Blog for those who want a no-nonsense workout and strive to eat sensibly.

Why Fat Stores Are Stubborn

Generally, the first place your body stores excess fat is the last place it leaves.

If that's not an entirely accurate statement, you can't prove it wrong by the millions of dieters with stubborn fat deposits that never seem to go away. Some are lucky to reduce fat stores proportionately throughout the body. But most of us are afflicted with stubborn areas.

Toned, shapely arms – as well as all areas of the body – contain lean tissue that includes muscle along with fat stores. Since there’s no such thing as spot reduction, if you want definition in an area you likely have fat issues. You probably have fat cells in your problem area that simply will not release their fat. One theory is that there are small molecules on the surfaces of fat cells called alpha and beta receptors.

(More interesting information about these receptors is below in a couple of Youtube videos, discussing the hormone leptin. What we're discussing here is why you lose fat first in one area of the body or another. The Youtube videos feature Daniel Pompa, DC., who may be able to solve the mystery as to why you fail to lose significant body fat whatsoever).

Alpha & Beta Receptors

Alpha receptors stimulate fat accumulation and the beta receptors stimulate fat breakdown. While each fat cell has both receptors, one dominates the other. Women tend to have fat cells on their hips and thighs that have predominantly alpha receptors, which means they tend to accumulate fat. It's important to be aware of the fallacy of so-called spot reduction, so that you put your effort into high quality exercises that increase the body's total muscle mass. A pound of muscle in your latissimus dorsi is just as likely to burn fat off your waistline as would a thousand abdominal crunches. Remember, our goal is to increase total muscle mass throughout the body. Wasting time on one area will not be productive.

Strength training causes glycogen depletion. During the 36 to 48 hours after a workout, your body accesses fat stores to make more blood sugar to store in muscles (muscle glycogen). This process removes insulin sensitivity from the the cell membrane, the cell can uptake that blood sugar that comes from the fat stores. That's how we continually burn fat after the workout.    

What to expect

During the research studies for this program the average woman added almost four pounds of muscle to her body. This extra muscle mass raised each participant's fat-burning metabolism. It also improved her physical appearance. And most importantly, building muscle increased her probability of keeping the fat off permanently.

Men can do even better, simply because they're generally bigger to start with.

The reduction in circumference inches, incidentally, is more dramatic than the numbers on the scale. In just six weeks a woman can easily drop three dress/pants sizes!

Do not underestimate the importance of building muscle to burn fat. It works in a very dramatic fashion.

Fix cell receptors Dr. Pompa proposes

The hormone leptin was identified decades ago as a key to shedding fat. But many struggle continually with dropping excess weight. Daniel Pompa, DC, who you'll see on these two videos, has a wealth of information we'll be unfurling in coming weeks, information that can improve your health (perhaps) well beyond fat loss.

"Hormone conditions are an epidemic," Dr. Pompa told Tasso Kiriakes on his Central Florida radio show a couple of weeks back. "But it's not the lack of hormones that's the problem, it's the receptors to those hormones. The receptors are on the cell membrane; that's what ultimately we have to fix."

Fix the cell to get well. Let Dr. Pompa explain:

In the following video (wish the audio was a little clearer), Dr. Pompa discusses effective strength-training exercise for fat loss:


The long-term

"When you do high-intensity traning," Dr. Pompa said, "your testosterone, and all the hormones that you need for fat burning and to fix these cell membranes actually go up. You actually become a fat burner for instead of the half hour or an hour that you're doing the exercise you become a fat burner for a day or two, so 36 hours or even up to 48 hours you're burning fat."

He advocates resistance training and cardio that is done in a "burst" -- sprinting a maximum speed for about 45 seconds (90 percent of maximum heart rate), then 2 or 3 minutes of rest before another burst. Three or four cycles can be completed in 10 o 12 minutes.

Actually, the cardio modality doesn't have to be running, it has to be all-out intense effort on a cycle, elliptical or whatever device. Just do it like a sprinter and not a marathoner.

The purpose is to generate glycogen depletion in the muscles that the body then replenishes.

"Would you rather be burning fat when you're on the treadmill for a half hour, or would you rather burn fat when you're home watching TV on your couch the next day?" Dr. Pompa asks.

A key to keeping your lost fat off is your muscle-fat ratio, since muscle is your glycogen depot. The Fat-to-Muscle Makeover program provides the necessary guidelines and follow-up on how to stabilize your muscle-fat ratio at the optimum level for the rest of your life.

"The program taught me how to be in control," said one of the successful research participants, "in control of my eating, exercising, and total life-style. I'll never be fat again!"

Being in control does not mean that you are restricted by what you can and can not eat for the rest of your life. It means that you can now eat anything you want – in moderation and with certain short-range adjustments.

An understanding of this concept, building muscle to burn fat, is the initial step in reshaping your body. You want to improve your muscle-to-fat ratio – adding muscle while reducing fat. This is the approach that will lead you to becoming FIRM & FIT.    

Knowing your body fat percentage can give a unique insight into your diet, lifestyle and exercise goals. High levels of body fat are linked with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Likewise, too little body fat can disrupt basic body function upsetting body temperature, the storing of vitamins and the proper cushioning of major organs. Understanding your correct level of body fat, combined with regular measurement, will help balance your eating and the necessary levels of exercise.

For a body fat test you can preform at home, go to

Home body fat test.


Please Note: The information presented herein is given in good faith and is to the best of our knowledge accurate. However, anyone using the information in any way does so entirely at their own risk. Buckhead Personal Training cannot accept any responsibility for any damage or injury incurred as a result of using this information.  

If you are in any doubt about your health or fitness you should visit your doctor and advise them of your intentions. Remember, by starting exercise you are making a long term commitment to your health and well being. Taking time to prepare yourself, and seeking advice before commencing, will ensure you gain the maximum of benefit and enjoyment from your exercise.

– TD Duschinski

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