How to Lose Fat from your Problem Areas

Problem Areas

Everyone has problem areas; you know those areas that seem to accumulate fat more than other areas in your body. For many people, those areas are the first places you gain fat when you gain weight and the last places you lose fat when you lose weight, which is why they are such a problem. There are a ridiculous number of pills, powders, exercise products, diets, etc. all promising to make fat from your problem areas disappear, often in as little as 4 to 6 weeks. Of course, this is all just marketing hype to sell what are usually disappointing products that sound much better than they actually are.

If these products really worked, practically everyone would have their ideal body, but having a great body is never as simple as just taking a supplement or using an exercise product for a few weeks. I would like to be able to tell you that there is some magical nutritional program you can follow or a secret new exercise you can use to make fat from your problem areas go away, but the reality is not that exciting. The good news is that you can lose fat from your problem areas, but the best way to get to those areas does not involve a specific exercise, workout, or even a specific eating program.

Eating right and exercising are both critical for developing a great body, but the key to losing fat from those stubborn areas is being consistent with your nutrition and exercise program. This may sound overly simplistic, but it is the most effective way and I will explain why. I should also point out that while this is technically a simple approach, it is generally a challenge for most people to do well.

First, being consistent does not mean being good for a couple of weeks and then taking a week off. Taking an on and off approach may get you some decent results, especially at the beginning, but it is not effective for attacking your problem areas. To really make progress with your most stubborn fat retaining areas, you have to keep up with your healthy eating and exercise habits over the long run and not just in spurts.

If you are like most people, your problem areas are probably near the center of your body (stomach, hips, etc.) When trying to lose fat from these areas the most common scenario involves the vast majority of the initial fat loss coming from your extremities (arms and legs). Then as fat loss continues, since there is less fat to lose in your extremities, a higher percentage of fat loss will start occurring in areas towards the center of your body.

This may sound strange, but think of fat loss like a big loan, where your problem areas are the principal you owe and the rest of your fat is the interest. When you start paying off your loan, almost all of your initial payments go towards the interest (various fat stores around your body). Then after a while, you start making some progress on the principal (your problem areas). As time progresses, you make more significant progress on the principal and eventually you pay it off (have the body fat level you want).

Of course the problem with the loan analogy is it assumes you make all your payments every month or in health and fitness terms, you have to continue exercising and eating right all the time. There are also other factors, such as age, genetics, and various health issues that affect your ability to lose fat. However, as far as the way fat is lost from problem areas, the analogy is pretty accurate.

The challenge that most people have, myself included, is being good all the time. Just remember the more consistently you do the right things, the faster you will lose fat from those troublesome areas. On the other hand, when you stray from eating well and exercising, you can negate the previous progress you made and actually add to the time it takes to lose fat from your problem areas.

Since problem areas tend to accumulate fat easier than other areas in the body, when you overeat or stop exercising, there is a decent chance that some fat gain will occur in your problem areas, even if most of your recent fat loss was from other areas. It’s not uncommon for people to go through periods where they do well and lose fat from one area (arms) and then stray from their nutrition or exercise program and end up gaining even more fat in their problem areas. When you lose weight from one area of your body, it does not mean that is where you will gain it back.

This may not seem right, but the fact is that some areas of your body will accumulate fat more consistently than other areas and that is exactly why those areas are such a problem. To make real progress in your problem areas, you have to minimize or ideally eliminate the times and amounts you slip from your program. Of course, sometimes this cannot be avoided, such as when you get sick, but still make an effort to do your best as often as possible and eventually your problem areas will be a thing of the past.

(Visited 92 times, 1 visits today)
About Ross Harrison 14 Articles

Hi, my name is Ross Harrison and I am a personal trainer in Austin, TX. I have been a certified personal trainer (NSCA) since 1996 and I am also a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), nutritional consultant, and I have completed numerous other courses and certifications over the years. I also have a degree in psychology from Grinnell College. Over the course of my career I have been an independent personal trainer working with  clients in their homes or various other locations, as well as a trainer at a large gym. I also have experience working in a privately owned health food store  and a large chain supplement store.

After almost a decade in the health and fitness industry, I became frustrated and discouraged by the way many personal trainers and gyms were so focused on making money, even at the expense of their client’s success. As a result, I decided the only way for me to feel good about being a personal trainer would be to start my own business. That way I could create my own policies and make sure I stayed true to what I believe a personal trainer should  be. Then in 2005, I did just that when I started my personal training business called Precision Health & Fitness.

I chose to name my business Precision Health & Fitness, because it accurately reflects the approach I take as a personal trainer. I believe personal training should be completely focused on the client and since every person is different, every program should be precisely designed to reflect that individual’s specific goals, needs, abilities, and lifestyle. I know many
personal trainers say this, but more and more trainers are just repeating the same programs with numerous clients or using tools, such as computer programs,  to self-generate “custom” workouts or nutritional programs for their clients. In my mind these are examples of mass-produced training programs, not personal training.

I also feel that many conventional personal training practices, such as making clients sign contracts, not allowing refunds for purchased sessions, and even paying by the hour, ultimately take the focus off the client’s needs. Therefore, I made the conscious decision to stay away from any policy or practice that I felt detracted from focusing on my clients, even though other people have told me I am limiting my income or discounting the value of my services too much.

For example, my clients pay session prices instead of an hourly rate. This may not sound like a big difference, but it means I can spend more time with my clients when they need it. Many of the people I work with are just starting to exercise or have never been taught proper exercise technique. By having a set time limit on my sessions, I can take the extra time to ensure my clients learning to perform exercises correctly. This not only ensures their safety, but also leads to more effective workouts and better long-term results. Of course, if a client has a set schedule or a limited amount of time, then I will make sure the workouts I create fit those time constraints.

