The key body fat storage depots are distributed directly under the skin (subcutaneous fat), deeper in the body around the stomach, kidneys and liver (visceral or abdominal fat), and in the breast. The size of these fat depots differs with age and between the sexes: typically women store more fat than men and have more subcutaneous rather than abdominal fat. In other words women are more likely to be pear-shaped than apple shaped.The simplest way to assess if we have too much body fat for our health’s sake or not is to measure our waist and also our BMI (Body Mass Index). If you want more specific detail, the amount or % of fat in the body can be approximately measured at home, by your doctor or at health clubs.
What is the best way to reduce body fat?
When we consume fewer calories (from food and drink) than we burn (via metabolism and exercise) to get the energy we need to keep functioning properly we tap into our body fat to use their stored energy – and lose weight. However whenever we lose weight, as well as body fat, we also lose some lean tissue (mostly as muscle). While we can’t stop this happening, we can optimise the amount of fat we lose relative to muscle by being as active as we can.For example, one roundup of studies found that when inactive women lost around 10kg (1.5 stone) over 3 months then approximately 22% of the weight lost was lean tissue if they dieted only, compared to 17% if they lost weight by combining diet and exercise.
In addition to cardiorespiratory training, it is essential to also incorporate strength training two to three non-consecutive days per week as part of your complete fitness program, as training major muscle groups positively affects metabolic rate. In regards to resting metabolic rate (RMR), strength training increases the amount of lean muscle mass in the body, thereby allowing the body to burn fat at a higher rate throughout the entire day. Lean mass has a higher metabolism than fat mass as muscle tissue is highly active, even at rest.
While the thought of touting a toned midsection may be the main source of motivation for some individuals when it comes to performing core exercises, it is important to understand that effectively training your midsection serves a much higher purpose than just being easy on the eyes (although that doesn’t hurt). Strengthening the muscles of the core is essential for maintaining good posture, alleviating lower back pain, preventing injuries, and improving performance in other athletic pursuits.
If you fall in the normal range that’s great! Keep working at your weight goals as you see fit. If you’re not there, don’t despair. Because of its proximity to the liver, visceral fat is usually the easier fat to burn. It’s the less risky subcutaneous fat that likes to stick around.Unfortunately, you can’t forcefully spot reduce fat around your belly no matter how many crunches you do. The next best thing is to live a healthy lifestyle.