Most of those who have problems with less excess weight would like to remove that excess from certain parts of the body, such as the abdomen, legs, or upper arms.
In the world of fitness, an exercise plan has even been devised in this direction, which advertises that “targeted fat melting from certain points”, but is this really possible and how much such advertisements are marketing tricks, and how much reality we bring below, in which we will look at what science has to say about this problem.
Targeted fat burning spot
Adipose tissue accumulates in different ways: while for some it is distributed proportionally, throughout the body, for others it is located at certain “critical” points, while in other parts of the body it is significantly less or not at all.
Adipose tissue sites are affected by several factors, including age, gender, genetics, and lifestyle. For example, women naturally have a higher percentage of adipose tissue than men and are more likely to accumulate adipose tissue on the thighs and buttocks. Later, during menopause, due to hormonal changes, excess fat begins to accumulate more significantly in the abdominal area.
At the same time, men throughout life have problems with the accumulation of adipose tissue in the abdomen and lower back.
The theory of targeted fat melting from certain points has existed in the fitness world for many years, even though there is not much health confirmation of this thesis. It is a series of targeted exercises that would dissolve adipose tissue from individual, critical points.
For example, people who have accumulated adipose tissue in the upper arm area do intense biceps and triceps exercises to “dissolve” adipose tissue from that area.
Can you target fat loss?
Although targeted fat melting from certain points would be the perfect way for many to get rid of excess fat, there are no scientific studies that confirm the possibility of this type of reduction.
To understand why this type of fat melting is not possible, it is necessary to know how the body works in melting fat.
How does the body burn fat?
Adipose tissue in the human body is found in the form of triglycerides that are stored in the form of adipose tissue so that the body can use them for energy. But before they can be used for energy, triglycerides must be broken down into smaller parts called free fatty acids and glycerol, which can enter the bloodstream in this form.
During physical activity, free fatty acids and glycerol used as fuel for functioning can come from any part of the body, not just from the area activated by physical activity.
What are the researchers say?
Studies disprove the possibility of targeted fat melting.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effect of abdominal exercises on the amount of adipose tissue accumulated in that part of the body. According to the study, these exercises significantly improved the muscular endurance of this muscle group, but there was no significant reduction in subcutaneous adipose tissue in the abdominal area, compared to the control group.
A study focused on the effectiveness of upper body strength training on melting fat in these areas had similar results. In the subjects, there was a decrease in adipose tissue, but equally in all areas, not just in the places activated by exercise.
Targeted fat loss or muscle toning?
The difference between targeted adipose tissue melting from individual points and targeted tone gain.
Although targeted melting of adipose tissue from certain points is inefficient and unfeasible, targeted gaining of the tone of certain parts of the body by activating and enhancing the visibility of certain muscles or groups can be performed.
Thus, it is not possible to choose from which part of the body will melt fat, but it is possible to determine which part of the body will have a more pronounced tone. For something like this, in addition to an adapted diet, it is necessary to perform targeted exercises to strengthen the muscle groups that you want to emphasize.
How to reduce adipose tissue and gain tone in problem areas?
With the recommendation and targeted menu, fat reduction and tone gain are achieved through training that includes:
- Complex exercises: involve multiple muscle groups and require large energy resources.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): A study-proven activity that boosts adipose tissue consumption significantly better than classic cardio training of moderate-intensity but longer duration.
- Classic cardio training: includes larger muscle groups and helps burn calories, but is not recommended in cases of a low-calorie diet, because in addition to adipose tissue, it also threatens lean muscle mass.
By combining these types of physical activity and a diet that supports the melting of adipose tissue, while preserving muscle mass, it is possible to achieve the desired results.
The key is always in the diet!
Although physical activity and regular sleep are extremely important in losing extra pounds, a proper, planned and individualized diet is still the key to losing weight. Specifically, if the diet is not adjusted and goal-oriented, the results will simply not be achieved.
Several studies have confirmed that physical activity alone is not effective in losing excess weight if there is no conscious effort to control caloric intake and make healthy food choices, meals, and schedules.
To lose extra pounds and maintain the desired weight, it is necessary to follow the following instructions:
- Portion control: pay attention to the size of the portions you eat per meal. A good tip is to simply take a smaller plate and forbid yourself to spill food.
- Increase fiber intake: Foods rich in fiber such as vegetables, beans, fruits or oatmeal give a longer feeling of satiety and reduce the feeling of hunger. Eat a salad rich in fiber before a meal and you will be less hungry so the meal will be smaller.
- Limit your intake of processed foods and unhealthy sugars: Eliminating foods like sweets, snacks and fast food is a must if you want to lose extra pounds. Also, eliminate fizzy drinks and juices.
- Eat protein-rich foods: Protein also helps with satiety and reduces the risk of overeating. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirmed that a protein-rich breakfast reduces the risk of “snacking” during the day and helps in the process of losing extra pounds.
In addition to the above, the total caloric intake must be less than consumption for the body to reach for energy reserves that are stored in the form of adipose tissue.
So, with a planned diet and appropriate physical activity, and commitment to achieving the set goal, you will achieve what you want, but it will certainly not happen overnight, but it takes patience, motivation, and perseverance.