Problem areas

Fix your problem areas correctly and sustainably without unnecessary effort, plus valuable tips for working out different parts of the body—in short: everything you need to achieve your dream body.

Fight problem areas

Fight problem areas - Achieve success with the right workout!

man and woman in sportswear on top of a mountain giving a high five

Belly, legs, and buttocks are the number one problem areas for women—men, on the other hand, tend to fight the beer belly. Regardless of whether you are a man or a woman, almost everyone has their own problem area where the fat remains particularly stubborn. For example, you may be doing a particularly intense abdominal workout to reduce fat on your belly, but—despite your efforts— are not seeing any success. Why is that?

Where your body stores fat is partly genetically determined, but neurotransmitters and hormones, for example, play an equally important role. That means exercise, nutrition, stress, and your basic lifestyle are also strong influencing factors.

Neurotransmitters:Neurotransmitters are your body’s messenger substances. The task of the neurotransmitters is to transmit information between nerve cells within the synapses. As long as there is a balance between the various neurotransmitters in the brain, there are no difficulties. But as soon as this balance gets unsteady, it can cause fatigue, concentration difficulties, and other problems, which in turn can lead to metabolic disorders—so that problem areas arise. Your own lifestyle is particularly responsible for an imbalance of the neurotransmitters. Stress, excessive demands at work, multitasking, and being constantly active, can make you neglect relaxation so that the synaptic information flow suffers. In addition, being overstressed often goes hand in hand with an unhealthy diet, and not enough sleep or exercise—factors that additionally impair the flow of information.

Can you target fat loss in specific problem areas?

At first glance, it makes sense that you can target fat loss through exercises that target the parts of your body where you wish to reduce fat. However, this is a common misconception because you cannot target fat loss by working out specific places. Even with targeted exercises, fat deposits are reduced throughout the entire body. This means you have no control over where your body breaks down fat first. It is therefore important that you work out your entire body. You don’t know how to do it best? Get our free workout plans for all muscle groups to get started now. Unfortunately, fat accumulates at in your problem areas first as you gain weight and disappears from these last when you lose weight. The most effective approach is to build muscle on targeted parts of the body. For this reason, the right workout is still important for fixing your problem areas. In addition, strength exercises are also good for losing weight throughout your entire body—and keeping it off long term. The more muscles you have, the more energy your body uses, and the more calories you burn—even at rest.

False True
“If you do sit-ups every day, you will get a six-pack.” “Regular strength training shapes your body and makes problem areas appear firmer.”
“Only cardio helps burn fat.” “Fat deposits shrink when calorie intake lowers and exercise amount remains consistent.”
” You can target fat loss in specific problem areas” “Fat deposits shrink when calorie burn increases through exercise and calorie intake remains consistent.”

Problem zone workout

two women working out

Unfortunately, your genes, neurotransmitters, hormones and various other influencing factors determine where your body breaks down fat first— not your workout. In most cases, however, this does not mean that you cannot change your proportions, for example by reducing your weight. A beer belly or thick legs are therefore not life sentences, but rather will adapt with the rest of the body to the new circumstances after losing weight. In between, however, is a stage in which the body has already lost fat, but the musculoskeletal system is still catching up to the changes. For this reason, the body initially appears incorrectly proportioned. A calorie deficit alone will not immediately wipe out your problem areas. But no matter whether you want to lose weight or not, you can build muscles in parallel with targeted strength training exercises and visibly tone your curves, or define your body. However, don’t just concentrate on one part of the body, but also work on other muscle groups. One-sided training leads to an inconsistent overall picture and can even trigger health problems due to a muscular imbalance. For example, if you only train your stomach and neglect your back muscles, you can cause back problems due to the imbalance. Find out what the most common strength training mistakes are and why you may not be able to achieve success even though you exercise regularly. Therefore, although the body cannot break down fat locally, fixing specific problem areas is possible.

“The more muscles the body has, the more energy it burns – even while sleeping.”

Cardio or strength training?

You’ve decided that you want to be the best version of yourself and fight your problem areas? But what is the fastest way to reach your goal? Cardio or strength training?

You burn calories with both types of exercise. How many you burn depends on the pace, intensity, and length of the workout, as well as your existing muscle mass and your current fitness level. Due to the various influencing factors, strength training and cardio are difficult to compare in terms of which burns more calories. Weight loss alone isn’t enough to get your body into the right shape. The decisive advantage of strength training is the combination of high-intensity peaks with rests—this helps you, especially if you are a beginner, to keep going for longer and push yourself harder—and you burn more calories. You have to challenge your body to see a change intensive strength training promotes the muscle growth that is necessary to tone and shape problem areas. Also, the development of muscle mass is essential to increase your calorie burn at rest. Muscle is metabolically active tissue, which means it needs more energy than fat in everyday tasks and even when sleeping. As a result, muscle increases your basic caloric needs so that your body burns more calories without even exercising.

