At this time of the year it's all about improving yourself and becoming a better version of yourself. A fresh start with new goals and better habits. Beach body and all that.
You begin to refresh your fitness knowledge and start reading certain magazines, online articles or even consider hiring a personal trainer. You really want to do this and lose those love handles you gained over the last few months.
Heck, you just saw that TV commercial, where this guy lost 60 pound around his midsection and has abs of steel by doing a simple 3 minute workout every day. That's not a problem for you. By next week, you should have those visible abs too, right?
Nope, sorry to disappoint you. Carrying some excess fat around your mid section? All those extra sit-ups, crunches and planks won't help you with losing that.
Want to get rid of the extra pounds on your thighs? Please, don't take up jogging. There is no such thing as targeted fat loss. It's simply impossible to lose fat where you want to.
This might be even more annoying for you, but for the most of us, the first place we gained the fat on is usually the last place it comes off. Due to different receptors in different areas, our bodies gain and lose fat in a predetermined way. You can't change your genetics.
How our bodies burn fat
When we eat something, the liver stores glucose, which we need as energy, and gradually releases it into the blood stream. With this energy we are able to move, think etc.. Excess calories get stored as body fat.
Once your body runs out of glucose, a signal gets send to the brain and your body starts to use stored fat as an energy source for explosive tasks. Aerobic tasks use more fat anyway.
This whole process of fat oxidation makes the fat tissue shrink, but in order to get there you have to eat less calories than you burn.
The fat that is used during this process comes from anywhere in your body, not the area you're working at that time.
Where your body wants to lose fat first, comes down to your sex, genetics and body shape.
You have to get lean in general, to have visible abs and an athletic shape. And yes, you can do it too! Some people think they can't get rid of the last few pounds, usually around the abs for men and thighs/butt for women. That's nonsense. Everyone can. You just have to lose enough body fat. Simple as that.
What's with muscle building then?
Unlike fat loss, muscle building is site-specific. Meaning, if you want bigger quads, just do squats or other exercises to strengthen them and to make them bigger. Thousands of crunches won't lead to fat loss in your abdominals. It just means, that under your belly fat you will have stronger ab muscles.
Lifting weights will stop you from losing muscle mass when you're leaning out. Furthermore, lean muscle also burns calories, even when you're not exercising.
If your goal is to look leaner and more toned, you need to fix your diet and you need to be patient. You will get there, but consistency is key. Instead of focusing too much on your problem areas, try to enjoy the progress and learn to love yourself more and more.
Oh and make sure to still train heavy when trying to get toned. A long time ago some people believed high reps (15+) are needed for fat loss, which is utterly wrong. Keep doing compound exercises somewhere between 4 and 8, but no more than 12 reps and you're good to go.
Good luck with your summer shape!
By the way, if you're interested in a meal plan for your summer body, let us know!