"I want to lose this belly fat," I have heard this statement quite a bit lately, especially with my new clients. Body fat can be put into two categories. Essential body fat and adipose tissue. The body needs a specific amount of fat for insulation, hormone production, and body temperature regulation. It also needs fat for cushioning vital organs and body maintenance functions. This type of body fat is called essential body fat. Women need 10%-13% of essential body fat and men need 2% to 5%. Women need significantly more body fat for reproduction purposes. Adipose tissue is any additional fat that is stored in the body for later energy use. When people talk about losing body fat, they are really talking about adipose tissue. So all they have to do is use the fat that is around their abdominals as energy via abdominal exercises right? Wrong. Adipose tissue be targeted because fat deposits are genetically predetermined and adipose tissue will come off in the reverse order it was put on.
Genetics play a major role in our physical make up. There is a reason why obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other diseases are common in families. It is because they are hereditary. The same is true about where your body stores adipose tissue. If your father and grandfather have a lot of fat around their abdominals, chances are that you will too. If you put on excess fat, it will come off in reverse order as it was put on. Let's say Jan put on a little bit of extra fat. The fat was first stored in her abdominals and then her face. Jan then starts exercising and eating better. Assuming that she is burning more calories than she is consuming, then she will lose the excess fat first in her face and then in her abdominals. No matter how many crunches Jan , the fat will not come off of her abdominals first, it always comes off in reverse order. NOW, she will build significant muscle strength and size in her abdominal region, but there is no way to target the adipose tissue in that region.
Fat loss is a difficult task. It took me a long time to figure out how to burn through my own fat deposits, and it may take a little bit of experimentation for you as well, do not get frustrated. Embrace the challenge, be patient, and grow from the experience.