Category Archives for "Spot Reducing"

3 Exercises You Never Have to Do Again after 2012

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Build that Bust

Build that Bust

Ready to leave behind certain moves, memories, and mad moments of 2012? Want to enter 2013 with exercises that are effective and efficient? Say sayonara to the following exercises that are useless at best, injurious at worst. Yes, you have the official Fun and Fit wand wave to refrain forever from certain moves!

Unweighted Arm Circles

We confess – we used to teach air circles ourselves back in the 80s. But they don’t actually work anything effectively. The arm circling exercise really just stresses the shoulder and wrist joints. If you want to target your biceps, triceps, or forearm, you have much better options. Comment below if you want us to make videos showing you those better upper body and arm exercises.


Standing Chest Squeezes, aka “Bust Builders”

We must, we must, we must build up our bust.
For fear, for fear, we won’t fill our brassiere.
Who recognizes that ditty from grade school PE? Did you also have to chant those words while doing chest squeezes, bust builders, or whatever you called them? As an adult have you tried standing pec work with free weights in your hands to strengthen your chest? One problem: the resistance factor is all wonky so there’s no significant pectoral work. All this exercise does is stress your shoulder joint.


Leg Lifts, Fire Hydrant Style

Don’t use this fire hydrant to put out any hot hiney flames! This so-called leg & butt exercise (it isn’t) is a useless exercise unless you want your hip to hurt. Mostly you are getting external hip rotation joint action, which has some value but not as a great glute move. You can do so many other, better exercises for your legs, and tush that don’t depend on low resistance, high repetition wafting through the air.


Click to see more exercises that DON’T work in our YouTube Playlist: Exercise No No’s – Funny, Useless, Parodies and Otherwise

To see exercises that DO work, take a look at a few of our other YouTube Playlists:
Right and Wrong Way to do Exercises
Get Better Posture and Spinal Alignment
Healthy Aging Exercises for Women Over 45

End 2012 with action that will propel you into a more fit 2013:  Subscribe now to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share and subscribe!


3 Things That Do NOT Help You To Get Flat Abs

Guest post from Jonathan Dunsky

Guest poster, Jonathan Dunsky

Our pal, Jonathan Dunsky writes, runs, and reviews diet and exercise info. He asked to reach you, our Fun and Fit readers with his guest post, written especially for this site. While he is giving us the day off, we will be working on our Abs. Maybe…..

The desire to get a flat stomach is something that’s common to men and women everywhere. This is why you can find a variety of products and services that promise to help you get those coveted, sexy abs you’ve always wanted. It’s a market with money and, as in any such market, you can find a lot of useless products and misinformation that may only serve to waste your time and hard earned cash, not to get rid of your stubborn belly fat.

In this post I want to talk about 3 things which DO NOT help you to get flat abs. Once you know about them, you’ll be ready to invest your time and energy into what really works and your chances of getting flat, firm abs will be much greater.

First Culprit – Crunches

According to an article in Men’s Health Magazine, it takes 250,000 crunches to burn a single pound of fat. Let that number sink in for a moment: 250,000.

According to Men's Health Magazine, it takes 250,000 crunches to burn a single pound of fat. Click To Tweet

This means that if you do 500 crunches a day (and I don’t think you should), it will take you 500 days to burn one pound of fat. This is crazy and it goes to show you how ineffective crunches are at burning fat.

The notion that you can burn fat by doing targeted exercises is a false one. It’s called the spot reduction myth. You can’t decide where to burn fat from. Your body burns fat, some of it from your abs and some from other parts. Your goal is to simply burn more fat in total.

The problem with crunches is that they’re not very calorie expensive. This means that you don’t burn a lot of calories (and fat) by doing them. This is why it takes so many crunches to burn so little fat.

So, forget about crunches and sit-ups. They don’t really help you get flat abs.

Second Culprit – Ab Machines

Ab machines are one of the hottest fitness categories that you can find on shopping channels or in sporting goods stores. For instance, the Ab Circle Pro is reported to have sold over 2 million items. Crazy, but it goes to show you how people are desperate to get flat abs.

The problem with ab machines is similar to that of crunches: you can’t burn belly fat by doing targeted ab exercises. The bigger problem is that some of the ab machines cost a lot of money and create such big expectations that disappointment is almost certain.

You can't burn belly fat by doing targeted ab exercises. Click To Tweet

The bottom line is that most ab machines don’t provide a more effective workout than regular abdominal exercises. This is why they are usually a waste of money.

