The debate on whether it’s really possible to burn fat locally is common among experts. I believe the answer is somewhere in between. Below, I explain why and I will give you an example based on a woman who has excess fat on her legs and wishes they were more muscular.
The body is more complex than it may seem. Sometimes we just focus on our external figure and completely forget about the inner functioning that also influences our physical changes. Hormones play a very important role in the control of biological processes. I’m sure you have heard of insulin, cortisol, estrogens and testosterone.
The balance between hormones determines a lot for every person. We’re all different hormonally. Hormones influence our mood, our energy, as well as our desire to exercise. They also influence the size of our muscles, how much fat our body stores and where it preferes to store it.
Someone who accumulates a lot more fat in the legs than in the torso, often has an estrogen imbalance. By balancing that hormone, the body will retain less localized fat in the legs.
You’re probably wondering how to achieve this? Well, in my opinion with adequate training, nutrition and supplements.
Out of curiosity, I googled: “How can I reduce my estrogen levels with food?” My conclusion: Try to eat around 500 grams of vegetables daily, especially different cabbages (such as broccoli), ingest more B vitamins from meat and dried fruits (especially nuts), eat a diet rich in fiber and minimize alcohol consumption. It’s also very important to reduce your sugar intake!
In terms of training, it’s important to perform strength exercises. Put the focus on all parts of the body - regardless of the area where you have localized fat. These exercises can be: squats, weightlifting, bench press, all the different gym machines … Strength exercises stimulate your body to the maximum, which translates into greater development of muscle fiber and consequently in burning fat. I also recommend paying a bit more attention to the area where you would like to burn the localized fat and do some additional exercise that focuses on the muscles in that area. But don’t skip the exercises for other parts of the body!
It’s also a good idea to do some cardiovascular training. But even if your goal is to burn localized fat, don’t make cardio the most important part of your workout. Continuous and intense cardiovascular workout has a negative effect on testosterone. A low level of this hormone causes the body to produce less muscle fiber and more fat. It’s the muscles that burn the most energy. So trying to reduce muscle mass is a mistake if you’re trying to burn fat in order to improve your figure!
This blog is written by one of our personal trainers, Joyce Mohringer.