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The Secret to Losing Belly Fat and Saggy Arms
By Sean Lim (NASM CPT)
If you've clicked this blog entry with eyes-rolling, good job! If you clicked wondering what the secret is, good job! Here's lesson 1 of Fat Loss.

1. You cannot specifically target fat loss at a particular region of your body.
2. You cannot "tone" a body part.
1. You Cannot Target Fat Loss

I'm going to drop some truth bombs today. That 3 sets of 15 reps crunches and triceps kickbacks you just did is not going to miraculously melt your belly and arm fat.

The simple principle behind fat loss is all about energy expenditure. A caloric deficit (eating less than your body uses) and an increase in energy use (physical activity) is how you facilitate successful fat loss. Fat loss is not spot specific; it does not use fat from the muscles that are being flexed, it draws fat from the entire body.

So drop your triceps kickbacks dumbbells and head over to the squat rack to do some real squats because using more muscles simultaneously burns more calories.

Note: I'm not saying triceps kickbacks or crunches are completely useless. They have their benefits. However, if fat loss is ultimately your goal then consider exercises that are multi-jointed (compound exercises) such as the big lifts (squat, deadlifts, bench press, overhead press, rows) and those that require a lot of neuromuscular efficiency and core control (unilateral exercises).

2. You Cannot "Tone"
This is a personal pet peeve of mine. You probably hear lots of people in and out of the industry using the term toning muscles to push a product and boy does it sell. Another pet peeve of mine of women having this irrational fear of getting too bulky from lifting weights but that rant/education article is for another day.

Let's clear it up once and for all, there is NO such thing as "toning" a muscle. It does not exist.

A lot of ladies and men alike say things like:

"I don't wanna get too bulky, I just want to keep my muscles toned"


"I just want to tone my triceps and legs"

I repeat. There is no such thing as toning. When you exercise, only two things can/will happen.

- Your muscles grow from the stress placed on it

As you lift weights, you're causing micro tears in your muscles which recovers from and grows in order to adapt to the demands imposed on it – also called Specific Adaption to Imposed Demand (SAID) principle.

- You reduce your overall body fat percentage
As your overall body fat percentage drops from proper exercise and nutrition, your muscles become more defined giving the lean/shredded/TONED look that most desire.

Congratulations, you are now enlightened.

Lift well, eat well, sleep well.
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