It's the age old question that everyone asks... 'how can I lose weight here', 'How can I make my bum smaller'... and don't get me started on 'I don't want to gain muscle, I just want to lose weight' ... that's a whole other article lol.
People, including me in years gone by, always have areas that they don't like and want to focus their efforts on. Losing belly fat, toning up thighs or arms to get rid of the dreaded under arm flab or 'bingo wings' as I like to call them. People want to know how to focus on one area or another and whether there are any exercises that will tone one area specifically more than another.
The answer is none - zero exercise which on it's own will focus on losing the weight and target toning one specific area of the body. Read on to find out why and what you need to do if you are targeting one area.
I had a question from someone recently, which I completely identified with. It's the golden nugget, the answer everyone wants, I've asked it myself. "How can I lose weight on my arms?' Or belly, or bum, or thighs, or hips.. the list goes on.
The answer is that there aren't any targeted exercises that will lose you weight on your arms... or anywhere for that matter. Losing weight usually happens when you're in a calorie deficit - which can be achieved by exercising (cardio and weights) and reducing and monitoring daily calorie intake. It's a process, and the results are different for everyone. Everyone loses weight at different rates from different parts of their body depending on various factors such as genetics, body shape etc.
What can you do?
Ensure you get your calories from a good mix of macros. Good nutrition and knowing how to work out which calories and macros you need to achieve your goal weight loss is the key starting point. Ever heard the phrase 'abs are made in the kitchen'? That's what this is referring to. Ensuring your nutrition has you on the path to dropping weight steadily through a calorie deficit and ensuring you are getting the majority of your calories from good essential sources. For me and the training routine I work to my split is P45%, C30%, F25%. Protein is essential as it helps build muscle (and I don't mean massive big bulky muscles!), good lean muscle which helps the body burn fat at a faster rate. The more lean muscle you have the more effective a fat burning machine your body becomes. Cue the exercise...
Targeted exercises can help you shape and define your body while the weight loss process is happening. If not combined with a calorie deficit the chances are that you are not going to see a weight drop but you may see a definite change in shape while targeting certain areas of the body with exercise.
For example - running three times a week combined with a calorie deficit, will help you burn fat and lose weight but won't get rid of those bingo wings. Important to remember that cardio and weights are essential to lose the fat though. The cardio, done at the right intensity level for you (i.e., you're breaking a sweat during either steady cardio or HIIT sessions in order to burn fat) will work with your nutritional calorie deficit to help your body burn fat, and any targeted exercises you do will ensure that you form a shape underneath the fat so that when the layers of fat come off you reveal the shape you are working to achieve underneath. Think of a caterpillar shedding it's skin and becoming a beautiful butterfly :-)
No gym? No weights? No problem.
If you wanted to achieve definition in your body as the weight was coming off you could hit the gym and use the machines or classes which target specific areas of the body. You'll find lots of upper and lower body machines as well as ab machines for the torso.
There are lots of online HIIT sessions to tackle also if you wanted to do them in the comfort of your own home. See link here for loads of free @therealfitnesscoach workouts.
If you had no access to the gym or any weights equipment there are lots of bodyweight exercises to do, and you can increase the intensity by using your body weight. Here are a few I'd use to shape and define:
Tricep dips (off a chair or table)
Ring rows *
Bicep curls *
One arm rows *
Legs & glutes (bottom)
Air squats/ jumping squats *
Lunges/ jumping lunges *
Glute thrusts *
Bulgarian split squats *
Step ups / weighted steps up*
Sit ups/ decline situps *
Russian twists *
* Be inventive, find objects to use as dumbells for the exercises and increase the weight over time.
You can make any of these exercises more intensive by slowing them right down and having a pause at top of the movement. E.g. Slowing down the descent and then pausing at the floor while doing a push up.
So, remember, 'abs are made in the kitchen'! Make sure you've got your nutrition right, which is key, and combine that with effective cardio sessions and targeted weights to shape and define the body you want to reveal!