There is No Such Thing As Spot training!

spot training - maria pontilloSummer is right around the corner and many of you are staring in the mirror unsatisfied by your love handles, chubby arms or pudgy stomach. You may ask yourself, “how do I get rid of that fat in this one specific area of my body?!” Do you want the good or bad news first?

Bad news: You are what you eat! Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule? Your physical appearance and health is a result of 80% of your diet and 20% of the exercise that you do. As a licensed physical therapist with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (From FIU – What’s up Panthers?!) and a Bachelor’s degree in Health Science, I want to focus on the 20% portion of the aforementioned fitness rule.

The good news about focusing on a certain muscle or body part is that it CAN be improved, but it is going to take a healthy diet and many total-body workout sessions to get it.

Spot training, as many refer to it, is when you train or exercise only one part of your body at a time. For example, have you ever seen someone at the gym doing 500 crunches and then heading out the door feeling satisfied with their workout? Some trainers have used this marketing gimmick to convince people that they can easily spot train, but if you seriously think you can only exercise one part of your body and have it look amazing, you will be disappointed.

Fat reduction works like this: When you try to lose fat through calorie-burning exercises, the reduction occurs all throughout your body. Since the reduction is all over your body, spot training is impossible and a myth, for the most part. I have helped dozens of personal fitness clients realistically reach their goals and it is important to be honest and realistic when established and conquering your fitness goals.

Checkout 6 tips you can use to TRULY work on your personal fitness goals, ultimately leading to achieving real results on that body-part or muscle that you want to improve:

  • In order to lose fat (i.e. love handles or stomach fat), you have to burn calories; in order to do that, you need to do sustained cardiovascular exercise for at least 45 minutes three times a week to see real results. Burn the fat, THEN focus on muscle definition!
  • Make cardiovascular activity aka running, jogging, swimming, rowing, spinning, biking a lifestyle. There is no deadline or end-date to doing high intensity cardio training.
  • Whenever you do cardiovascular exercise, really push yourself! Achieve anywhere from 75 to 85% of your max heart rate during at least 20 minutes of each cardio workout to see real results.
  • Practice the bell curve 45 minute cardio session:  For the first five minutes of your card session, warm up your muscles and body with a steady pace. Next, dedicate 10 to 12 minutes of the exercise session to reach a tolerable but challenging level.  Finally, push yourself for 20 minutes in an uncomfortable intensity range where you would not be able to maintain a conversation. You should be so out of breathe and sweating which will signify you are truly pushing yourself. The last two minutes of your cardio session, GO ALL OUT! Then of course, dedicate the last five minutes of the session to cooling down with a final stretch.
  • Vary your cardiovascular exercises each week! Also, remember to incorporate high intensity duration if you are serious about seeing significant changes in your physical physic.
  • Focus on weight loss! Remember this saying: Lean down to tone up!  You HAVE to cut the fat and then focus on toning specific muscles with core training and ab exercises (planks, squats, functional total body movements, weight training, etc.)

Tell me in the comment section what cardiovascular exercise is your favorite and has helped you achieve real fitness results! If you are interested in getting more tips or want to inquire about personal training services, please email [email protected] with your contact information and inquery/questions.