Third Culprit – Ab Belts

These products have long been a mystery to me: I have no idea why anyone would buy them. Back in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission actually charged a few of these companies because their products were promoted with claims that these ab belts can produce the loss of fat or inches or provide the users with well defined abdominal muscles (full report here). Needless to say, these are unsubstantiated claims.

Ab belts can’t help you lose belly fat and they can’t help you lose inches. Physical therapists use them to treat people with severe muscle injuries or weakness. They do not provide sufficient resistance to develop your abdominal muscles or to burn belly fat.

What To Do Instead

If you want to get a flat stomach you need to burn off belly fat. This can only be done with hard work and it does take time. So, stop looking for gimmicks or shortcuts. You need to do total body workouts and intense cardio to get rid of belly fat. It won’t happen overnight, but it’s better to start soon… today even.

You need to do TOTAL BODY workouts and intense cardio to get rid of belly fat. Click To Tweet

Jonathan Dunsky blogs at World Of Diets where he writes about fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle tips for a healthy and fit body.


Get No-Flab, Fab Abs: Part 3

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit

How do I target belly flab?


Target Those Abs

Kymberly: With red paint and a template of concentric circles. Aim for the middle. When you are done with target practice, get fired up! Aerobically, that is, cuz’s it’s calories burning time. In a way, Hannah, you are asking the ever-tempting question: “Can I spot reduce?” In your case, the “spot” starts at the belly button. See our post, Spot Reducing: A Zap-O-Matic Myth. Short answer is “No.” If you want to target ab flab, you have to address overall body fat levels.

Parts 1 and 2 of our Get Fab Abs series had several AWESOME (that’s Twitter talk in case you did not recognize it) ab exercises. Feel free to try those exercises between your cardio workouts. And to give you your full pound of flesh (sounds gross, but that’s Shakespeare for you), give some of these yoga moves a try as they are specifically designed to address the center.

To target ab flab, you have to address overall body fat levels. Click To Tweet

Alexandra: I also like this 3-minute video from My Yoga Online. And, after you move to whatever desert has white sands, a perfectly white yoga mat and a personal drummer, you can ask the drummer to pick up the pace so you can do some cardio. Who knows, Indiana Jones might appear and help you get whipped into a cardio, belly flab burning frenzy!

Oh, Harrison. Whip Me Into Shape!

That is my hot movie celebrity way of saying, “Flab is a four-letter word for ‘fat’ and for that you need cardio & strength-training.” Get rid of the fat on top so you can display the musculature underneath. So….break up with your flab; start dating your abs! Flaunt the fab; fire the flab! Gee, I could make up ginchy little rhymes all day, but then I’d have no time for stalking my friendly visits to Harrison Ford!

Dear Readers: What is your favorite way to burn the flab that covers your abs? (Note: This is not a hint to stick a burning candle in your belly button)

Photo credits: Photobucket


Spot Reducing – A Zap-O-Matic Myth

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: So … is there no spot reducing? as in can’t just do certain areas, right? like it has to be holistic?

Annie, New York

Vintage fat jiggler

Kymberly: Holy holistic, AnnGirl, no spot reducing? Dang it, and I was just about to shake my booty into toned, tight, tushy status. Maybe just another butt squeeze and I’ll zap the fat that may or may not be present, but only my undergarments know for sure. Please, please, please may I have some spot reducing? How about just some reducing … of this persistent myth?

Alexandra: The only spot reducing that works involves a dry cleaner. Otherwise you’d see millions of women shaking their bellies, right?

K: I am the first (well maybe not, but I beat Alexandra to it) to tell you that you can make certain areas look groovier and more holistic through strength training. But any overlying fat would still need to be nuked through overall, whole body, calorically burning cardio for the lean, green, muscle machine to show through. Oh gotta go. My vintage belly fat vibrating machine just arrived.

A: Annie, I do have some good news. You can just do certain areas. Only work the parts below your hair.






Zapping kid on bike



Put a big clip on your hair so it can hold still while the rest of you moves. And don’t forget that holistic means body, mind and spirit. So tone your body, tune your spirit and tame your mind!

Readers: Have you tried to spot-reduce? How’d that work out for ya?

Photo credits: Creative Commons


Back off Back Fat or the Ole’ Lady Gets It

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit:

Yikes!  What do I do for the ole’ lady back????  I have love handles in the back area.  I know I need to lose a few pounds but this is a big problem area for me!!

