The Truth Behind Cardiovascular Exercise And Spot Reducing: Part 2

In this second part of my article on cardiovascular exercise, spot reducing and toning, we shall look at the myths surrounding the theory that you can reduce fat from areas through high rep, low weight resistance training.
Click Here For Part One

In this second part of my article on cardiovascular exercise, spot reducing and toning, we shall look at the myths surrounding the theory that you can reduce fat from areas through high rep, low weight resistance training.

Gym Science

If one watches television, reads magazines and listens to people at the gym, we are inundated with the notion that we truly can reduce body fat from specific targeted areas through weight training. Look at all the crazy machines that make claims that this is possible. "The butt this and the ab that". It all goes into the area called gym science, there is no physiological or scientific basis to any of it, but due to our general ignorance surrounding the human body, we as a society are gullible and want to believe there is an easy way to produce that perfect body.

One of the most frequently asked questions involves whether or not it is possible to reduce fat in specific areas of the body. Men often want to know how to get rid of their "Love Handles" or "Spare tires" and women are interested in slimming down their hips, thighs, and buttocks. Unfortunately, it is not possible to spot reduce body fat. Nor is it possible to tone fat. Remember what we talked about in our previous article. Each type of exercise uses it's own type of fuel.

Weight Training

Weight training uses Glycogen (Carbohydrates) and cardio uses glycogen and fat. Many gyms contain equipment, which appears to have the capacity to help members "firm" particular body parts (i.e. waist machines, buttocks machines). Celebrities appear in exercise videos exhorting the incredible physical changes one can make just by performing specific exercises. This type of information just serves to perpetuate the myth that it is possible to spot reduce, tone or firm body fat.

Our bodies are genetically programmed to carry a certain amount of body fat in particular areas. Women generally carry additional fat in the hip and leg areas, and men may have excessive fat around their mid section. It is not unusual to see a woman with a petite upper body and a large lower body or a man with a gut and thin legs.

In order to lose fat from any area of the body, an "energy deficit" (i.e. the amount of calories burned exceeds the calorie intake) must occur. For example, if 2500 calories are burned daily and the caloric intake is 2000, the body will turn to stored calories (body fat) to provide for the calorie deficit. People often ask which areas of their body will lose fat first. This cannot be predicted. Specific exercises cannot increase fat loss in particular body areas. The body will lose fat from where it wants when it wants. The one proven method of fat loss is a combination of proper caloric intake, supplementation and exercise.


The region of the body which first experiences a noticeable decrease in body fat will vary from person to person because it is genetically predetermined. Women may first see fat go from their upper bodies, despite the fact that their fat stores may located predominantly in their lower bodies. Men may loose fat from their arms and legs before losing fat from their back and abdominal areas. It is important that you continue and be patient with your exercise and nutrition program in order to get to those hard or stubborn areas. Eventually, you will experience fat loss in those stubborn body areas. Don't get discouraged. Stick with your plan. People don't plan to fail. They just fail to plan!

People who cannot initially specifically alter their body composition may resort to spot reducing exercises. Actually, muscles that are stimulated with resistance exercise will increase in size. If you are not eating properly, you will not be able to lose fat simultaneously. Consequently, the newly built muscle tissue will push out the layer of subcutaneous fat and you will appear larger in size. Buttocks and sit-up exercises don't result in smaller body-parts-they increase their size. Many people also believe that weight training particular body areas will cause them to become firmer. As previously stated, it is not possible to firm fat- nor can fat become muscle. Instead the body area will simply become larger.

The Hard To Get Places

Body areas, which are not "toned", simply contain excess body fat. Muscle is always "toned"(i.e. firm). Unfortunately many people can't see their toned muscle because it is covered by a loose layer of fat. It is only possible for you to reduce body fat by burning more calories than you eat. A loss of body fat will allow you to see or feel the already firm muscle tissue. Therefore, it is not necessary to perform specific exercises to reduce fat or to "tone" a particular body area. If you follow your exercise and nutrition recommendations you will eventually lose fat throughout your body. No one can predict where you will loose that fat first or last. That scenario leads to the reduction of calories and desperate means to achieve that desired look!

Peggy's bottom line is this! Lift and lift heavy! Build muscle tissue to increase your ability to burn fat and/or calories. Don't waste your time on specific areas to burn fat from those spots. Resistance training will just increase the size of an already toned muscle. Keeps your carbohydrates up to provide you with the fuel you need for anaerobic exercise. Finally, make sure you are doing your cardiovascular exercise in a glycogen deficient state and do not exceed your target heart rate.

I hope this helps you all achieve that chiseled look you have all been looking for. E-mail me at to ask me your specific questions. Visit my website at!

Click Here For Part One