeable.
The kicker here though is that you need to be in a calorie surplus to build muscle (when done properly, you will not gain much fat with it). Unless you are a beginner to lifting weights, it’s unlikely you will build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
This means that in order to achieve your ideal physique, you may need to spend some time in a calorie surplus to build muscle before you decide to go into a calorie deficit to lose fat.
I know it seems this would be true because cardio burns a lot of calories, you sweat a lot and your heart rate is high BUT I can promise you that lifting weights is MUCH more effective when it comes to fat loss.
Lifting is going to help you build muscle / maintain what you already have and the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn in general (beyond exercise).
While cardio does burn calories, it does NOT have the same metabolic effect as weight training. This is why cardio is a good supplement to weight training but shouldn’t be the main form of exercise.
Lastly, I want to urge the importance of doing what you enjoy. If cardio is your thing, then do that. Having an activity you actually like doing is FAR more important than doing what’s optimal for fat loss (leanness doesn’t always = healthiness either, remember that).
I only bring this up because I see so often people killing themselves with cardio (that they don’t enjoy) in order to lose fat. When really, the best results come from lifting, eating enough protein and being in a calorie deficit. It’s that simple!
If I haven’t said it enough, the most important nutritional concepts when it comes to losing weight is a calorie deficit & adequate protein intake. If you are in a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. End of story.
For some people, cutting carbs will put them in a calorie deficit, which results in weight loss. However, it is not a necessary modality to lose weight.
Also, because carbs store water, lowering or eliminating carbs will typically elicit a quick drop on the scale. But this is just water weight, not fat.
Lastly, some people feel and operate better on lower carbs and higher fats. Totally fine and I encourage you to find what makes you feel best but again, it’s the calorie deficit & adequate protein intake that’s going to allow you to shed pounds.
I hope this cleared the air for you with these common myths! Please let me know if you have any more topics you want the truth on or have any questions in general!