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‘I am doing aerobics, so my lower body is fine; now I don’t know what to do for my upper body’. Another one who is still under the belief that it really is possible to lose ‘fat’ or at least ‘inches’ from a specific area by doing ‘specific’ exercises for that area. It’s the same logic as crunches for the stomach, side-kicks for the outer thigh, side-bends for the waist, etc. But remember what Hindi movies taught us? Ladki patana hai to chocolate uske nephew / niece / kutte / cousin ko do.
Aerobics, running, swimming, cycling are all activities that help you mobilise fatty acids from all over your body. Fat is incapable of contraction or taking part in the activity, be it aerobics, weight training or anything else. Irrespective of the activity, where your body burns fat from is the body’s own choice. Your body makes this choice based on many factors. Broadly, these are genetics, exercise history, pre-workout meal, choice of activity, intensity and volume of exercise. Your choice of exercise will not decide the place from where fat is being burnt but the intensity of your exercise will decide how much fat is being burnt. The higher the intensity, the more fat is burnt, not just from your place of choice, but from all over the body. So should you not do crunches or leg lifts or work your sides? Of course, you should. But it can’t be the only thing you do in the gym. You can do two or three sets of ten-twenty reps once in a week or two weeks. That way it will serve the purpose of moving muscles in that specific angle and not overload your joints or your gym time.
(Rujuta’s new book, Don’t Lose Out, Workout, is out in stores)