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There is a common misconception that people can target parts of their bodies with the intention to “burn fat” in a particular body area by doing certain exercises. For example, common misconceptions include ab exercises such as crunches and sit-ups to get rid of abdomen fat.

Everyone’s anatomy and physiology is unique, which means everyone’s body fat distribution is different. People will lose or gain fat faster from some areas than others, and some have faster metabolisms than others. These factors influence the way we loose and gain weight. However, what we all have in common is that we cannot target where we burn the fat, or in some cases, we cannot decide where we want to keep it.

When you do core exercises, your body utilizes fat for energy if at an aerobic metabolic state (low intensity activity), but what you’re really doing with the exercise is strengthening your core. However, building muscle will aid fat burn. Since fat cells do not need to conserve themselves like muscle does, it requires more energy for muscle to maintain its structure. Thus, the more lean body mass (muscle) you have, the more calories you will burn at a resting state. Do not discontinue or get discouraged to do core exercises. Core exercises are crucial for an easy, pain-free, functional life. Having a strong core will help with proper posture, less back pain and coordination. My point is: it is great and important for to people work their core, but it may not be for what they intend.

So how do we decrease our body fat? It is important to practice healthy eating habits and a consistent exercise routine. A way to decrease your body fat is by expending more calories than you are taking in. There are different ways to put yourself in a caloric deficit—some healthy and others not so healthy. However, when it comes to exercise, an effective way to burn more calories in one workout session is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT is described as alternating cycles of a high intense period (should be performed close to maximal effort) and a slower recovery period (should be performed to about half of maximal effort). HIIT is also efficient with utilizing more fat, improving your cardiovascular endurance, charging up your metabolism, increasing muscle density and best of all—it can be done in just 20 minutes per session and burn more calories compared to the traditional steady state cardio.

HIIT is a way to help decrease your body fat. However, it is entirely up to your body’s physiology from where it will shed the fat. Unfortunately, we cannot control where we want to keep or get rid of fat.

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