Why Do Certain Areas of Fat Not Respond to Exercise?

Although we think of fat as an enemy particularly of our waistline and thighs, that’s not the whole picture. Our body stores fat in many different areas of our body. Those different locations determine if the fat is hard or easy to get rid of, which also determines why certain areas of fat don’t respond to exercise.

Not all fat is created equal

Your body stores fat when you eat more calories than you burn. And even though we tend to think of all fat as the bane of our skinny jeans, some fat is essential, like the fat in bone marrow, the heart, and the central nervous system. Without fat in those areas, your body won’t function correctly.

You also store fat below your skin, called subcutaneous fat, and in your belly surrounding and protecting your internal organs, called visceral fat. However, excessive visceral fat is dangerous; it can elevate your risk of type 2 diabetes, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic conditions.

How exercise reduces fat

Your body needs energy to perform work like breathing and moving. Exercise is a type of work that your body fuels by burning carbohydrates and fat. The more your muscles work, the more fuel they’ll need, and the more fat you’ll burn.

So, you can control how much fat you burn: Burn more calories than you consume. But you can’t control which fat, including extra visceral fat, your body uses for energy.

A 2013 study investigated whether targeted exercise could decrease fat in targeted body segments such as the leg. Participants did between 960 and 1,200 leg presses, three times a week, using their nondominant leg. In the end, participants saw no significant decrease in the fat mass of the leg-press leg, although there was some overall fat decrease in the upper body.

The study concluded that the training program effectively reduced overall fat mass, but not fat in the area of the body that did the exercise.

Blame it on your genes, which seem to determine where you lose fat when you exercise.

How to look thinner

You may not be able to do a thousand crunches and lose your gut, but there are things you can do to look thinner.

Upper body exercises strengthen shoulder and back muscles and help you stand straighter. They also change your body’s proportions, so your waistline looks smaller. The added muscle will also rev up your metabolism, so your body burns more calories overall.

High-intensity cardio workouts will burn lots of calories in a small amount of time, which will eventually reduce your fat mass.

If diet and exercise aren’t helping you reach your aesthetic goals, give Achieve Body Sculpting a call at 602-536-5067, or book an appointment online.

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