"Spot Reduction"...?

Ever looked in the mirror a month away from swimsuit season, then thinking that you need to do crunches and planks to get rid of that belly fat and love handles? Well, I'm sorry to break it to you, but while doing those exercises can certainly help towards reaching your caloric deficit, simply doing exercises targeted at a specific area does not cause you to just lose fat there. This is a common misconception in the fitness world called spot reduction, where people believe that doing target exercises can help you lose fat in a specific area of the body.

Todd Miller, professor of nutrition and exercise sciences at George Washington University, makes an exceptional analogy of why this just doesn't work. "Fat in your body is like gas in your gas tank. Thinking you can reduce fat from your stomach alone is like saying you want to use gas only from the right side of your gas tank" (1), Miller says. "Fat, just like gas in your car, is stored energy. It gets recruited equally from all over your body and sent to the muscles to be burned" (1), added Miller.

Why are ab workouts so popular even among professional bodybuilders then, you might ask. Some think that only by doing ab workouts can you make your abs appear. That is not true. To make your abs pop out, you would need to first lose the layer of fat laying on top of those ab muscles, and to do that, you would need to be in a caloric deficit through healthy dieting and moderate training. Abdominal workouts only make your ab muscles more defined, but this is only after you have gotten rid of that layer of fat.

Well then, what determines where your body stores fat, if spot reduction is just impossible? The answer is simple: Genetics. Some people tend to carry more fat in the midsection, while some around the thighs. You can have two men with the same body fat percentage standing next to each other, and one can have a way more defined six-pack, because of the fat distribution that their genes are prone to. The one that doesn't have a defined six-pack might be genetically disposed to storing fat in the belly area, while the one that does might be genetically disposed to store fat more evenly throughout the body.

What I'm trying to say is, if you're trying to look more fit, doing specific body area exercises won't help you to just lose fat at your "problematic areas." Although doing target exercises will help your muscles in those specific areas look more toned, you would have to be in a caloric deficit through dieting and exercising to lose the fat covering up those muscles first.


(1) https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/why-spot-reduction-doesnt-work/2018/04/16/7977b70e-3c0f-11e8-974f-aacd97698cef_story.html

Visual(s) Used: https://krixluther.com/myth-buster-spot-reduction/