Spot Reduction; Fact or Fiction

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “I’m going to start doing more crunches to get rid of this fat in my stomach!” If so, you are not alone. Several times throughout my career as a personal trainer, I have had clients specifically request that we do more “ab” work so they can have a tighter midsection. As badly as I wish that this is how things worked, unfortunately it is not!

Spot reduction is a fitness fallacy that has been around for decades and still to this day is rolling full steam ahead, giving every individual in its path a false hope of an easy fix for their “trouble areas” The layman definition of spot reduction is the ability to pinpoint a specific area in which one would like to specifically reduce body fat. Most commonly this will pertain to the midsection for most individuals but I have been asked about spot reduction methods for other areas as well namely arms and legs!

So why can we not do this? When the body mobilizes energy for tasks, it simply cannot choose from one area of the body, rather it will utilize the energy (i.e. body fat) from the system as a whole. One primary reason that the body cannot select certain regions at will is because of the role various hormones play in fat storage. A prime example of this is the female sex hormone, estrogen. Estrogen promotes fat storage to support fertility and a healthy menstrual cycle. in women. This is the reason why many female physique competitors have complete cessation of their menstrual cycle, also known as amenorrhea, when they have dropped below a certain body fat threshold. Body fat plays several key roles in both men and women and is stored strategically in regards to its function.

You cannot spot reduce, however, that does not mean you have to settle with your trouble areas! Following a quality training and nutrition program overtime will elicit long term results in terms of lowering your overall body fat percentage as well as taking care of those troubled spots – so what are you waiting for!

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