Targeted Fat Loss: Fact or Fiction?


targeted fat loss

Are you looking to achieve targeted fat loss on problem areas of your body? Today we’ll look at the best advice out there and see what works and doesn’t.

‘Targeted fat loss’ is a goal that a lot of people say is within reach, while others claim is unattainable. Also called spot reduction, this area has been a hot button for a lot of different fitness magazines, books, DVDs and supplements.

And the workouts are all over the place. One is dedicated to slimming down on your thighs, while another is focused on making your midsection more defined. And this certain type of food supposedly helps cut down on belly fat, while also making your hips leaner at the same time.

How can this be true? Can we really control where our body decides to pull fat from? We’re going to answer this more thoroughly because the answer is both yes and no.

Though there’s plenty of research that shows training a specific muscle with higher levels of both lipolysis and blood flow to that certain area, it really isn’t big enough in the grand scheme of things to make a major difference.

The truth is, when you train a muscle or muscles in your body, and your body is burning up calories, this is going to make muscle growth happen a lot faster. Put these two together and you’re going to have a helping hand with losing some fat, and creating body recomposition.

Today we’ll talk about how to focus on building muscle while losing fat and creating a state of fat loss for your whole body, while seeking targeted fat loss as well.

Is Targeted Fat Loss Really Attainable or Should We Focus on the Overall Body?

Fat loss starts to happen with the whole body, not just one specific piece. The first thing you do is come up with some eating principles that will create caloric deficit in your body. Only then will your body get desperate enough to turn to those fat stores for energy.

This is going to create a general state of fat loss.

And here’s the ironic part about that – if you want a certain area of your body to get leaner, you have to train the muscles and be making sure you’re bringing down your body fat percentage.

Otherwise, you’ll create bulk but no tone. We will paint a picture for you. Basically, your muscles are going to get bigger and bigger. And that layer of fat is going to stay the same. So instead of looking toned and lean, it’s just going to make the whole area look bigger, not better.

The idea is to  Keep in mind, the more muscle you’re able to build, the leaner you need to be in order to avoid yourself looking bulky. To maintain a chiseled athletic look, women generally will need to shoot for <20% body fat and men <10%. Targeted fat loss is actually more challenging than creating overall fat burning conditions in your body.

targeted fat loss

Speeding Up Targeted Fat Loss

So we’re still dying to know – can you speed up fat loss, even if it’s stubborn? Yes you can. Though you can’t expect to do tons and tons of squats in order to get leaner thighs or endless amounts of crunches in hopes of finally getting that six pack, what you can do is really take advantage of specified training and some supplements to help get certain areas leaner.

Is targeted fat loss possible? to a degree, yes. Is your time better spent on overall body recomposition and fat burning. Remember that fat loss is systematic, but body recomposition can happen anywhere.

You might be wondering how the heck this is possible – but think about it for a minute. Have you ever tried to get your body fat percentage (ladies) below 20 or 10% for the guys? If you have, it’s likely you noticed that there are a few areas of your body that are getting slimmer, while other areas are stubborn and not moving as quickly.

You might be be wondering how to get rid of cellulite naturally.  As the ladies know, these stubborn spots are places like the butts, hips and thighs. As for the guys, it’s areas like the lower back, abs and obliques.

And before you start blaming genetics, hear us out – this is just how it works. Your body turns to catecholamines in order to break down fat cells so that they can be used for energy. These chemicals then travel all through your blood and fuse themselves to receptors found on fat cells. From here, they jumpstart the release of any energy stored in the fat cells so that your body can burn it off.

But it doesn’t stop there. Each fat cell comes with 2 receptors for these catecholamines. Alpha-2 and beta-2. Alpha works to hinder fat mobilization, while beta works in order to speed it up.

So if a fat cell has a lot more alpha-2 receptors on it, it’s obviously going to be more resistant to becoming mobilized by catecholamines. On the flip-side, more beta-2 receptors on a fat cell mean that the cell is a lot more receptive to the fat-mobilizing aspect.

You probably already guessed this, but areas that tend to stay fatter have more apha-2 than beta-2 receptors. On the other hand, areas that slim down faster have more beta-2 receptors.

The Role of Blood Flow in Targeted Fat Loss

Another factor that contributes to stubborn fat areas is blood flow. Think about certain areas of your body, like your thighs or your lower back. Are they colder than places like your arms or your chest? This is because there isn’t as much blood flowing to these areas.

The equation goes like this – the less blood flow you have to an area, the fewer catecholamines are able to get to the fat cells, so that slows down the fat loss.

And that’s why it can be so difficult to lose fat. But don’t worry, we can do a few different things to speed up this process and break down the barriers.

First, try fasted training. Your body is considered to be in a fasted state once your insulin has reached a baseline level and now your body is turning to the energy it has stored up. Let’s say you eat a moderate meal – it’s going to take up to 5 hours for your body to be completely finished processing all the food. After it’s done, you will be in a fasted state.

