You’re about half right. :) I’ll try to clear it up!
(P.S - keep in mind that our ‘problem’ areas are only about as big a problem as we make them to be. If you’re concerned that your thighs are touching/a.k.a. are ‘gapless’, keep in mind that it’s normal for thighs to touch. Thigh gaps are determined by how wide set a person’s hip bones are and whether or not their body collects fat in that area. It’s not a flaw, but gapped thighs are highly glamorized…. and highly altered in photos. Athletes, models, celebrities - even very thin ones - all may have thighs that touch. And love handles. And cellulite. And that’s normal.)
Workouts that ‘target’ specific areas (a.k.a. muffin top workouts, inner thigh workouts etc) will strengthen those muscles, build endurance etc. What they won’t do is allow those muscles to show, at least not on their own. While you can gain strength, you won’t necessarily lean out with targeted workouts. That’s all about body fat percentage.
To reduce fat in any given area, we need to reduce our body fat percentage overall. There’s no way to target any one area: we lose fat at the same rate everywhere. Fat loss (note: not necessarily weight loss) is all about diet (not A diet, but rather eating cleaner), metabolism (keeping our bodies in an efficient fat burning state: when we starve ourselves or overtrain, our bodies lower metabolism and store, not burn, fat easily), and eating at reasonable levels to maintain/reduce the amount of fat in our bodies. Having more muscle in your body does burn slightly more fat when we’re at rest (which is why training our backs, upper body and other neglected areas often results in a slim down everywhere), but unless you’re also working on eating cleaner & maintaining your metabolism, it’s not enough to reduce body fat percentage significantly.
DEEP ENDS & SHALLOW ENDS
As I mentioned, we lose fat at the exact same rate everywhere on our bodies. That means you can’t remove fat from ONE area and not others: it gets removed at the same rate everywhere. So why do some areas seem to slim down faster, while some lag behind?
Women have what I like to call ‘deep ends’ and ‘shallow ends’. These spots are different for all of us (more variety in women than in men - most men collect their fat around their middle). One woman might collect her fat in her thighs & butt, but has an easier time losing it in her belly. Another might collect it in her arms & belly, while her legs seem to never be anything but slim. Ankles, backs, boobs, thighs, necks etc. Some women are even all over: everything gets bigger or smaller at the same rate.
Deep ends have more fat cells and shallow ends have less. Fat cells get bigger or smaller at the same rate everywhere, but if you have more cells in one area, you’ll see changes slower there. You might have less fat cells in your arms, and see changes there first. You may have more fat cells in your thighs, and will see changes there last.
Think about it as though you’re emptying a pool. Even though a steady rate of water drains out, the shallow end will empty first. My shallow ends are my chest, arms, back and boobs: when I lose or gain fat, those are the areas where I see changes first. The deep ends take longer to empty, and sometimes need more tweaking than the shallow ends. My deep ends are my belly & booty. It takes a little more work for me to reduce the fat there.
5 Ways To Reduce Body Fat A Bit Faster
1. By eating cleaner. More veggies, more lean protein. Less sugar, less processed foods. I’m cool with grains, but reducing overall carb intake will help (usually something you can accomplish by reducing sugar and processed foods). You don’t need to go all out - a few changes here and there can help considerably. Don’t get overwhelmed. It’s not all or nothing, and you can make more changes as you go. If today you ate better than yesterday, but not ‘perfectly’, you’re already on the right track. Back pattin’ time.
2. Burning more than we’re consuming… but keeping our metabolism high. That means EATING. The body will STORE - not BURN - fat if you’re not feeding it enough in general (hence why someone on a diet that’s too restrictive may not see the changes they “should”). The bod needs fat for survival. Muscle is expendable. If you notice weight gain when you’re eating what would be considered a normal amount , you may have shot your metabolism: your focus should be on slowly working it back up to where it should be. Get enough, eat often, eat cleaner. Don’t starve.
3. Boosting the amount of muscle we have in our bodies ALL over. That means hitting ALL the muscle groups, not just the ones you want to target. Lean, mean muscle burns fat when we’re just chillin, and the more we have, the better. No, I’m not talking body builder stuff (which has a LOT to do with diet by the way. 10lb weights will NOT make you huge). Muscle groups women often neglect: our backs, our shoulders/arms & our chests. HUGE fat burning potential, just sittin’ there. Grab it. Even just a few times a week. Working muscle groups you often ignore is a recipe for a fat burning bonanza: it may be just what you need to help reduce fat elsewhere.
Too much steady state cardio may not burn fat as efficiently as you think. To really get your body fat down, you NEED to be strength training/interval training a few times a week. Muscle cannibalization is common with runners: they literally run the muscle right off of them, putting them in a position to gain/keep more body fat overall. Make sure you’re training to keep the muscles you have, and boost the muscles you don’t train often.
4. SLEEP. This one’s not as ‘easy’ as people think, and something many struggle with, especially busy peeps. When we’re tired, we tend to snack more and not usually on the healthy stuff (it’s not just willpower - cravings are often a mechanism our bodies use to keep us going against the odds). Getting enough sleep keeps fat-storing hormones at bay, reduces cravings and gives us more energy…which translates to more movement throughout the day and more oomph in our workouts.
5. Adding high intensity intervals to your workouts. Not only can this shorten your workout time DRASTICALLY, but you’ll be burning more fat for the next 48 hours. Short spurts of high intensity, followed by moderate/low intensity ‘recovery’. Example: A 30 second sprint, followed by a 60 second walk/jog and repeated 10 times. Training like this 2-3 times a week instead of steady state cardio can boost your results.
There is a LIMIT to how much fat we can lose: if your body is happiest with a higher body fat percentage, you may have a rough time getting it lower without sacrificing your body’s needs. Make sure you stay realistic & loving to your body. It’s the only one you have, and it’s kinda awesome.
Hope this helps! (Best inner thigh exercises? Lunges, jumping lunges, squats, single leg squats and single leg deadlifts. Add weights or instability and you’re good to go! Bonus? They work multiple muscle groups at the same time and can have a cardio effect. More muscles engaged + cardio = fat burning awesome).