Pinch an inch...

Pinch an inch....

 I need to get rid of this bit.... (As she pinches an inch of fat on the side of her stomach)... sit ups will work won’t they....??

Contrary to what the adverts say, there is no such thing as spot fat reduction. Fat is lost throughout the body in a pattern dependent upon genetics, sex (hormones), and age. Overall body fat must be reduced to lose fat in any particular area. Although fat is lost or gained throughout the body it seems the first area to get fat, or the last area to become lean, is the midsection (in men and some women, especially after menopause) and hips and thighs (in women and few men). Sit-ups, crunches, leg-hip raises, leg raises, hip adduction, hip abduction, etc. will only exercise the muscles under the fat.

So, you want to reduce your overall fat? Here's How:

Where did we go wrong?
In our efforts to tone our bodies we neglected the most important factor: fat. Exercises such as crunches or leg lifts improve the tone and endurance of the muscles, but they don't burn fat. When we do exercises that elevate the heart rate, such as running, walking or aerobic classes etc, the body will draw upon its fat stores for energy. Thus giving the body the opportunity to burn off or get rid of the fat stored in the particular areas. Now I understand that running hill sprints or doing a spin class is not for everyone but everyone can burn fat in some shape or form.

Alternative solutions
Eating a low-fat diet and following an exercise program that combines aerobic activity and strength training is the key to changing the shape of your body.
In addition to burning calories through aerobic activity, strength training will increase the amount of muscle, which burns even more calories. But many people shun the idea of intensive exercise, scared off by the idea of five-mile runs, barbells or aerobic classes.

Thankfully, any aerobic activity that elevates your heart rate can help you burn fat and take off unwanted pounds. Try doing at least three sessions of 20 minutes of aerobic activity per week. Ideally, for long-term weight control, you should engage in at least four sessions per week, for 45 minutes each time. But start off with smaller more manageable sessions then work up to longer more intense ones.


For instance, these enjoyable alternatives to traditional aerobic exercise are effective fat burners:

  • Mountain Biking, Walking, Dancing, Hiking, Martial Arts, Boxing

A few things to keep in mind when starting any new activity:

  1. Don't start off too hard or too fast or you may injure yourself forcing you to quit before enjoying any benefit.
  2. Always concentrate on enjoying yourself, rather than on what a particular exercise might do for you.
  3. Keep your exercise comfortable and only increase intensity after your body becomes accustomed to new activity levels.

A final word about toning exercises

Just because exercises like leg lifts and crunches won't get rid of the fat does not mean they are not beneficial. Unlike some aerobic activities, these exercises can strengthen and tone specific muscles of the body.


Your overall best way to shape up is to incorporate strength and toning exercises with aerobic exercises. Before you know it, you'll be on your way to looking and feeling better.

 

For other tips and advice direct your fitness/nutrition based questions to tom.horton@cadburyhouse.com.

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