Posted on May 14, 2019 by Kate Gordon

Still carrying those winter pounds and feeling like it’s too late to get yourself that toned look in time for summer? Don’t think that doing 100 sit-ups a day is going to solve your problems: studies have shown that solely focusing on one area of your body is unlikely to shift fat from that area. One study examined the effect of targeted abdominal exercises on stomach fat and found no significant progress after a period of time. So how do you go about toning up stubborn areas?

The Science

Fat stores are broken down through a complex process that converts them to energy that can be used by the body. This process turns stored fat (triglycerides) into glycerol and fatty acids, which enter the blood stream through prolonged exercise to be used as fuel.

Cardio is often deemed to be the only way to exercise to help you lose weight and help turn those fat stores into glycerol and fatty acids. However, while cardio burns more calories than weight/strength training, muscle burns more calories compared to other body tissue even at rest. This means that if your muscle mass increases, your body’s energy consumption increases as well. So cardio burns more immediate calories, but strength training increases the body’s metabolic rate so that you burn more calories over a longer period of time, to help you achieve that toned look.

With a pound of fat containing around 3,500 calories it can seem like a daunting prospect to lose your fat. Considering the fact that muscle mass helps you to burn calories, a good way to approach the issue of burning all those calories to reduce your fat would be to take up a program of mid to high intensity cardiovascular exercise which is very efficient at burning calories, alongside a moderate to high intensity resistance program which will give you prolonged calorie burning after training.

Nutrition

However, losing fat isn’t just all about exercise, it’s what you put into your body that can help you lose the extra pounds by helping to create a calorie deficit. Nutrition and a balanced diet must also be at the front line with your exercise program if you are to burn fat. Without the right nutrition, you stand little chance of success.

A realistic target would be to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 through exercise and diet, and over the week this will add up to that magic number of 3,500, equalling 1lb of fat.

A Strong Mind-Set

Stay focused and disciplined when trying to lose weight. Set your long-term or end goal, but create smaller, shorter goals to work towards, to give yourself a sense of achievement to help keep you motivated through till the end.

It is important to remember that fat loss can occur from anywhere on the body and not the desired place you want it to: even if you are doing spot burning exercises, your body will still burn fat where it wants to. So don’t get annoyed or demotivated because you aren’t seeing visible results where you want to.

Make sure you are doing what you find enjoyable. It can be a time-consuming and lengthy task trying to shed the extra pounds. Mix up your workouts, go for runs in different places or find someone to train with to keep you going and you will soon be heading towards your weight loss goals.