South African Bodybuilding and Fitness

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By Bigfitness
To better understand why belly fat hangs on so tenaciously, I want to quickly review how your body actually “burns” fat.

“Burning fat” is really a two-part process: releasing energy from fat stores into the blood (lipolysis) and cells taking those molecules in and utilizing them (oxidation).

This first step, lipolysis, is triggered by chemicals known as “catecholamines.” Adrenaline is a catecholamine, for example, and once these chemicals are in your blood, they attach to “receptors” (attachment sites) on fat cells, which causes them to release some of their energy stores.

These molecules so released (free fatty acids) are then used as fuel (burned or “oxidized”) by various types of cells in the body. Well-trained muscle is particularly good at oxidizing fats, by the way, which is why it’s easier to lose fat when you have a good amount of muscle.

Now, here’s where we get to the difference between belly fat cells and fat cells that are easier to lose.

Fat cells have a certain number of receptor sites for catecholamines, but they aren’t all the same. One type of receptor is known as an “alpha-2″ receptor, and another is a “beta-3″ receptor. The physiology gets pretty complicated, but here’s the bottom line: beta-3 receptors accelerate lipolysis, and alpha-2 receptors hinder it.

What this means is fat cells that have more beta-3 receptors than alpha-2s are relatively easy to mobilize, whereas fat cells that have more alpha-2 receptors than beta-3s are harder to mobilize.

This is the problem with belly fat, and all other forms of “stubborn fat“: the ratio between beta-3 and alpha-2 receptors is heavily weighted toward alpha-2 receptors (it has many more alpha-2 receptors than beta-3).

Thus, when you’re losing fat, you immediately start seeing reductions in fat masses with high amounts of beta-3 receptors, but the masses with amounts of alpha-2 receptors are slow to respond.

For most of us, this means rapid reductions in places like our arms, shoulders, chest, face, and legs, and slower reductions in our stomachs, hips, lower back, and thighs. These latter areas are always the last to really get lean, because they contain the most fat cells high in alpha-2 receptors.
By Dodgyfeas
I just want to add the following:

Toning along with cardiovascular work will speed up and improve the process, but don't think that you only need to work on your abs. Fat Spot Reduction.... This is another grave misconception. The truth is that when you work all the larger muscle groups, adding more mass to your muscles, you rev up your metabolism to heights it has never before reached.

Your muscles need extra calories to maintain themselves, so more of the food you eat will be feeding your muscles instead of your trouble spots. Your conditioned heart (from the cardiovascular stuff) is more effective at burning calories as well, so you have the golden combination there.

As the fat comes off your body, it will come off your belly. Your body fat is like one organ, located throughout your body, and you can't take it off of just one spot unless you have liposuction done.

Always work your abs at the end of your workout. There's a good reason for this. You are indirectly using them for all the other exercises you do.

The abs are important stabilizer muscles that keep your form in check. If you do abs first, you will tire them out, and your whole workout will be less than optimal. Work down from the largest to the smallest muscles.
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By BigMass
Your body starts storing fat around your hips, thighs & essential organs(belly area). Once these places start to get hefty, your body then moves outwards towards your arms and feet. If you are at the point where you are storing lots of fat in your arms then when you burn calories, your body will take it from heavily favor fat in your arms rather than your belly fat. (This has something to do with protecting and/or warming your vital organs in the event of disaster) This is why if you start an intense running program, the first place you will start to lose fat is in your arms and lower legs.

Eventually, if you continue an intense running program, that weight will start to come off of shoulders and thighs. Finally, once all of the remote fat stores are depleted, your body will start using the fat around your vitals(belly).

Your body stores fat using a F-I-L-O algorithm. (First In Last Out). An analogy: If you were to stack 10 papers, in order to get the first paper off of the stack, you would have to remove the top 9 papers. In other words, if you want to get at the belly fat, you have to attack your whole body mass % as a whole.

It is impossible to "Target" belly fat. If someone told you they did a bunch of crunches and they got a flat stomach, its because of the calories they burnt, not because their stomach got amazingly strong. Having a six pack is about low body fat, not super big stomach muscles.

Source: I was a PT instructor in the military and this is the methodology a PHD sports physiologist explained to me that I should use in order to fight obesity in the military(higher than civilian rate).

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