Terry in Santa Barbara

Back Fat Love Handles

K: Not loving back fat and love handles eh? Trying to get a handle on them, eh? Wanting to get back at your back fat after all these years eh? Think I’m stalling, hoping a good answer will come to me, eh? Well, for a low low price apparently you can buy green tea which will solve all fat problems. I saw it on the internet so it must be true. I think you rub stinky leaves on yourself and food runs away from you. The skinny on back fat is that it’s fat like all other fat. And like all stored fat, you cannot nuke it or spot reduce.You must reduce overall body fat through cardio and resistance training. Where you hold extra insulation is genetically predisposed. So it could be that you are thin-looking everywhere else with your mom and dad having set you up for life with back fat as the preferred storage area.

Now if you want to get a rebate on those green tea leaves, for a medium to high price I will create advice that trains your back fat to move around to the front and enhance your cleavage. Or we can hire someone to stand behind you and shove any back fat forward and up. So Double D-elightful eh?

A: Time for some higher math to create lower fat. One pound of body fat equals 3,500 kcals (calories). To lose one pound of fat, you will have to burn 3,500 kcals. You can do this by eating less and/or moving more. Or you could just drive those extra pounds to a deserted country road and toss them out of the car. Sadly, they have a way of finding their way home! Back to math class–A realistic, sustainable way to get rid of that bad-girl back-fat is to create a 500-kcal deficit per day. 500 kcals X 7 days in a week = 1 pound of fat forever left in the country. That may sound slow, especially if you have more than one pound to lose, but it is still a lot quicker than it took you to put it on, am I right?

K: As you move to caloric deficit and therefore overall fat reduction, spend some dedicated time strength training your upper and middle back muscles. Not only will you develop lean, defined back muscles that will show through once the overall fat is lowered, but also you will no doubt enhance your posture. Good posture always drops a few visual pounds. Key word there was “visual.”

By the way, you can save yourself that lonely country drive Alexandra mentions if you simply give the back fat you found back to the ole’ lady. We’ll back you up that you are too young for old lady fat.

Readers: What is your secret source of fat frustration?  Where is the first place you find fat and the last place you lose it?


Abs, Aging, and the Fountain of Youth

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: K and A:

Hi, I am a 54 year old woman who had been exercising most of my life. I enjoy exercising & eating correctly and I have been fit most of my life until recently. There is this thing called age that is catching up with me. No matter how much I exercise and eat right, I seem to have put on a couple pounds and my mid-section is getting larger (even with doing 200 sit-ups a day). I know it doesn’t help me any that I have fulltime “sit at a desk” job. Can you please tell me what I am supposed to do to help stop this process because I do not want to go up in my clothing size?

Thank you,

Doreen, Santa Barbara CA

K: Tip number one: Do not let age catch up with you. Run faster. Oh wait, with age the knees start to go so running might not be too comfy. And F and F LOVE comfy fitness. And dark chocolate. Tip number two: Retire super early from your full time desk job and do something that requires loads of outdoor activity. We do have our fitness priorities after all!  Then I woke up….

A: You may not like this, but you might have to run faster just to stay in place. TAKE YOUR FINGERS OUT OF YOUR EARS. I KNOW YOU CAN HEAR ME! At 54, the rate at which you burn calories has slowed down, especially if you sit on your Bartleby the Buttolomus (lost Latin term meaning “butt”) most of the day. So, you are not burning the kcals quite as quickly — fat goes up, muscle mass goes down — the roller coaster of your BMR and metabolism goes zooming along. Good news,  you don’t have to be the high bidder for a leftover “Gone With the Wind” corset. You do have to lift those weights a bit more. If you are currently doing strength training, you need to either do it more often or with heavier weights. Increase the cardio — either go longer or harder. And eat less! Shazaam 1, 2, 3.

K: Good news: cut back on the 200 sit ups. Remember, you cannot spot reduce. All the ab crunches in the world are not going to nuke any mid-section fat. You do need to expend calories to prevent fat and weight gain, so Alexandra is right to recommend the combo of cardio and weight training. Oooh, admitting her rightliness did not hurt as much as I thought. Or as much as 200 ab crunches per day with minimal results.

The short version of our advice is boiled down to three plain potatoes: eat fewer calories, or burn more through increased activity, or do both. Full disclaimer: Fun and Fit fully believe that movement is the Fountain of Youth, yet we must acknowledge that the Fountain is fed by “spring-in-the step pure exercise well waters” that require more pumping (iron) as we age.

The super short version of our advice is to say, “the heck with it. I needed a new wardrobe anyway.”  But probably better to pump the Fountain Well.

A: The final words from me: Forget about Mr. (Eating) Right. Go with Mr. (Eating) Less. But marry Mr. (Exercising) Good Enough.

Readers: Were you aware that weight training is part of a good weight-loss program? Have you ever visited the Fountain of Youth?