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How do I get rid of fat in my (fill in the blank)?

As a personal trainer, I get this question all the time. No matter who it is—from your typical soccer mom to elite athlete—just about everybody has one area of their body where they would love to get rid of some undesirable layer of fat. So, how do we get rid of that pesky fat? In order to explain this, we have to understand the science involved in energy utilization.

Body fat accumulation occurs when one consumes more calories than needed. The estimated energy requirement (EER) offers a general picture of how many Calories one ought to eat on a daily basis; although the EER is not 100% exact, it is a very valuable tool. For example, if your EER is 2,000 Calories, then you would need to consume 2,000 Calories to maintain your weight. One pound of fat is around 3,500 Calories, so, if you wanted to lose one pound in a week, if you did not increase workout in intensity and/or frequency, you would be eating about 1,500 Calories.

When you create this caloric deficit, your body will look for stored energy, which can come in the form of body fat. So, what this means is that when looking to get rid of fat in certain regions is not quite as direct as we would like. In other words, if you want to burn off the fat at your lower oblique region, aka “the muffin top”, doing all sorts of abdominal exercises may not necessarily mean that your body will be drawing fat from the muffin top to convert into energy, but, rather, will be drawing it from other parts of the body.

However, it is important to know that, while creating a 500 Calorie a day deficit is safe for the general public, individuals on specialized diets should continue following the recommendations from their doctor or registered dietitians. Additionally, it is highly recommended that individuals resist the appeal of forcing a greater deficit, such as trying to go for a 1,000 Calorie a day deficit.

So, while it is not as simple as doing 1,000 trunk twists a day to get rid of the muffin top, with disciplined eating habits and a consistent workout regimen, the desired results will come.


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