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 exa