Why Spot Reducing Fat Is Impossible

Why Spot Reducing Fat Is Impossible

Many people yearn to lose fat from one specific part of their body. For example, you might wish you carried a fewer pounds in your midsection. Efforts to eliminate fat from an individual area are called “spot reduction.” While it would be nice if dropping the fat off specific body parts were possible, it is not.

The theory behind spot reduction is that when you exercise a set of muscles, fat is lost in that area. For example, if you perform abdominal exercises, you’ll drop stomach fat. While spot reduction might seem like simple common sense, the reality is different.

One example is the crunch, a popular abdominal exercise. When you perform a crunch, you strain your ab muscles. If you keep doing crunches regularly, your ab muscles will grow larger and stronger. At the same time, every body movement uses up energy.

When food is consumed, excess calories are transformed into stored, subcutaneous fat. This process is reversed in exercise, when calories are metabolized into fuel for the muscles. Since working out makes your body use up calories, any sort of exercise will help you drop the pounds.  You use our body fat calculator for reference.

This means working your abs will help you lose stomach fat — but no more than it will help you lose weight from the rest of your body. When the body resorts to burning fat stores, it doesn’t use the stores nearest the muscles being flexed. Instead, fat from the entire body is burned. Blasting a given muscle group may be valuable exercise — just don’t expect it to spot reduce fat.

Health science established long ago that targeting specific areas of fat was impossible. The myth has persisted largely because of the efforts of unscrupulous advertisers. Turn on a TV and you’ll probably find an infomercial selling a dubious, scientifically unsound weight-loss product. Many such products claim to spot reduce fat — for example, certain devices try to eliminate fat by electrically stimulating muscles. Don’t believe the hype. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is — especially when someone is trying to sell you something.

Fad exercises or diets never work. You’ll only set yourself up for disappointment if you believe in the myth of spot reduction. It’s simply impossible for a person to influence where their body draws the fat that is metabolized into energy. Each person’s body has a natural pattern of where fat is added or dropped — some people will lose fat from their stomachs first, while others get slimmer hips.

If you want to lose fat from one area, you’ll have to lose weight overall. That means living healthily. Exercise regularly (preferably daily, but at least three or four times a week) and consume a diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, and few high-fat, salty or processed products. For weight loss, cardio exercise is best.

It would be great if spot reduction were possible. In such a world, you would be able to focus on improving the areas of your body that cause you the most distress. Looking good would be much easier. Sadly, that’s not the case. Don’t waste time attempting to lose fat by spot reduction.

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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators.The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.
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HealthStatus has been operating since 1998 providing the best interactive health tools on the Internet, millions of visitors have used our health risk assessment, body fat and calories burned calculators. The HealthStatus editorial team has continued that commitment to excellence by providing our visitors with easy to understand high quality health content for many years.

7 Comments

  1. Silvana Reply

    I agree that you can’t diet or exercise fat away in a specific area, but you can use a laser treatment to get rid of stubborn fat. I’ve tried Cutera truSculpt with good results. It’s fast and easy. Not meant for massive weight loss, but good for stubborn body fat in localized areas.

  2. Michael Wellington Reply

    Calories have no existence whatsoever, they are invented fiction. Energy is fiction. Energy and its units CANNOT act on human cells in any way. Energy is abstract fiction for tidy bookeping and conveniebce. Fiction does NOT transform into matter-fat tissue. This is directly from top physicists.

    Energy has no existence whatsoever in itself, it is a human invented charactetistic we assign to objects. People eat food-matter-carbon.

  3. liv Reply

    But i never understood how our bodies can store fat in specific areas but it we can’t spot reduce fat? I am bottom heavy and gain weight in my legs and hips before anywhere else. I have to be really big in order to have fat store in my arms and stomach. other women store fat in their bellies, but not their legs. So again why is it that fat can be stored in specific areas, but we can’t spot reduce those areas? It doesn’t make sense and I think that it needs to be looked into more.

  4. Sheila Caviness Reply

    Thank you for your information on spot reduction however I have been shaping and reshaping my body for years spot reducing. I combine isometrics and the use of abdominal cinchers with repetitive exercises to reach desired goals. I am currently challenged with spot reducing my underarm fat and have a couple months to go but both areas are reducing nicely. I KNOW YOU CAN SPOT REDUCE.

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