1. Can a person "spot reduce" a specific area of the body? By this I mean, can someone exercise one body part, i.e., the abdominals, and have it reduce in size? According to you, even if that happens, it isn't lost fat, it's just because the ab muscles are held in tighter.
Well, if tighter abs muscles pull the waistline in three to six inches - hot dam I think
most people will take that - so what's your point? Oh, you say it's not fat. Well, where'd the six inches go? I hope not back inside the body as the organs wouldn't have as much room to navigate.
2. Can a person "spot build?" That's right. Can you work a specific muscle and make it grow larger? Or is it like the "cannot spot reduce theory?" Does the entire body need to grow for an individual muscle to grow, as it supposedly does with fat reduction?
My experience shows that, yes, a person can "spot build." As the late Paul Bragg would say, "Fat can only accumulate on an area of the body where there is the least amount of activity."
By this I guess Bragg understood that fat goes where there's no activity - yet according to the "can't spot reduce' idea - this should not be impossible. If you can't spot reduce, then you shouldn't be able to spot "gain" - as in weight, muscle, fat, or anything else. Yet, most people know, without the aid of a scientific study, that one or all of the above have happened to them sometime in their life.
Sat on my butt at a computer for eight hours a day - butt got fatter. Rest of the body looked the same.
Didn't train my abs - got a lot of fat around the midsection. Rest of the body stayed the same.
Put my leg in a cast, had it removed six weeks later - leg was shriveled to half it's normal size - yet ... rest of the body looked the same.
Went on a diet - lost 50 pounds. Trouble is I lost the weight in my upper body, but my butt and legs are still huge. Sounds like that was a "spot diet" the person was on.
If fat supposedly leaves the body at the same speed all over, and you supposedly cannot spot reduce, then why, when some people lose weight they lose it everywhere but the problem area? Hmmm.
3. You've stated that the person who dropped six inches from the waistline had to be doing "something else' - such as "cardio.' Well, I am certain I can find people who have done cardio, and a lot of it, and not lost weight. Modern gyms are filled with them. Yet, send that same person to lumberjack school for
a few months, have him chop wood for a living - and I'll bet you a Moose steak that he'll look dramatically different afterward. How did that happen without "cardio."
Now, just so you know, like the lumberjack cutting wood, the Farmer Burns Stomach Flattener is actually a full body exercise. While flexing and contracting your abs, you are also working your chest, arms, neck and so on.
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This is a rather momentous e-mail which was the first where I ever heard of Matt's opinions on spot reduction, which is something I have to largely disagree with him on. In THIS e-mail, the logic he uses isn't very good at all I think.
1. More tightly packed, kind of like a natural girdle of muscle. The major point here is that he's ignoring the fact that his noted inches were lost from exercise that did burn calories, but which could have been lost all over his body.
2. Funnily enough, the body does grow much better as a whole unit than as invidual muscles. That's why, in bodybuilding, it's often recommended to start off with heavy duty full-body exercises such as squats and deadlifts and clean and press to build a lot of base strength and mass, with all the other isolation exercises done to build a pleasing shape. It's hilarious that Matt, an advocate of full-body training, uses the idea of the benefits of isolation exercises in building muscle to endorse his views.
Unlike the spot-gaining of MUSCLE, we have no evidence that the spot-gaining of FAT works the same at all. When we work out, we stress the muscles directly. They become larger because the body rebuilds that specific area stronger. We lose muscle in areas we don't exercise because the body naturally draws upon muscle tissue for food when in a catabolic state, most likely sleep. If this area is being used, it doesn't break down, or something like that. That's why 'maintenance' is something done with bodybuilders while they are 'cutting', which is restricting their caloric intake, to minimize any muscle loss occuring during the period of semi-starvation.
It is entirely possible that the body could spot-lose, I guess I just haven't seen it or any evidence for it. Certainly, if the body were going to get it's stores of fat to use for energy, it would be a shorter trip to get it from somewhere nearby. That would only apply if that were before it on the circulatory system though, otherwise if it were nearby but directly behind it, it would have to go through the entire body to get there. So, most likely, the body finds it inefficient to work that way, and probably gets it from everywhere.
He says that without scientific study that we know that one or all of them has happened (all being 'muscle, fat, and everything else'... everything else? like what? veins?) to us. That's true. One being, MUSCLE.
3. Lumberjack chopping is cardio too, and probably a lot more intense than half-assed power-walking or even running or spinning. In addition, they're rather linear, over-focused exercises that use a limited area and range of musculature. The body quickly builds energy-efficency to such things (note that they also never really increase in intensity very much), and thus learns how to use calories more efficiently in doing them, and thus, less of them, burning less fat. Well, that's a theory I recall from somewhere, I should look into actually verifying it. The main problem here though, is that lumberjack chopping is an intense muscular exercise. Lumberjacks are layered in muscle. Muscle burns fat passively. This is why they're small, and honestly... I've seen fat lumberjacks anyway, so the whole analogy kind of sucks. Maybe the lumberjacks Matt met don't eat as much as some others, or perhaps they do exercises other than chopping wood. As for his stomach flattered, I wouldn't call it a whole body exercise at ALL. It does produce tension throughout the body, but hardly any large amount, that's more an effect of the tension radiating out, like it does with any kind of tensing exercise. Making a fist tenses your bicep and chest if you do it hard enough, but hardly as much as a pushup or bench press.