“What doesn’t challenge you won’t change you.”

Intensive exercise initially stresses your body. This means that after intensive exercise, your body needs energy to repair minimal injuries to the muscle and tendon structures, as well as tiny tears and stretches. This may sound radical and counterproductive at first, but these minor injuries are actually necessary to make the body stronger later. Through the stimulus of strength exercises, your body identifies its potential weak points and adapts itself accordingly, so that exercise-related weakening does not occur again in the future—the adaptation takes the form of muscle growth. It’s best to combine strength training with endurance sessions: muscles are the basis of a toned and defined body, while endurance training helps you to burn more calories and thus free your muscles of excess fat.

Problem area workouts: belly, butt, and legs

You will find countless tips and tricks on the internet and in various magazines to make the typical female problem areas—stomach, butt, and legs—look better. The problem with such articles is that most promise maximum results with little effort. The widespread stereotype that women are less capable of and keen on vigorous exercise is absolute nonsense.

Aesthetically pleasing stomach, butt, and legs are made up of two components:

  1. Slim = low body fat percentage
  2. Toned = defined muscle mass

So what you need to do to optimize your problem areas depends on your current body condition. Want to know more? Then read the articles on abs, butt, and leg training.

Do you currently have a lot of fat on your stomach, thighs, and buttocks?

  • Then you should focus on body fat reduction! You will not be able to show off your hard work if your muscles are covered by a layer of fat.

You cannot target fat loss on your stomach, butt, or legs either. Therefore, you should combine your strength and cardio workouts with a suitable nutrition plan.

Do you currently have thin legs and a flat, sagging bottom?

When building muscle, you should also pay attention to getting the right nutrients. You can use our free BMI calculator to calculate your exact need for the various nutritional values and your optimal weight. A sufficient amount of protein is essential for your muscles to grow.

Top myths about building muscle for women

  1. “Lightweight lifting and bodyweight workouts are just as effective in building muscle as heavy weights.”
    This is not true, because muscle building works no differently for women than for men. For the muscle to grow, you must train with at least 60% of the weight that you could lift maximally.
  2. “If I exercise with heavy weights, I will look like a man.” The fear of developing too much muscle mass is absolutely unjustified, because due to a lower testosterone level, it is extremely difficult for women to build up a lot of muscle mass. If you do develop too much muscle for your taste, it won’t happen overnight, so you can adjust your workout accordingly.

Read more about muscle building for women.

Belly problem area: How do you lose the annoying belly fat?

Upfit lose belly fat unhealthy fat

It is estimated that more than 40% of men and woman have excess belly fat. For men, this is often the beer belly whereas for women it is the annoying love handles on the hips and lower stomach. A flat stomach is part of the beauty ideal in the western world but it is particularly difficult to achieve. It would be great if these this extra belly fat would just melt off, but unfortunately there is no quick fix. So how can this goal be achieved?

Visceral fat vs. subcutaneous fat

Subcutaneous fat Visceral fat
Sits directly under the skin and is subdivided by membranes of fibrous tissue. Surrounds the organs.
Can be seen and felt easily from the outside. Subcutaneous fat is responsible for heat insulation and energy storage in the body and can be several centimeters thick. Visceral fat can be neither seen, felt, nor touched. You can even look slim but have accumulated an unhealthy amount of visceral fat. But if you have stored a lot of extra visceral fat, you will also see this externally, because it will bulge your belly outwards.
It is harmless in a normal amount. It can be dangerous, especially when you can look healthy on the outside, but still suffer from the negative effects of visceral fat on the inside.

Belly fat can be dangerous

Reducing belly fat is not only beneficial from an aesthetic point of view but often also for medical reasons. Visceral belly fat—the fat in the abdomen that pushes the abdomen forward—is particularly dangerous because it surrounds the important organs such as the liver, stomach, and intestines. It also releases both inflammatory messenger substances and hormones and these increase blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood lipid levels, so that the body’s metabolism changes. Several factors influence the increase or decrease in visceral fat:

  • Genes
  • Hormones
  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Alcohol consumption

With regard to visceral fat, there are many more influencing factors than just exercise and nutrition, because it is created as the consequence of a generally unhealthy lifestyle. A healthy, low-sugar diet, getting adequate sleep, and abstaining from alcohol can usually solve the problem. The situation is different with subcutaneous fat: The bad news here is that you cannot lose subcutaneous belly fat in a targeted manner. Unfortunately, there are still countless myths that tell you how easy it is to get a flat stomach. The truth is that 300 sit-ups per day, light products, and intensive cardio workouts alone will not help you. The key to getting a flat and defined stomach is to reduce your overall fat percentage. Also, you should develop your abdominal muscles with targeted problem zone workouts. You can find some tips for the right abdominal workout in our six-pack guide. It is also a fact that most people put on belly fat very quickly. Perhaps you have already heard the saying “Abs are made in the kitchen”. This means that to get a flat stomach, it is absolutely essential that you adjust your diet to create a calorie deficit. You can easily calculate your calorie needs with our calorie calculator. In the end, it is best to combine strength and endurance training with a change in diet. With the right nutrition, you will burn calories, at the same time give your body an aesthetic shape and provide it with the right amount of energy.

