Where as losing some unwanted body fat feels like a drink from the fountain of youth, spot reducing has always been the Holy Grail. Let’s be honest, we all have that one (okay) two spots we’d like to lose while the rest is pretty much okay. Billions of dollars have been spent on such remedies as: gels, wraps, abdominal blasters, pills, potions, etc. only to find that they don’t work. Still, some people think, if it’s on T.V. it must be real, there goes more $$$.
Savvy exercise enthusiast and trainers are well aware of the error in this line of reasoning. All the crunches in the world aren’t going to make your abs flat, plastic wraps aren’t going to make your hips smaller, and oatmeal baths and deep tissue massage isn’t ridding you of cellulite just because the spa lady said it would. Lies, lies, lies.
Popular belief among real trainers is that if you want to shrink your gut, you have to lose weight all over; your body taking it from where it will, according to your genetics. If you want a smaller waist you’re going to get better results from doing cardio than from spending the time doing abdominal exercises. It’s a simple case of calories in versus calories spent.
I recommend my clients follow a protocol of resistance training to build muscle to enhance metabolism, cardio to burn calories now and a 90/10 diet (healthy 90%, cheat 10%) to control intake. Bottom line, it’s what works.
Here’s where the new comes in. A study was conducted in Australia at NSW University to test the efficacy of sprint training on fat loss. The subjects were broken into two cycling groups, one exercised for 40 minutes at a constant pace 3x’s a week while the second group followed a protocol of 8 second sprints followed by 12 second rest periods. They performed this for 20 minutes 3x’s a week. At the end of the study the sprint group lost 3 times as much overall weight, but the real kicker is that the fat loss was most significant in the thighs and legs area. Abdominal fat was also greatly reduced.
This is just one study pointing to a possibility of spot reduction, but a pretty good one. We can extrapolate that a similar effect would also work for running or skating sprints. Currently at the Ultimate Health Training Center in Hollywood, CA we are experimenting with burst training. Essentially we use short duration explosive movement on heavy bags and sprinters drills for upper body, and burst sprints on a track or cycle for lower body. Preliminary results are very encouraging.