Life happens in a structured order. The same goes for how your body functions and responds. It’s part of the natural order of things, and for people looking for a quick fix then the way the body – and nature – works can prove to be disappointing. In today’s world of “I want it and I want it now with the least amount of effort on my part” mentality, just wanting to physically change a specific part of your body – for example losing belly fat to get six-pack abs, or other specific losses, is a big Ain’t. Gonna. Happen.

The same goes for amazing and special or “secret” diet plans that promise unbelievable results that “the world of medicine does not want you to know about”. Seriously, if I ran a pharmaceutical company and had a pill that could burn fat and make you lose weight, the last thing I would do is keep it a “secret”. I’d be selling that damn thing as much as possible, becoming a trillionaire, and saving the world from an obesity epidemic. But that’s just me. Maybe big-pharma really does want to keep miracle cures a secret and not make a profit. Because the last thing big-pharma cares about is profits, right?

You see, if you take a minute to examine these claims and use just the slightest amount of common sense you’ll see them for the nonsense they are.

So let’s start by taking a look targeted weight loss. The popular one right now is getting six pack abs, usually in no time at all.

Say you’re someone who has a “spare tire” and you decide to start a program that’s going to get you shredded in no time at all using all manner of ab targeting exercises. Now, as long as your doctor says it’s okay for you to exercise (and yes, always check with your doctor) you can do all the crunches or other ab exercises all you want until hell freezes over but until you burn off all the fat that makes up that muffin top that your abs are buried under then there’s no way you’re going to see a six pack because the disappointing truth of the matter is this – you can not spot reduce fat. The way the body burns fat is an “all-over” thing and getting your body to burn fat isn’t the result of random exercise and diet. It gets a little more specific than that.

(I know, right? Nothing is ever as easy as it’s made out to be. Welcome to the real world.)

The way to burn fat is by A) Eating a healthy diet (which we’ll get to shortly) and B) burning more calories than you take in. And seriously, those seven words (1) burning (2) more (3) calories (4) than (5) you (6) take (7) in pretty much covers it. That’s it. Simple. Burn more calories than you take in. That’s pretty much the Holy Grail of weight loss. Getting there, however, is another matter entirely.

Now this second part, about burning calories, has a lot of debate about how best to go about it. Some claim you can do it with weight work only. Some claim it requires an HIIT program that, if done properly, promotes an “after-burn” effect”. And some claim it requires exercising in a manner that gets your heart rate at such a level that it’s in the so called “fat-burning” zone” and the most effective exercise to achieve that is cardio work. Go online and you’ll see argument after argument claiming how one is right and the others are wrong. But I have a “secret” for you. They’re all right … when taken together and when done up to a point. Why get involved in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” foolishness in online articles and in forums where trolls live to argue. Why not partake of all of these forms of exercise? Problem solved.

And then, after maintaining a healthy diet and working out to burn calories, you actually will, eventually, burn fat. THEN you can do strength training to target muscle growth because unlike fat loss, which you can’t spot target, you can spot target muscle growth. So, after you burn off the fat you can sculpt those arm muscles, or get that six-pack, or build up those thighs, or whatever suits your fancy. But first you gotta burn off the fat.

As for diet … we’re not talking about fad “diets”, pills, or natural supplements that magically allow you to eat whatever you want and still lose weight. If you buy into that the only thing that is going to become thinner is your wallet. By diet we mean eating healthier. And here, just like weight loss, there are numerous disagreements over what is the best way to do it. Some say eat as much fat as you want just don’t eat any carbs! Others say eat as many complex carbs as you want just don’t eat any fat! Some say eat only berries picked by Nepalese Monks at the foot of Mt. Everest (which would certainly lower caloric intake because at the foot of Mt. Everest it’s all rocks and glaciers with zero plant life so, yeah, you’re looking at zero calories with this plan).

Once again, if you use common sense the answer is obvious.

Eating Well, the magazine and online publication, describes it as, “It’s about eating more of the best and healthiest options in each of the food groups—and eating less of the not-so-healthy ones.” Simple, and it makes sense. To be more specific they go on to say it “… means embracing whole foods like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats. It also means cutting back on refined grains, pesticides, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats and large amounts of sugar and salt. And avoiding highly refined foods with ingredients you’d need a lab technician to help you pronounce. Even if you only take a few steps toward eating cleaner—cutting back on processed foods, for example, or eating more fruits and veggies (and, if it works for you, buying a few organic)—it can still make an impact on your health” You can read their whole piece on eating clean here:

Now there are those who state that “clean” eating is nonsense and that you ultimately should focus on your nutrient requirements and it doesn’t matter how you reach them. The thought is that your body will utilize protein be it from a “clean” source as a non-clean source in the same manner. Same for carbs – your body doesn’t care if it’s from a cookie or from some “clean” whole grain.

Who’s right and who’s wrong? Who knows? And who cares quite frankly? What matters here is COMMON SENSE. Maybe your body does utilize protein and carbs in the same manner regardless of the source, and maybe it doesn’t. But it’s a pretty good bet that if you eat the “healthier” of what’s available to you, it’s a win-win. So examine your options and use common sense. It certainly isn’t going to kill you to eat vegetables, fruits and whole grains, plus healthy proteins and fats, and common sense tells us that eating burgers, fries, burritos and pizzas to achieve our nutrient requirements probably isn’t a better choice than the former. So stick with veggies, fruits, whole grains, and healthy proteins and fat. That way you only enhance your chances at success.

So get out there, eat healthy, and work out to burn more calories than you take in. And to make it worth your while even more, join our fitness center. Our state of the art equipment and app as well as our large array of group fitness classes (over 80 classes each week) as well as our certified personal trainers and available private programs can help get you started and keep you on track to get in the best shape of your life. Stop by for a tour or call us for more info.