Diet vs Exercise: why exercise is crucial for losing trouble spot fat

 

 

 

 

As discussed in previous posts, even the most idiotic of diets will work provided they induce a calorie deficit.

In other words, if you eat a diet of only Snickers bars and diet pop you will lose weight provided you are burning more calories than you are consuming.

Don’t get me wrong- I am not advocating this approach. Eating this way will not result in optimal body composition or physical and emotional health.

As a personal trainer, I am a huge advocate for eating a healthy diet and using exercise as a means of preserving lean muscle tissue and burning calories.

And as it turns out, exercise plays an even bigger role when it comes to losing stubborn fat from your trouble spots.

First off, I must reiterate that I am not talking about spot reduction. We have all seen those ridiculous infomercials for gadgets claiming to reduce fat from specific areas (usually the stomach as this is what many people want). Have a look at this piece of garbage for example:

 

 

This device (and many like it) will do NOTHING to rid your body of fat from your abs, thighs, butt or anywhere else!

 

Exercises that do work

 

The most important point to keep in mind is that since fat loss is systemic (comes off from all over), losing fat from trouble spots requires a very targeted approach that puts the focus on two key hormones- epinephrine and norepinephrine which are released in large quantities during bouts of high intensity exercise. High intensity exercise can include activities such as sprinting, plyometrics, skipping and my favourite- metabolic resistance training.

As discussed in a previous post, these two catecholamines activate an enzyme called Hormone Sensitive Lipaze (HSL) which is responsible for mobilizing fat out of the cell.

This is important- I said it mobilizes fat to be released from the cell but I did not say that it caused the fat to be used for energy. Once mobilized, if the fat is not burned it will simply be re-deposited elsewhere on your body.

 

Improving blood flow is essential

The key to ensuring that this does not happen is to increase Adipose Tissue Blood Flow (ATBF) so that the fatty acids can be transported away from the fat cell and taken to other tissue (such as muscle) where it can be burned off.  ATBF is essential for the utilization of fat for fuel and not surprisingly, the best way to improve blood flow is to exercise.

 

Exercise increases ATBF

In this study  published by The International Journal of Obesity researchers found that ATBF is closely linked to both subcutaneous and visceral fat deposits. Fat that is hard to lose has poor blood flow and when blood flow is improved fat can be mobilized. This is one of the reasons why diets alone simply will not work at removing trouble spot fat. Exercise is required in order to improve blood flow to these hard to lose places.

 

Insulin impacts ATBF

In another study  researchers showed that poor insulin sensitivity has a negative impact on ATBF. Once again we are reminded of the vital importance of eating a diet that does not cause massive spikes in insulin especially if we want to lose those last pounds of hard to reach fat.

One of the easiest things you can do to improve insulin sensitivity is to supplement using fish oils.  Fish oil is one of the best supplements you can use and I consider it to be “foundational” along with a green drink (greens+) and a high quality multivitamin. Fish oils will improve insulin sensitivity while also increasing blood flow to fat tissue. This builds the case for taking a couple of capsules of fish oil as part of your pre-workout nutrition. I like to wash them down with a cup of green tea as this can improve the utilization of fat for fuel during the workout.

 

Exercise does it all

When performed correctly exercise will cause your body to release body fat, burn those fatty acids off and increase blood flow to your hard to lose areas. The way to do it is to use a combination of short duration, high intensity exercises performed at or close to your lactate threshold (that place where lactic acid starts to burn in your muscles) together with lower intensity exercise for a longer duration. The pairing of high intensity exercise with low intensity exercise in the same session serves to accomplish several goals including;

 

Increase in beta-receptor stimulation through catecholamine release

Release of free fatty acids from trouble spot fat deposits

Increase in blood flow to trouble spot fat areas of the body

Burning of fatty acids after release

Increase in overall body temperature

 

In my last post I provided all the nitty gritty details so be sure to go back and re-read the workout program.

 

When it comes to losing body fat (especially from those difficult spots) exercise is not only beneficial it is essential! You will NEVER achieve your personal best in terms of body composition through dieting alone. The combination of a nutrient dense, reduced carbohydrate, low calorie diet together with a well planned exercise program will give you the results you are looking for.

This post was written by

Bruce – who has written posts on Cutting edge muscle building and fat loss secrets.
bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

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About

bruce krahn is a best-selling author, writer, researcher, personal trainer and professional speaker. he has coached people for two decades both in person and online. he created this site to be an honest source of useful, practical information you can use to improve your health, build muscle, lose fat and get the lean body look.

One Response to “Diet vs Exercise: why exercise is crucial for losing trouble spot fat”

  1. Eileen says:

    Exercise is good for the mind as well as the body. Any tips for people who aren’t physically able to use a treadmill?

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