The Truth About Spot Reducing

Oblique Crunch   by Maren Sederquist, MES, CSCS, CPT 

It’s a common myth that you can exercise a certain part of your body to lose fat in that area. Although fitness professionals have been trying to dispel the myth for years, we’re up against 2 forces that make believing the truth a challenge.

The first is infomercials. These 30-minute advertisements for the latest fitness products bombard you with paid testimonials from people who achieved their goals from completely other means. While they say they got their firm thighs from the “Thigh Master” or their lean abs from the “Ab Roller”, the truth is that they got their bodies the old fashioned way: genetics, eating right and exercise.

The other factor working against making the truth easy to believe, is the fact that when you work a specific area of your body, it makes you sore and feel like you did it some good. Having a muscle feel sore or tight means you worked the muscle, and if done regularly can make it stronger and give it more shape, but it absolutely in no way burns the fat on top of that muscle. The only way for a muscle to show, or for fat to burn off an area, is to be leaner there.

Although adding muscle to your body is an essential component of losing bodyfat, it’s genetically determined where your fat will come off first. Keep in mind: first place on, last place off. Your challenging area will always be your challenging area. The only thing that will get your body leaner in the area you want it to, is following all the below steps, and doing them for long enough that you eventually lose the weight where you want to. 

The healthy way to lose bodyfat where you want to:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet in a calorie amount, that is slightly less than the calories that you burn.
  • Do cardiovascular exercise. Start with 20-30 minutes, 3-5 times a week. Increase from your starting comfort level by 10% per week, each week that you want to see progress.
  • Do strength training for your WHOLE BODY 2-3 times a week.
  • Have the right parents.
  • Be consistent!

Disclaimer: Although I’ve outlined the healthy way to reduce bodyfat where you want to, please be aware that many of the fitness models in magazines or infomercials may actually achieve their goals in unhealthy ways.

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