Aerobics are the only exercise that can burn fat, while sensible eating prevents fat from accumulating on your muscles. However some people have specific problem spots-arms, thighs, love-handles at the waist, etc. which stubbornly droop even after having lost fat. This is where weight training – let’s call it spot-shaping – comes in.
While your layer of fat above a muscle is being steadily burned off, these spot-shapers firm up specific areas so that they shrink and take up less space. That means, for example, you will lose the treacherous inches that form those unseemly love handles. On the other hand, if you want to gain inches at some other spot, you just have to increase the weights you work out with.
Spot-shaping is much like painting a full-length portrait of yourself. Obviously, you want to look better and with a few strokes of the brush make your hips appear more streamlined. So it is with spot-shaping, Suddenly, one day, you look in the mirror and marvel, “Is that really me?” That special feeling of looking good goes beyond mere cosmetic changes. There are other positive off-shoots. Things become clearer somehow. Circumstances which had previously appeared to be mountainous, magically assume the proportions of a mole-hill. You don t shrink from situations like you did earlier. With the there-is-nothing-to-be-nervous about feeling coursing through you, you become more calm, more relaxed. You can view situations with a clear mind.
All these bonuses come to you little by little. Both physically and mentally you are stronger, swifter and more flexible. You will understand what me mean when you hear about Raksha, an executive in a multinational firm. As long as she was obese, she was always fatigued at the end of the day. One day, she took to aerobics and sensible eating. It took her three years to burn off all that fat. Then, she decided to go in for weight-training. Seeing those tiny dumb bells in her apartment several friends exclaimed “You Use these? Aren’t you worried about muscling-up? But Raksha was enjoying her new feeling of well-being too much to pay attention to such misconceptions. She persevered. She barely realised it but she was enjoying her job more, reveling in meeting and co-ordinating with suppliers. “I didn’t know that I was communicating positive vibrations ” she says. Until, one hassled colleague told her wistfully, I wish I could be as relaxed and at ease as you are. You never look fussed up or tired.” That was when it dawned on Raksha how her fitness lifestyle had paid off. She was to receive yet another compliment from a youngster called Amita who had recently joined the organisation.
One day, Amita walked up to her hesitantly and said, “I hope you don’t mind me saying this. But you have such a terrific poise are so slim that I cannot believe you were ever overweight as the others say. Were you really?” It lit a warm glow of achievement within Raksha. For Amita was a petite four feet ten inches who couldn’t have weighed more than-forty kg. “A remark coming from such a fragile-looking person made me feel on top of the world!” laughs Raksha.
If you are not overly fat, spot-shaping will give you that sleek contoured look within a month or so. If you are overweight, you don’t show as dramatically since the fat is still present. But your skin will look firmer and tauter. And as you continue to lose fat, you will see those sudden swoops and curves that you never knew had existed below all that blubber! With your flesh toning up, you will also see your stretch marks fading.
Spot-shaping is essentially strengthening a muscle or a group of muscles in a specific area, To achieve this, you have to move that muscle through the maximum range of motion of the joint to which it is strung to. To illustrate: you might have watched a body-builder in action. He wants to develop his-biceps-muscle. He holds a dumbbell in his hand and extends his arm downward by straightening his elbow. Then, he brings it upwards, bending his elbow. What he is doing is extending his elbow joint both ways as far as it can go. This exercise works on his biceps by expanding and contracting that, muscle while simultaneously making his elbow joint more I, flexible. Try it once without a dumbbell. You will immediately understand i, the principle underlying it. The dumbbell is there to add just that amount of overload required. The bone and muscle are adaptable.
They adapt to this added resistance and grow stronger and sleeker. One such complete motion – of extending the arm down and up as mentioned above – is called a rep (abbreviation of repetition) in fitness lingo. And a given number of reps is called a set. If you bend your arm down and up eight times, it means you are doing one set of eight reps. Like in tennis six games (like reps). Make one set.
Your muscle responds best if you do a minimum of eight to twelve reps per set. You need to rest for a second between each set for an efficient muscle workout.For spot-shaping, you have to do several reps with light weights. This shrinks the specific bulging area and gives you the firm, sleek look you desire. To avoid risk of injury, do each rep smoothly and slowly.
From all that you have read until now, you would have understood that it is not important how much you lift but how many reps you can do. To avoid muscle soreness, follow this pattern:
First week: one set of 5 reps of each exercise.
Second to third week: one set of 10 reps of each exercise.
Fourth week: Two sets of 8 reps of each exercise.
Fifth week: Three sets of 8 to 10 reps of each exercise.
You needn’t stick to this pattern. Increase your reps only when you find them becoming too easy. Always inhale as you lift, exhale as you return to the starting position.
Do your spot-shapers with weights after your aerobic workout. This way, your muscles are already warmed up and will not get injured. If you don’t have an uninterrupted time – span to do both, warm up before your spot, shapers with eight minutes of inch stepping. And wear anything that is comfortable and allows you free movement.
The good news you will enjoy hearing is that you need to do spot-shaping only three times a week! However, if you find that too much for your stamina, even twice a week gives you fairly satisfying results, But it’s important to keep a gap of 48 hours between sessions, That is how long it takes for your muscles to recover. In fact, you should not weight-train every day.
What you need for spot-shaping
For women: two 5-pound dumbbells
two 5-pound ankle weights.
For men: two 10-pound dumbbells.
Of course, these are weights recommended for the average man or woman. but you could buy lighter weights if you think these are too heavy for you. If you wish to give yourself a trial period initially, you could be/five or ten pounds of raw rice or pulses into two cloth bags and get them double-stitched firmly on all four sides. Strap them around your wrists or ankle and exercise. Once you get the feel of it you can go in for dumbbells and ankle weights.
We have given you an entire range of spot-shapers. Choose the ones you require depending on which area you want to firm up.