by Jerry Vance
Spot reducing is a myth. But the standard fitness student still believes in miracles. He or she wants concentrated effort on only certain annoying areas of the body.
It doesn't work that way. New fitness students will begin to show results of dedicated exercise over the whole body within six weeks. What shows up then is a body that has developed corners instead of rolls. Unfortunately, it often looks worse because muscle you had hidden for years is now building under that fat.
Where you used to resemble a smooth beach ball, you show uneven areas, like a fresh-squeezed toothpaste tube. Don't despair! Fat comes off a layer at a time, and it comes off all over the body. Conversely, if there is an area on your body that you wouldn't like reduced, too bad!
You cannot change your downsizing with spot reducing. Spots of fat were not put there by directional eating. Think about it.
Did you direct that candy bar to your chest? Or that last taco to be applied to your ankles? Every year at this time, students begin to accelerate their exercise program with extra movements to work on a particular area. More waist work, more thighs or movements to fix the bottom. I give the needed extras to them all, but it doesn't help in losing fat, only in toning muscle.
The best advice I can give is to place your hand over the area you wish to work on and move your body so that you can feel the muscles under your hand working. If it is the waist, do more cross reaches with your arms or more hip over movements on the floor, anything with a twist to it. If it is the legs, do standing or floor work to move a particular area. It will give you muscle definition, but you still have to remove the layers of fat.
The concern I have with all of the "extra" work is that you will concentrate too heavily on one particular muscle group and not work the opposing muscles, thus creating a situation for possible injury. And when you double up on abdominals, you can easily overstress your muscles to the point of fatigue and suffer back pain. When you are "all-over tired" as in a full-fitness workout, your body self-regulates itself, and you have less stamina to overdo floor work. But when you start in on extra spot work at home, you are fresh, unlimbered and able to go further than is safe.
I hope this makes sense. It does to me, but who am I? So when you ask me for extra "spots," you will get them - but with no guarantees.
Jerry Vance is owner of The Sweat Shop/Wet Sweat. She offers classes through Carson City Recreation and Aquatics Center and is a fitness instructor for the Senior Center.