Spot reduction refers to the fallacy that fat can be targeted for reduction from a specific area of the body and that it can be achieved through exercise of specific muscles in the desired area, such as exercising the abdominal muscles in an effort to lose weight in or around one’s midsection. ~wikipedia
This term is usually used when we wish that we could make the fat on our bellies disappear or make our thighs smaller while looking for specific exercises for this purpose. For example, doing countless sit-ups to make the fat on the belly disappear. I get this question all the time in various forms.
“How can I make the fat on the back of my arms go away?”
“What exercises can I do to make my thighs smaller?”
“How can I get my belly fat to disappear?”
While it would be greatly convenient if we could just work a specific area to get rid of fat- it isn’t possible.
Maybe a little background in how our bodies work would help in answering this question.
When we eat food, our bodies use the calories that are consumed. If we have consumed (or eaten) more calories than our bodies need to function, then these calories are stored by our bodies as fat cells to use for a rainy day. Except, our bodies are really smart. They work more like an episode of “Hoarders” actually. They won’t ever relinquish those fat cells. There is never a good enough rainy day. Especially if we are consuming more calories than our bodies need on a regular basis. Then our bodies just keep hoarding and hoarding until we have to call in the professional cleaning specialists and cry because we were going to use those someday.
So, when we do all those sit-ups then…..doesn’t the fat in that area get burned off? Not exactly. Your body burns fat cells when we exercise, but it isn’t concentrated to an area worked. It is more evenly distributed throughout the body as it is used for energy.
How DO we burn the fat off those trouble areas then? There is a plan, but most don’t want to hear it because the promises on late night tv of those devices that will take care of your “trouble spots” sounds so much better.
1. Consume less calories than your body needs so that it will dip into those hoards of fat stores.
2. Perform cardiovascular exercise.
3. Consume whole foods in a balanced diet so that your body can function with the right nutrients.
4. Start strength training.
Once you start including these principles, your body will start shedding those hoards of fat stores and you will be able to see the belly fat disappear and your thighs getting smaller. Then we can tell those professional cleaning specialists to move on to the next place because we don’t need them anymore.