SPOT REDUCTION: I do lots of outer thigh (tummy, buns, etc.) work. Will that part of my body slim down first?

No. When we’re working a muscle or group of muscles to burn fat, we have no control over what part of the body we burn fat from. There is no such thing as “spot reducing”. 1000 reps of any exercise to spot reduce is not the efficient way to lose fat.

Fat generally is used up in pretty much the reverse order it was put on, (LIFO – Last In First Out). When you are exercising, the blood is carrying fat from all over the body to provide the energy. The muscles which are being worked will improve, of course, so when the layers of fat finally do get worked off, you’ll have some nice lean tissue to show for all your efforts.

FAT BURNING: How do I know when I’m exercising hard enough to burn fat?

Actually, you’re *almost* always burning fat at one rate or another, but you burn most when your body is in its aerobic range. A good rule of thumb is that after 20 minutes in your aerobic zone, you will be burning more fat than carbohydrates / glucose.

Research has shown that a lot of people get into their fat burning zone after about 20 to 25 minutes of sustained low to mid intensity aerobic exercise (jogging, rowing, cycling). So, when you are jogging, remember that you are burning your glucose and carbohydrate calories for the first 20 minutes, and you will start burning a major portion of your fat calories after the 20th minute. If you can increase your aerobic activity to 30 minutes or longer, you will be burning a larger percentage of calories from fat.

There is still some disagreement as to which is better – longer duration at lower intensity, or shorter duration at higher intensity. If you are limited in time, then the higher intensity will maximize your aerobic benefits in a shorter time.

If you can work for a longer duration at a lower intensity, you will decrease your chance of injury. The object is to burn more calories than you take in. 3,500 calories equals l pound of fat. Your muscles will continue to burn fat after both aerobic and anaerobic (muscle training) exercise.

The question is also perhaps the most common question raised by individuals exercising for the purpose of either weight loss or simply weight control. This stems from the recognition that aerobic exercise is a significant adjunct to any weight loss program, that is diet plus aerobic exercise produces more weight loss than diet alone. In addition, the weight lost with exercise tends to be a higher percentage of fat.
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