While it’s true that leaning out requires an overall drop in body fat percentage – 1000 squats a day isn’t necessarily going to spot-reduce the fat only on your legs – it may be possible to encourage stubborn fat burn by adjusting your lifestyle. 

“Ultimately, why we store fat and where we store it is a product of our hormones and their interaction with the environment,” explains celebrity trainer and creator of Creating Curves, Alexa Towersey.  

 

“Left unchecked, any kind of hormone imbalance makes losing weight, getting enough sleep, and functioning well in our jobs and lives impossible. Hormones can explain why some women have a slender stomach but thunder thighs, or vice versa.”

According to Towersey, where you store fat disproportionately can give you clues about how best to burn it:

 

Thigh fat: fat accumulating on the legs, booty, and back of the arms that doesn’t respond to training and diet indicates excess oestrogen levels – a surprisingly common occurrence given our modern environments are saturated with xeno-estrogens (environmental toxins). 

The solution? Include lots of fibre and cruciferous vegetables in your diet to support detoxification. Avoid soy and reduce exposure to environmental toxins by using natural, organic skin care and make-up. 

 

Belly fat: correlates to high levels of stress hormone, cortisol. This can be caused by all sorts of stressors – not just work related ones. Food intolerances, poor digestive health, over-training, dehydration and lack of sleep are common causes. 

The solution? Adjust your lifestyle and nutrition choices.  Sleep more, test for any food intolerances and support your digestion with a good quality probiotic. 

 

Back fat and muffin tops: suggests an intolerance to carbohydrates and poor blood sugar management, most often related to a poor diet.

The solution? Eat the right foods at the right time in the right amounts. For example, swap sugary “white” carbs for healthier versions such as sweet potato, and eat them predominantly in insulin sensitive windows such as post-workout – your body will be able to metabolise the carbs much more efficiently.

NEXT: Discover how to get into the real fat burning zone with these expert tips.