A Fitness Guide: Focusing on your ‘problem spot’ isn’t going to work

Chris Judd and our health partner AIA Vitality talk about the importance of bettering your overall health. Chris gives us some guidance on what to do and what to avoid. You can read his article below or jump straight to the AIA Vitality website.

Give up on those workouts that promise sculpted abs, says Chris Judd. Instead, focus on your personal goal and watch as your body strengthens and adapts.

We’ve all seen them, those ads for ‘seven-minute abs’. They promise that if we repeat a single exercise often enough, then we’re guaranteed our dream body.

The problem with this kind of approach is it doesn’t fall in line with how the body actually works. Fat in the body gets stored depending on your gender and your genetics, and where you put it on first is generally where you lose it first. That means you can’t spot-reduce fat – you’ll lose it from everywhere.

Think about it: a tennis player doesn’t have any less fat on the arm they hit with than on the arm they don’t hit with. That’s because swinging your arm repeatedly isn’t going to reduce the fat on that arm only.

Go with the bigger picture

Bettering your overall health is, in my opinion, always a better goal to aim for. If you do want to increase your fitness in one area, then you need to make sure your training is appropriate. If you want to be better at footy, you should be doing lots of repeat sprints training as well as hamstring and leg weights. If your goal is to be a better swimmer, you could be doing lots of lap work and some upper body weights.

Know where to focus

If for health reasons you need to lose fat, and you want to do that through resistance training, then focusing on the biggest muscle groups in the body – your glutes, quads, or leg muscles – is the best approach. Building these muscles gives you a higher metabolic rate, meaning you’re more likely to lose fat while building muscle.

Support your body

Weight training is so important when it comes to giving your body the chance to look and perform its best. In fact, the importance of having muscle strength as we get older is imperative.

Forget the stereotypes – weight training isn’t just for muscle-bound guys bulking for a summer music festival. A whole host of people in society would benefit greatly from some weight training.

Muscle mass is vital for long-term health

As we age, keeping our muscles healthy and strong makes all the difference in the fight against cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes. Particularly if you have hypermobile joints or arthritic joints, having muscle bulk and strength around that joint reduces the stress placed on it, because the muscle does more of the heavy lifting. If you’re a runner and suffer from tearing calves or Achilles tendon injuries, then strengthening your calves can help.

I have serious arthritis in my shoulders, but unless I do exercises or movements that require a lot of range then my pain is minimal because I have enough muscle bulk to support those joints.

We need to be realistic: hitting the gym or the park or the mat to make your body perform better is a good thing. But doing ab exercise after ab exercise in the belief that if you do enough you’ll achieve the shape and weight you want isn’t a valuable use of your time.

Focusing on your core areas and strengthening your body overall will not only help your metabolic rate, but will support your joints so that you can keep on hitting your personal best. Six pack or no six pack.

Chris Judd is a former AFL footballer and twice winner of the Brownlow Medal.

It’s my job to work as my client’s financial ‘lifesaver’ to ensure that they swim between the flags and that they don’t get in over their heads.