There are a number of reasons for wanting to lower your body fat, including the array of health benefits it offers. A healthy body composition lowers your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, cancer and heart disease. It would be ridiculous, however, to ignore the aesthetic motivations that many have for losing weight. Men commonly want to decrease the fat in their stomach areas, and women typically look to tighten up their thighs, stomach and triceps. However, it's important to understand that, despite the claims that a number of diets and exercise equipment advertisements make, it's impossible to target a specific area for weight loss. Spot reduction, which refers to losing body fat in one particular area, is only accomplished through liposuction, which is a dangerous and costly option that is not an ideal solution for weight loss.

The best solution for losing weight in a specific location is to be patient and achieve your goal through healthy eating and exercise. You decrease your body fat and lose weight whenever you create a caloric deficit, which occurs by burning a greater number of calories than you consume. Every 3,500 caloric deficit you create equates to a single pound of weight loss. Creating the caloric deficit requires your body to break down stored body fat to use as fuel. Where your body decides to take that stored body fat from, however, is out of your control.

It's not uncommon to find claims that you can tighten up specific areas with strength training activities. They are false! Keep in mind that fat tissue is completely independent of muscle tissue. Strength training activities develop strength and size in your muscle tissue, but those developments don't make any impact on the stored fat located in those areas. For example, participating in a consistent abdominal exercise regimen will effectively develop strength and tone in your abs and obliques, but the improvements will go visually unnoticed if you have excess fat tissue covering the muscular tone.

Still, don't get discouraged. The truth is, once you make efforts to create a caloric deficit and lower your overall body fat percentage, you will see improvements in the areas that are of your most concern. Although weight loss won't necessary be focused in those areas, you will see changes at your stomach, thighs and triceps.

Therefore, instead of doing sit-ups in an attempt to decrease stomach fat, or performing lunges and squats to try and get rid of cellulite at your thighs, keep your focus on the steps needed to lower your overall body fat. Your efforts should remain on increasing the number of calories you burn per day by consistently incorporating physical activity into your regimen, and decreasing the number of calories you consume per day by making healthy eating and drinking decisions. Remember that cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging, biking and walking, are quality exercise activities that effectively burn calories.

And if you'd like to put extra effort into developing certain areas on your body, there's nothing wrong with incorporating strength training activities into your workout routine as well. You can simultaneously tone up the areas of concern while losing fat. That way, once you decrease your body fat percentage, the muscular tone you've built will be visible. To target your triceps, perform dips, push-ups and triceps kickbacks. For your thighs and glutes, incorporate squats and lunges. You can build strength and tone in your stomach with crunches and sit-ups. Plus, keep in mind that strength training facilitates your body fat loss efforts by increasing your metabolic rate. The more muscle tissue you have on your body, the more calories you burn throughout the day and night, even when you're at rest or sleeping.