Many people know this: They want to lose weight, but only in the “right” places. But is there local fat loss at all and can you control it through training? Fitness professor Stephan Geisler explains how an Italian study could provide new clues.
Belly, legs, buttocks, arms, or the face – many people have parts of the body where they would like to lose weight in a targeted manner. But is that even possible?
Targeted lose weight in specific parts of the body – is that possible?
To say it in advance: What is actually agreed in science is the fact that the body makes no difference in fat loss. This means that he always takes his reserves evenly from anywhere when losing weight. Prof. Dr. sees this too Stephan Geisler like that. “Basically, fat burning is something that works systemically (= not just locally, editor’s note) ,” he explains. Why this statement by science might not necessarily be set in stone, more on that later.
Why you usually “lose weight” on your face first
“But you have gotten narrow in the face!” This phrase is often heard by people who are on a diet and who are already losing weight. But is it really the case that you lose weight on your face first? “Well, it’s certainly no secret that many people first notice that they have lost weight,” said Geisler. The simple reason: “As a rule, you generally have less fat on your face than on your stomach or buttocks, for example. Assuming that you would lose weight evenly in percentage terms, it would still be visible on the face first. ”
Also interesting: 13 Filling foods to lose weight
If you are looking for exercises for targeted weight loss on the Internet, you will often come across supposedly helpful slimming tricks. So it is said to be useful if you form a kiss mouth, suck the cheeks and hold it for a few seconds. But does that really work? The expert sees it rather critically. “I’m pretty sure that there are no scientific studies on this. And from my physiological point of view, I personally would rather doubt that, ”said Geisler.
Regional fat loss through warmth and blood circulation?
Another myth that stubbornly persists in connection with weight loss: the claim that direct heat on certain parts of the body has an impact on fat loss by locally promoting blood circulation – which in turn is supposed to boost fat burning. For example, you can buy special heat belts that you put around your stomach. The manufacturers advertise that they virtually melt away unwanted love handles. Even common sense should have doubts about such absurd miracle weapons – the fitness professor replies: “If it were that easy, one could, exaggeratedly say, just sit in the sauna for a week and then have a dream body. Logically, that won’t happen. “
Building muscle with magnetic wave impulses?
Care should also be taken with products that promise targeted muscle building without training with magnetic wave impulses: “As long as such providers have not yet been able to explicitly demonstrate international, scientific studies regarding their effectiveness, I would be rather skeptical here.”
Also interesting: 11 mistakes that will slow down your metabolism
Is it possible to lose weight in a targeted manner? Study provides clues
In view of a study by the University of Rome, fitness professor Geisler does not want to rule out local and targeted fat loss. Scientists had investigated whether it could be possible to influence “regional” fat burning through various training combinations.
The researchers had 16 untrained women in their early 30s trained three times a week for three months. Two groups were formed: one trained strength with the upper body and endurance with the lower body, group two trained the other way around.
The subjects documented their diet with a diary. However, no additional diet was explicitly carried out. The normal, everyday activity level should also remain the same.
This is how the study participants trained
Group 1 completed a so-called “Upper Body Resistance Training”. These women completed five different upper body exercises, each with three sets of ten repetitions, and then cycled for 30 minutes at a leisurely pace. The other group worked in reverse on the same principle (“Lower Body Resistance Training”) with five exercises for the lower body and 30 minutes on the arm ergometer.
Also interesting: faster muscle building with split training
Results showed significant differences in fat loss
With regard to the percentage of fat mass, there were actually significant differences in the result. For example, those who trained upper body strength and lower body endurance had conspicuously lost more fat on their arms. And vice versa, the situation was similar with the loss of body fat on the legs, which was higher in group 2. Prof. Geisler sees a tendency here that different types of training can have different effects on fat loss in different parts of the body.
Criticism: low informative value and some potential falsifications
Nevertheless, Geisler has some criticisms of the study: “There is only a very small N number (= number of all study participants, editor’s note).with two eight, that is a total of sixteen subjects, is far from meaningful. ”He also criticizes that the monitoring of the diet was only covered by a diary. So the diet when losing weight is also an important factor. The distribution of muscle mass could also have a major impact, but was not considered further in the study. “You can do a lot more physical work on the bike ergometer than on the arm ergometer. This is because we have significantly more muscle in our legs. Therefore, this will make a fundamental difference in both strength and endurance training in terms of total calorie turnover, ”he describes the possible cause of deviations in local fat loss.
Conclusion of the fitness professor: targeted weight loss is still not possible
As a result, Prof. Geisler states: “The study may not be perfect, but in my view there is at least a tendency.” Basically, he sticks to his statement that local fat reduction through targeted training is probably not possible. However, based on the results of the study, this topic should definitely be investigated in the future. He and his team are planning further research in this area.
The ideal workout for fat loss
In general, Geisler generally recommends a combination of strength and endurance training to everyone who wants to train particularly effective for burning fat. Endurance training burns a lot of energy and strengthens the cardiovascular system. In addition, you can build muscle mass with strength exercises and thereby boost fat burning again. Because with regular strength training you increase the daily energy metabolic rate: Then you automatically burn more fat even when you are not exercising.