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The Now What Fitness Series lays out the foundation of fitness in a concise and simplified manner, making for a collection of books that help the reader truly comprehend how to improve one's health and well-being from A to Z. I've broken fitness down into comprehensive concepts, giving anybody who truly wants to change their health and their lives in profound ways, the step-by-step tools and knowledge to do so. 

Diet and Exercise Tips Interview Question #8

Spot Reducing Myth: Many women are fighting a battle to lose weight in the stomach, legs, hips, butt, etc. What are some exercises you suggest to help tone these problem areas?

The spot reducing myth is a great topic and probably one of the most popular questions that people ask about, if not THE most popular! 

This is kind of a long answer, but hang in there because it is stocked full of information that will stop the hype right here about this crazy myth concerning spot reducing.

GET THIS: I almost feel like it has been asked enough that the cat should truly be out of the bag by now. But just to be sure you get it, here is the answer: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SPOT REDUCING. You can spot tone, but you cannot spot reduce. 

owl staring.Don't be a hater!

I can feel your glares of disgust, confusion and angst across the cyberspace. Hold on a minute and let me explain. Let’s say your right biceps is bigger than your left biceps.

You can try bringing your left biceps up by training a little harder or heavier, maybe doing an extra set of biceps curls with your left arm. That would be spot toning. 

Or let’s say you have very underdeveloped calves or no butt or no muscularity in your arms. You can work extra hard on these areas by focusing strength training exercises in each respective area by hitting them harder than any other muscle group for a while. Thus, the respective muscle group would respond by growing or conditioning. That would be spot toning. THAT IS COMPLETELY DOABLE!

On the other hand, if someone walks up to me and says, I am fine with my body except my butt is too big or my calves are too fat, can you give me exercises to tone my butt or calves? Well, what they are really asking for is fat loss. Not muscle toning and these are two different things.

Any strength training exercise is going to cause hypertrophy, which is muscle growth, toning and conditioning, not fat loss. (At least not directly.) This means that there are truly no strength training exercises that will help a person lose weight in a specifically desired area.

So the short answer to the original question is: There are no strength training exercises that will help you lose weight in a focused area. Got it? However, strength training in general will aid in weight loss by increasing your resting metabolism with increased muscle mass. Go here for a more in-depth discussion on that matter.

So, when somebody asks me how to get rid of these problem areas, what they are really asking is how do I get rid of this fat that tends to hang around mostly my stomach, legs, hips, butt, etc. These are the common problem areas for most women. 

Busting The Spot Reducing Myth Once and For All!

And this is my final answer: The solution is very simple in theory, but not so easy to implement. Here it is, are you ready? It’s CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE!! 

That’s right, you have to lose the fat. So the best way to do this is to get the whole fitness regimen together. That perfect trifecta I am always talking about.

  1. You must do cardio to burn the fat. 
  2. You must strength train to tone and condition your muscle because the more muscle you have the higher your metabolism to burn off more calories even at rest and to sculpt your body. 
  3. And last but not least, you have to get your nutrition program together so that all that hard work shows and pays off.

Bottom line: If you are doing 1 and 2, but your eating habits are not in check, then 1 and 2 isn’t going to show up very much is it? And you are going to get frustrated and maybe even quit. That is sad and you do not want to do that. 

Oops! I got caught in a chocolate caramel truffle blizzard!

Hey, we all have hard times. This isn’t easy. You may fall off the wagon; you may even get ran over by it. But the point is you must pick yourself up and get out from under that wagon wheel, dust yourself off, and hop back on that wagon, sister, because you can do this! You can! You just have to have the right tools in your arsenal to do it. 

The best tool I am arming you with today is knowledge. I am telling you like it is; no sugar-coating, no magic pills, no shortcuts. It takes work, dedication, commitment, persistence, and tenacity. And of course, knowledge is key. 

So how do you fix your problem areas?

  1. Start doing regular cardio training and throw in some HIT sessions if and when you can.
  2. Begin strength training every major muscle group at least 2-3 times a week.
  3. Get your nutrition plan working by learning your daily caloric needs according to your goals and just get started, people! Follow

Above all, don’t give up. Make up your mind to do this as if your life depends on it, because basically, it does. 

If you are carrying around more than 20 pounds too much, if you haven’t already developed health issues due to obesity, you probably will. These issues will shorten your life and rob you of quality of life that you deserve. It’s your birthright to feel good and to enjoy your life. 

You have to work at this, but I know you can do it! Whenever you fall off the wagon and an unplanned cheat happens, 

do not let that completely derail your plan. Just get back on track and get it going again. 

Don’t give up until you have achieved your goals!! 

Now, sorry, I tend to get a little carried away. I know there are some of you saying, okay, Linda, but aren’t there exercises I can do for those problem areas? 

Yes, there are and they should be done along with all of your other muscle group exercises as a part of working all your muscle groups. Understand? Remember the spot reducing myth!

Yes, train your hips, butt, abs, etc., along with your biceps, triceps, chest, back, shoulders, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. If you do all that I have told you to do up till now, I promise your problem areas will diminish.

Click here for exercises to work the muscles of the most prominent problem areas!

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