Today when I asked a client about her goals, she said she wants to lose weight and “lean out” in a certain body region. “Spot reduction is not possible. I know, not a popular statement but very true: your body (and his body and her body and my body) will burn fat wherever it wants. All you can do is get into a calorie deficit and repeat.”
You’ve been active for a long time. You’ve participated in sports. Or you’re just getting back into it after a few seasons (or years) off. Now there’s extra weight in areas you want to just zap away. You immediately implicate the muscles underneath that fat but that’s not how fat burning works. Caloric deficit is a systemic issue – your whole body takes in calories, burns calories, and the whole body will respond by shedding fat in its own unique way. Again, not popular but very true.
The solution? First, it’s important to build a great routine that just gets longer and stronger over the next six months. ”Six months, Hans??!!” That’s right, I’m trying to get all my clients to play the long game; be in this exercise and fitness to get results in December. I don’t care about summer and I certainly don’t care about the next few weeks of spring. This is a process, this is a grind, this will take serious work.
Once your routine is set, the second thing you need is to build into 4-6 days per week. Remember that phrase from earlier: caloric deficit. To expect weight loss we need to burn more calories than we consume. Seems obvious and even ‘easy’ but in my experience the “calories in” are more than we think, the calories burned are less than we think. The body does a great job finding homeostasis and resisting change. So let’s step up to the challenge and bring some serious change!
The third aspect is keep the challenge high. Switch things up. So many people come into a gym or into a workout and get their 30 minutes of cardio and call it a day. I’m not suggesting every workout kicks your butt, but you should be challenged each day. Strength training is more important than you’ve giving it credit for. Your steady state cardio can get 10% longer for ten straight weeks. That’s going from 30 minutes to 78! Try it! Adjust as necessary.
Spot reduction does not work. To see where you lose the weight first, let’s get into that caloric deficit. Try this template: each week includes three days of strength training, one day of intervals or shorter steady-state cardio, and one day of longer steady-state cardio.
If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.