Have you considered intermittent fasting for blasting fat?

The great thing is, when you exercise, it’s going to speed up the fat mobilization. Weightlifting while you’re in this fasted state is actually very very effective. You might not experience the same max output, but when your focus is on building muscle and losing fat at the same time, sometimes you might have to accept a slight decrease in performance for an increase in fat burning.

Plus, when you’re in a fasted state, blood flow is increased, so catecholamines are able to get to stubborn fat areas faster.

But of course, there is a downside. When you’re in this state, the breakdown of muscles is going to be increased greatly. You can prevent this pretty easily by taking 10 grams of BCAAS about 15 minutes before you start training. This’ll cut down on muscle breakdown, as well as taking 3 to 5 grams of leucine.

targeted fat loss

HIIT for Targeted Fat Loss and Overall Fat Burn

The best way to blast fat off problem areas is High intensity interval cardio (HIIT). This increasingly popular training method works like this – you start off working out with a warm up exercise and then you go back and forth with stints of going full steam ahead and then doing a cool down. This also includes mixing up weight lifting and cardio.

So, as an example, you can do 30 seconds of sprinting while you’re on a bike. Then hop off and do a round of pushups and then squats. Timing these intervals and adding some creativity to your workouts will pay off huge.

Why is this so much better than keeping a steady pace? It turns out the science suggests that steady cardio fails you.

Studies done by places like East Tennessee State, Baylor College of Medicine, Laval University, and University of New South Wales have done some pretty extensive research on this. They proved that having shorter, yet higher intensity sessions of cardio have much greater results in terms of fat loss than lower intense but longer workouts.

The University of Western Ohio put their hand in the pot, too. Their results discovered that completing 4 to 6 30-second sprints burn a lot more fat over time than completing 60 minutes on the treadmill, with the same pace.

Plus, if you keep your cardio sessions a bit shorter, you’re going to preserve your muscles and strength a lot better, which is a critical piece to staying in shape.

A lot of people turn to the recumbent bike for HIIT. You can keep yourself in a stable position but also keep yourself busy watching a movie on the TV or your device.

And Stephen F Austin State University is going to back this up. You see, they discovered that various kinds of cardio changes the way your body can build muscle and strength. They had some subjects run and walk, while others cycled. In the end, the ones that ran/walked didn’t have nearly as much strength as the volunteers that cycled.

This could be because the movement is like weightlifting, much like lunges and squats. Jump on a bike and combine with compound weighted movements for the other pieces of your intervals to get your ultimate HIIT session.

Do Supplements Help with Targeted Fat Loss?

If you don’t know by now that a clean pre-workout formula can help you power through your workouts and develop bigger stronger muscle to displace stubborn fat loss areas, then it’s time to retract your steps.

But, if you want to break it down to the basics, we can help you there as well. Some supplements are indicated to help with problem areas and targeted fat loss.

Good old caffeine can lend a helping hand. If you take caffeine right before you exercise, you’re going to increase the production of catecholamine, which as you know by now, is going to get you better fat mobilization results.

Now, in terms of a dose, this depends on your tolerance. If you don’t get caffeine much, you will want to stick with 150 to 200 mg. On the other side, if you’re a big caffeine person, you can bump up that dose to 400 to 500 mg.

While you can get caffeine from coffee, you’ll find the best results come from the supplement form, as these have caffeine in its purest form, so it provides the best results.

Yohimbine can also help, because it serves as an opponent to alpha-2 in our bodies. What this means is that it’s going to block the alpha-2’s activity and speed upi the entire fat loss process. In fact just a mere .2 mg per kg of your body weight is just enough. Just don’t go absolutely nuts with it – it has been known to raise blood pressure so you want to be careful. If you already have high blood pressure, stay away from it.

Other ingredients that are shown to be beneficial for fat loss include:

  • Synephrine (which is going to increase your BMR)
  • Naringin (to help with the breakdown of fat cells)
  • Hesperidin (improve blood flow, among other advantages)
  • Hordenine (to mobilize more fat cells)
  • Epigallocatechin gallate (this has been known to cut back on fat in the ab area)
  • Salicin (to make sure the synephrine is working at its full potential)
  • Forskolin (to burn through ore energy reserves)
  • 5-HTP (to make you feel more full from food while keeping cravings and hunger at bay)

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Between adding the right supplements, creating overall caloric deficit, using HIIT workouts you can blast fat from your body. While targeted weight loss it might not be as simple as throwing a few bicep curls to cut arm fat, there are methods that can help you achieve your weight loss goals, or just sculpt in some touch up work. Stick with it and remember that overall fat loss and body recomposition are the best ways to completely reprogram your problem areas.

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Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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Targeted Fat Loss: Fact or Fiction?
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Targeted Fat Loss: Fact or Fiction?
Today we look at the best methods for targeted fat loss from problem area training, and the best ways to keep your whole body burning fat.
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Gym Junkies
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