Everyone has problem areas; those areas that seem to accumulate fat more than other areas in your body. For many people, those areas are the first places they gain fat and the last place they lose it, which is why they are such a problem.
There are a ridiculous number of pills, powders, exercise products, diets, etc. all promising to make fat from your problem areas disappear, often in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. Of course, this is all just marketing hype to sell what are usually disappointing products that sound much better than they actually are.
If these products really worked, practically everyone would have their ideal body, but having a great body is never as simple as just taking a supplement or using an exercise product for a few weeks. I would like to be able to tell you that there is some magical nutritional program you can follow or a secret new exercise you can use to make fat from your problem areas go away, but the reality is not that exciting.
The good news is that you can lose fat from your problem areas, but the best way to get to those areas does not involve a specific exercise, workout, or even a specific eating program.
Eating right and exercising are both critical for developing a great body, but the key to losing fat from those stubborn areas is being consistent with your nutrition and exercise program. This may sound overly simplistic, but it is the most effective way and I will explain why.
First, being consistent does not mean being good for a couple of weeks and then taking a week off. Taking an on and off approach may get you some decent results at first, but it is not effective for attacking your problem areas. To really make progress with your most stubborn fat retaining areas, you have to keep up with your healthy eating and exercise habits over the long run and not just in spurts.
If you are like most people, your problem areas are probably near the center of your body (stomach, hips, etc.) When trying to lose fat from these areas the most common scenario involves the vast majority of the initial fat loss coming from your extremities (arms and legs). Then as fat loss continues, since there is less fat to lose in your extremities, a higher percentage of fat loss will start occurring in areas towards the center of your body.
This may sound strange, but think of fat loss like a big loan, where your problem areas are the principal you owe and the rest of your fat is the interest. When you start paying off a loan, almost all of your initial payments go towards the interest (various fat stores around your body).
Then after a while, you start making some progress on the principal (your problem areas). As time progresses, you make more significant progress on the principal and eventually you pay it off (have the body fat level you want).
Of course the problem with the loan analogy is it assumes you make all your payments every month or in health and fitness terms, you have to continue exercising and eating right all the time. There are also other factors, such as age, genetics, and various health issues that affect your ability to lose fat. However, as far as the way fat is lost from problem areas, the analogy is pretty accurate.
The challenge that most people have is being good all the time. Just remember the more consistently you do the right things, the faster you will lose fat from those troublesome areas. On the other hand, when you stray from eating well and exercising, you can negate the previous progress you made and actually add to the time it takes to lose fat from your problem areas.
Since problem areas tend to accumulate fat easier than other areas in the body, when you overeat or stop exercising, there is a decent chance that some fat gain will occur in your problem areas, even if most of your recent fat loss was from other areas.
It’s not uncommon for people to go through periods where they do well and lose fat from one area (arms) and then stray from their nutrition or exercise program and end up gaining some fat in their problem areas. When you lose weight from one area of your body, it does not mean you will necessarily gain it back in the same place.
This may not seem right, but the fact is that some areas of your body accumulate fat more consistently than other areas and that is exactly why those areas are such a problem. To make real progress in your problem areas, you have to minimize or ideally eliminate the times and amounts you slip from your program.
Of course, sometimes this cannot be avoided, such as when you get sick, but still make an effort to do your best as often as possible and eventually your problem areas will be a thing of the past.
14 years of experience and education in health and fitness