Why Targeting Stubborn Fat Deposits Just Doesn’t Work


Fitness websites commonly claim to know the secret for getting rid of flabby arms. They suggest a cure for getting rid of abdominal fat. These strategies for getting rid of the fat in a problem area appeals to the masses, but it just doesn’t work. Why can’t we use the muscles closest to the fatty deposits to zap them thin? If that doesn’t work, what can we do to shed that stubborn fat?

Fitness gurus claim to be able to show you how to shrink your waist in a few short weeks by doing crunches or other abdominal exercises. It would be great if it worked that way. Everyone with flabby upper arms could simply do arm exercises to remove all the excess fat. Have some extra jiggle around the middle? Do more crunches! Unfortunately, these concentrated, repetitive exercises are possibly the worst exercises to use to shed excess weight in a problem area.

Our bodies do not burn fat in selected sections of the body. When we exercise muscles near a fatty deposit, those muscles do not use the closest fat for fuel. Instead, the body needs to break down fat to release glycerol and fatty acids in the bloodstream. This is a process called lipoysis. Then, the muscles can use these for energy.

The fat that is broken down can be anywhere in the body, not necessarily the fat next to the muscles being used the most. Therefore, the key factor to reducing body fat is to do exercises that burn as many calories as possible. So, those exercises to shrink the problem area just won’t work.

Exercises that are used to target a trouble spot often use small, focused movements that use the muscles in that area of the body. These exercises do not burn a large amount of calories. Since the fat will only be reduced by burning more calories than consumed, the best exercises are those that excel at burning fat such as cardiovascular exercises like aerobics, interval workouts, and swimming.

It really comes down to burning calories to shrink the body’s total fat by exercising and eating fewer calories than burned. While there are no short cuts to target those problem areas, you can reduce the fat there and everywhere else in the body by burning more calories. Aim for a leaner body overall rather than just a thinner waist or smaller hips.

Challenge yourself to get in better shape rather than concentrating on shrinking a certain problem area. Shift your focus to better health overall. Judging one part of your body as a problem and doing exercises to try to force that one area to change has set you up for failure and poor self-image. By exercising more effectively with the goal of better health, you are making positive strides towards a healthier you. You may notice a more positive attitude and higher self-esteem fueled by working towards a fitness goal that is not motivated by fixing a part of your body that you have labeled as a problem area.