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Debunking the Myth of Spot Reduction


Do you ever wonder how to shrink the fat on your thighs or reduce the flab on the back of your arms? Ever wake and up and dream about wearing your favorite pants from the glory days of college? Well, short of plastic surgery, there is no way to simply eliminate certain problem areas.

The reality is that slimming your figure is not a simple task. In order to lose weight in one spot, you must be willing to work your entire body. So, the women who want thinner hips and the men who seek to shed the spare tire must attack the body as a whole. You must lift each body part, and to see the best gains I advocate performing more multi-joint exercises such as bench presses, rows, squats and lunges.

These types of exercises challenge the cardiovascular system as well as stimulating the muscles because they require a lot of effort and force the heart to work harder. Another great trick to speed metabolism during lifting workouts is to steadily reduce your rest periods. This is an advanced technique and should be changed according to perceived exertion levels, experience and training goals.

You can perform all the crunches and inner/outer thigh lifts you want, but it takes more to see the desired results. First, you must perform a consistent progressive strength training program that calls for you to work each body part twice per week. Next, you must engage in a moderate amount of aerobic exercise to aid in boosting metabolism. Finally, you need to follow a sound eating plan (not necessarily a diet). With hard work and consistency, you will begin to see positive changes.

With that said, you can toss away all those exercise tapes or gadgets that promise quick fixes or spot reduction. The best approach is developing a sound nutritional and fitness plan with the intent of making long-term lifestyle changes. This philosophy, albeit slower and more difficult, will deliver permanent results and prevent you from feeling disappointment with unfulfilled claims from fraudulent fitness marketers today.

See how these five proven fitness tips will change your figure in just 3 months:

1. Perform strength training circuits for 30-40 minutes. Consider a circuit as 3 different exercises performed consecutively. Do 3 circuits.

2. Following the circuit, perform 15-20 minutes of high intensity cardiovascular training (perceived exertion = at least 7 on a scale of 1-10).

3. Split your routine into 3 days - total body, chest/back/triceps and legs/shoulders/biceps.

4. Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps for each exercise in the circuit.

5. Rest no more than 60 seconds between each circuit set, and no more than 2 minutes between each circuit.

Brian Schiff, PT, CSCS, is a respected author, physical therapist and fitness expert. You can sign-up for his free online newsletter @ http://www.thefitnessedge.cc.

Copyright 2004 Brian Schiff


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