We all store fat in different areas of our bodies; women with pear-shaped bodies tend to store more in the hips and thighs, while women with apple-shaped bodies store more in the abdomen and upper arms. When you want to reduce fat in a specific area of your body, it would seem reasonable to do exercises that work the muscles in that region. So if you want less fat on your thighs, you do lunges; if you want less fat on your arms, you do biceps curls; and if you want to burn off that spare tire, you do core exercises. Seems perfectly logical, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this approach to fat reduction is simply false. The reason we can’t microtarget fat areas is that fat is stored primarily in the form of triglycerides. These triglycerides might tend to collect more in certain areas (such as the abdomen or thighs), but that doesn’t mean the muscles of that area are using those specific triglycerides for fuel.
When we need energy to move, our body will call upon the stored energy in our fat cells and convert that energy into fuel that our muscles can use. Just because we have fat cells in our stomach doesn’t mean our body will choose those particular fat cells to convert to energy when we’re doing core exercises. In short, the fat cells in our stomach don’t “belong” to the muscles of the stomach. The body will pull energy from fat cells in many different areas of the body and will use that fuel to help power whatever activity we are doing. For this reason, the key to burning fat as quickly as possible is to choose activities that burn the highest number of calories, in turn eliminating the highest amount of fat. In the next chapter, we will look at which types of workouts are the most effective for burning fat calories, and we’ll examine why manipulating your heart rate is the key to losing belly fat.
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