Thought you couldn’t spot reduce? Pioneering diet and fitness experts now claim you can target fat spots by balancing your hormones.

If you’ve joined a gym and ditched the chocolate, but the fat on your turn still isn’t shifting, you may be surprised to hear your hormones could be to blame. Until recently, exercise physiologists considered spot reduction a myth, believing you need to burn fat all over, using a mix of cardio and whole-body resistance work. But this view could be changing.

A growing number of fitness and nutrition experts are claiming you can whittle fat off your middle, thighs or bingo wings, by rebalancing your hormone levels with a tailored diet, exercise and supplement regime. And Canadian strength coach, Charles Poliquin (charlespoliquin.com), has devised a complete system to do just that.

“The theory of BioSignature Modulation is that many individuals have stubborn problem areas due to imbalances in their body biochemistry, especially with hormones,” says Poliquin. “By identifying which hormones are causing the fat imbalance, a precise supplement protocol can be prescribed to restore the hormone balance so the individual can lose the excess body fat”

Naturopath Max Tomlinson, author of new book Target Your Fat Stores: How to Banish Your Bulges (Quadrille Publishing, $20) is another expert who believes hormones can affect how and where you store fat. Tomlinson runs a fat spot-reduction programme at his London clinic to target disproportionate fat deposits.

“Restoring your body to its correct hormonal balance is an essential element in reducing your fat spots,” says Tomlinson. “Advancements in functional medicine laboratory testing and targeted nutritional supplements have given me a greater understanding of which hormones in the body may be unbalanced, and how to rebalance them. These advancements also provide the tools to help combat fat storage at specific sites”

Target trouble zones

During a BioSignature assessment, practitioners use skin calipers to measure 12 body fat sites, including your chin, triceps, stomach and calves. These measurements are then tapped into a computer programme to reveal your overall bodyfat percentage and where you accumulate the most fat. By matching body parts with their “relative hormone imbalances”, a tailored regime is then devised which practitioners claim  can result in overall fat loss of two per cent in the first week, and half to one per cent a week after that.

To get an idea where you have fat spots, Tomlinson recommends taking a careful look in the mirror and doing a simple pinch test. Pinch the skin between your forefinger and thumb and then measure the distance with a hard ruler or rigid tape measure. Once you’ve identified your fat spots, it’s time to take action with a BioSignature practitioner or by keeping a record at home and using the guidelines below. If you thought you were stuck with your fat spots, then it’s time to think again!

Trouble zone: “I’ve got bingo wings!”

Diagnosis: Lack of the male hormone, testosterone.

“Excess fat around the back of your upper arms, also know as bingo wings, is very common in women, and indicates too much oestrogen and a lack of testosterone” explains women’s BioSignature Modulation practitioner, Niki Rein (barrecore.co.uk). “Testosterone, is just as important for women as it is men, because it helps maintain muscle, bone strength and brain function. Fat is also stored here when you’re lacking in zinc, or when your body isn’t processing oestrogens or toxic xenoestrogens (compounds that imitate oestrogen), which are found in plastics, pesticides, detergents, preservatives, carpets, and even in the atmosphere”

How can I fix it?

Change your diet: “Include more zinc in your diet by eating foods such as oysters, sesame seeds and roast beef,” says Rein. “Zinc helps your body produce more testosterone. Healthy fats found in foods such as salmon, flaxseeds, nuts, coconut, and avocados are also required for testosterone production, and will help you to build lean muscle tissue”

Description: Bingo wings, is very common in women, and indicates too much oestrogen and a lack of testosterone.

Bingo wings, is very common in women, and indicates too much oestrogen and a lack of testosterone.

Rethink your exercise

“Resistance workouts using big compound exercises (exercises that use more than one muscle group), such as squats and press-ups will put your muscles under the maximum amount of stress, and force your body to produce more testosterone,” says Rein. Try doing a circuit of lunges, press-ups, deadlifts and dumbbell shoulder presses at least three times a week. Do 15 reps of each move, then repeat the circuit four times, taking a minute’s rest in between each exercise

What supplements do I need?

Start with zinc, such as Solgar Zinc, $10 (solgar.com/uk) and omega-3 fish oils capsules. Such as Perricone MD Omega 3, $48 (perriconemd.co.uk), that are rich in EPA (anti-inflammatory oil) and DHA (an omega-3 acid). Also try a gamma linoleic acid (GLA)-rich oil, such as Nature’s Plus Borage Oil, $21 (revital.com), which is packed with omega-6, and will further help restore healthy testosterone levels.

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