Another benefit of not having timed sessions is it gives clients the opportunity to talk or ask questions about health and fitness or their workout routine. I have never been a big fan of trainers who take the “do it because I said so” approach to health and fitness. I encourage clients to ask questions and I believe that becoming more educated about exercise and nutrition and
learning how your actions affect your results is an important component of health and fitness programs. By making a link between your actions and your results, it will help motivate you to stick to your  program.

This is just one example of how I my business is focused my clients, but there are also other ways Precision Health & Fitness stands out from other trainers and gyms. For instance, I do not have clients sign contracts and they are free to discontinue their training program at any time. I even let my clients determine their own payment plan, which they can change at any time.
Some clients pay for a number of sessions in advance, some pay after each session, and some pay after they have completed a number of sessions. It is all about trying to make things as easy and convenient for my clients as  possible.

That is not to say the workouts themselves are easy, because every workout is designed to be challenging, so it will create a stimulus for improvement. At the same time, I never design workouts that are designed to make  people stiff and sore for a week or have trouble walking up stairs. I know some  people like those workouts because they think the harder they work, the better  their results will be, but that is only true up to a point. It is definitely  possible to exercise too hard or too much and excessively challenging workouts  are almost always counterproductive over the long-run.

When you really think about it, shouldn’t long-term health and fitness improvements be the goal of a personal training program? I believe that it certainly is, although I know there are people who would disagree with me. However, for the people who just want to push themselves as hard as possible regardless of the long-term consequences, there is not shortage of personal trainers who are willing to do just that. My background and personal experiences  have made me believe that long-term health and success should never be sacrificed for short-term gain and that is the philosophy I apply to my personal  training programs.

Speaking of my background and personal experiences, exercise and nutrition have both been very important parts of my life since I was young. When  I was seven, I developed a serious hip infection that destroyed the femur head  (ball that connects to the hip) in my right leg and left me with a fused right  hip. At the time I was told there was almost no chance that I would ever
walk again, but by working hard and keeping up with my exercises, I was able to regain the ability to walk and eventually allowed to play most sports and participate in almost any other activity I wanted.

However, even with continued exercise, I still experienced hip pain that increased over the years. Then when I was 30 I was finally old enough to get a total hip replacement, which resulted in an almost complete reduction in my pain, but I was also left with a new set of restrictions. Since hip replacements  wear out over time, it means the more stress I put on my hip by doing things  like playing sports or running, the sooner I will need a new hip replacement.  Needless to say, my activities have drastically changed since my hip replacement  and I no longer play sports, but I still exercise regularly to remain healthy  and stay in shape.

As for nutrition, it has played an equally important role in my life. When I was younger, I had very unhealthy eating habits, was overweight (or husky  as my clothes were called), constantly felt run down, and got sick frequently.  By the time I was 18 I was trying to eat healthier, but I had already caused my  body and immune system enough distress to be hospitalized for
pneumonia and I  developed a bad case of ulcerative colitis, which is an incurable intestinal  condition where treatment involves just trying to keep it in remission. Simply  put, I had a lot of health issues for a teenager.

Fortunately for me, I became more educated about nutrition and I made eating healthier a priority in my life. My improvements were not immediate, but over time my energy level increased and my immune system improved to the point where I rarely ever get sick anymore. Also I have been able to keep my ulcerative issues to a minimum just by eating healthy (it is generally kept in remission through medication) and by working on managing my stress level. Due to  my improved nutritional habits, I can easily say that I am far healthier and feel much better in my mid 30’s than I ever did as a teenager.

The reason I included all this information is because it explains what motivates me as a trainer and why I care so much about health and fitness. My personal history has also shaped my training philosophy and it is the reason why I always focus on the long-term outcome of a training program, instead just thinking about short-term improvement. It is also why I try to get people to shift their priority from what they can do to look better and think more about what they can do to make their body feel better throughout their lifetime.

If you eat healthy, exercise properly, and do other things that make your body feel better, you will be doing the same things you need to make your body look better. On the other hand, if your sole focus is on making your body look better, it does guarantee that your training program will make your body feel better years down the road. Workout programs that cause you to perform
exercises incorrectly, use poor posture, or develop muscle imbalances can still result in you looking better, but they can also lead to premature muscle and joint aches and pains years later.

It is completely natural to be focus on the present and the immediate future, but people frequently do not think enough about how they want their body  to feel in 20 or 30 years down the road, at least not until they start developing some health related problems. Personal training success is often measured my how much weight is lost or how much muscle is gained, but I believe that is not the best way to think about success. Even if you lose fat, if you are frequently sore or in pain, I would not consider that to be successful, except maybe if you are a competitive athlete or someone who is required to push  your body to the limit.

Personal training and health and fitness in general, should be about creating a better overall quality of life and not only about looking better. Of course, looking better is almost always a primary goal, but it should not the only focus of a program. I know from first hand experience how much of a positive impact a well-designed exercise and nutrition program can have on virtually every aspect of your life. All too often, people accept aches and pains as normal consequences of aging, but in most cases you can make a significant improvement in how you feel.

I want to leave you with a final thought, regardless of your current situation, you are capable of improvement and you probably capable of achieving much more than you might think. I wish you success in all your health and  fitness endeavors and please contact me at  or (512) 537-3377 if you have any comments or questions.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.