Lets talk about spot training…

How to get a toned butt!  How to get a flat belly!  How to get lean arms!  How to get slim thighs!  Spot training is such a well researched thing that is almost always shown not to work, but magazines (hi again, Women’s Health!), advertises their workouts as such.  Here are some points about spot training, and better options.

  • You can spot train, but you can’t spot reduce.  When you burn calories, you burn them all over, so you can’t target just one area, like, say your belly, and try to lose only belly fat.  If you want to get a toned tummy, you’re going to need to lose fat everywhere.  Same with your thighs, your butt, etc.
  • You aren’t going to see tone without muscle.  Kindof the opposite concept as above:  If you want lean arms, or abs, you can’t just lose fat and presto six-pack!  You have to have some muscle under there.
  • Lets talk about chicken legs.  You know, those big buff guys that only do upper body, and have disproportionately skinny legs.  Thats a form of spot training.  Don’t spot train and get chicken legs!  You can have lower body days and upper body days, sure, just make sure you work your whole body by the end of the week.  Besides, why would you only want toned arms, when you can have toned everything?! Think about it.

How to not spot train:

  1. Follow the trusty American College of Sports Medicine formula.  Incorporate a combination of cardio and resistance exercise.  Plan for cardio 4-5 days a week, for 30+ minutes each bout, and resistance training 2-3 times per week, focusing on total body strengthening.
  2. Don’t fall into the fads.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if any program, diet, supplement or product claims to help you lose weight FAST, then it is probably not a reliable resource for you.  What is a reliable resource?  Invest in a personal trainer, a class that you love (yoga,dance lessons, horseback riding, spin classes!), or a nutrition consultant to get you on the right track.  Lifestyle changes, people.
  3. Accept your “flaws”.  Everyone’s body is different.  I have a pelvic tilt, which makes it physically impossible for me to have a flat stomach.  Sometimes you can’t fight genetics.  Accept your body for all it can do, and focus on your health and strength.

Here’s a picture of my not so flat (but very strong!) stomach, and the boy 😉 on a recent escape from the frozen tundra to sunny Freeport:IMG_5690

Happy NOT spot training!



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