The biggest mistakes when doing fat reduction workouts

1. Only targeted training of problem areas

As you now know, you cannot lose target fat loss in specific areas through exercise of specific muscles in the desired area. Just because you feel an exercise in a particular muscle group, does not mean that your body will burn fat there. Isolation exercises, i.e. exercises that activate only one muscle group (e.g. crunches), do not activate your whole body and thus are particularly ineffective for fat reduction. For this reason, you should make sure that your workout plan includes many exercises that work out several muscle groups at the same time. Examples include deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, pushups, and bench presses.

2. Only endurance training

This mistake is based on the assumption that body fat is only reduced by burning calories during exercise. If that were the case, endurance training would be the best solution since it burns the most calories. But reducing body fat is much more about increasing the body’s resting metabolic rate (the total number of calories burned when your body is at rest). Endurance training limits the number of calories burned almost exclusively to the time of the actual workout. Your body also adapts to endurance training, which means that it wants to be able to work more efficiently for as long as possible. To achieve this, it breaks down unnecessary energy consumers, i.e. the muscles that you are trying to tone. Your resting metabolic rate also suffers in the long term if you only do endurance training. You can only increase your resting metabolic rate by building muscle through strength training, which is why it does absolutely no good for you or your problem areas if you only do endurance training.

3. Avoiding strength training

Women, in particular, are often afraid that they will look too muscular due to excessive strength training. Athletic, well-defined women get their dream bodies—almost without exception— through strenuous strength training with relatively heavy weights. If you can do more than 15 repetitions of one exercise, the weight is usually too low. The fastest way to build muscle mass is by doing many sets with fewer repetitions and more weight. In different phases there can be 6 – 8 repetitions per set, sometimes 12 – 15, as regular variation makes it easier to set new stimuli. Important here is that you increase your training weight accordingly as soon as you notice that your strength has increased. You will never build massive muscles overnight, neither as a man nor as a woman. Women only also have 10% of the testosterone in their blood than men have. This means it is very unlikely that they will ever look masculine from too much strength training because of that alone.

Cook away your problem areas

nutrition lose belly fat foods

In addition to the right workouts, a decisive factor for fixing problem areas is proper nutrition. Everyone knows the problem: too little time, work stress, and no desire to spend a long time in the kitchen. This is why we offer a huge selection of dishes that are tasty, quick, and varied. With recipes for everything from muscle building to quick weight loss.

Change requires discipline and patience, but when it comes to planning your nutrition, it is possible to have success in the shortest possible time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Your ideal daily calorie intake depends on your height, age, gender, weight, body composition, and activity level. You can use a formula to determine your basal metabolism and then add your PAL (= physical activity level) factor. The Upfit calorie calculator helps you to calculate exactly that for you with respect to your individual goal and also gives you your perfect micro and macronutrient distribution.

No, not really. A refeed or cheat day (better just a cheat meal) serves to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles, liver, and brain during a low-carbohydrate diet. A refeed is only useful if you follow a strict low carb diet or do a lot of exercise on a low-carb diet. A sign of the need for a cheat meal is persistent fatigue about one to two weeks after starting a low carb diet. In the Upfit Coach, you can find more information on how a cheat day may help you lose weight and build muscle.

No, there is no point in skipping carbohydrates in the evening. On the contrary: your body generally digests carbohydrates faster than proteins or fats, so that the digestive tract is emptied faster and does not have to work through the night. This has a positive effect on sleep, as does the increased serotonin release from consuming carbohydrates. The idea that we absolutely need carbohydrates as energy in the morning is just as wrong as the assumption that we store carbohydrates faster in the evening.

No, it is not necessary: creating a calorie deficit is enough to lose weight. But losing weight with exercise has huge benefits: firstly, exercise burns calories, so that you have to reduce the amount of food less to lose weight. Secondly, strength training, in particular, maintains your muscle mass during weight loss, so that proportionally you lose more fat. Since fat has more volume than muscles at the same weight, the visual effect of weight loss with exercise is much greater than without. We have summarized the most important information for you again in the article Fitness & Sports Nutrition.

Upfit is being developed with graduates of the renowned German Sport University Cologne. It regularly incorporates the latest nutritional knowledge for a 100% scientific basis. Upfit Plans are always tailored to you, your personal needs, and your everyday life. Also, our nutrition experts are here to help and advise you at any time on your way to the goal. An Upfit plan provides you with affordable shopping lists and varied recipes with short cooking times so that healthy food is fun and can be integrated easily into your everyday life. Create your weight loss diet plan in just a few minutes and put your plan into practice!