This week I am going to debunk a few common myths that are often seen in the fitness world. Many times these myths are started by “personal trainers” trying to sell their “latest and greatest” product. In order for the product to sell, they need something to advertise. “Perform this exercise to lose belly fat in 7 days!” “Use this product to tone your arms/legs/belly/etc.!” There is so much misinformation out there today it is no surprise that these myths exist and are commonplace.
Earlier in the week, I debunked one of the most aggravating myths in the fitness industry- Lifting light weights can “shape” or “tone” your muscles. If you missed that blog post, please click here. Today I would like to debunk another aggravating myth that are usually started by people trying to sell an exercise program or product. This myth is that you can spot reduce fat on your body.
I don’t know how many times people have asked me what exercises they can do to lose fat in specific areas. I have asked people on many occasions why they are performing arm exercises, or endless crunches and their answers are usually, “Because I want to get rid of this arm fat” or “I need to get rid of this lower stomach fat.”
This blog post may disappoint a lot of people, but I am here to tell you that you cannot spot reduce fat from your body. Now let me back up for a second here; technically studies have found that you can spot reduce fat by working out a specific body part. However, the studies showed that the amount of fat loss was so small that it was determined to be insignificant. I would go ahead and say that any trainer that promises that they can spot reduce fat for you is just trying to steal your money.
To help explain why spot reduction of fat is not possible, let me explain how fat loss occurs. Fat loss takes place over your entire body and depends on many factors (ex. Gender, genetics, hormones). I have found that the most stubborn fat is the fat that people want to lose the most. In my experience, fat loss usually occurs first in your face and arms/legs, and then your lower back and stomach. Now, like I said, you will notice fat loss throughout your entire body, but once you get down to the last bits of stubborn fat, you may notice that the lower stomach and back are the last to go. I will be writing a more in depth blog post on how fat loss works and the best methods to lose body fat in the future! Stay Tuned!
TIP: The best methods to lose fat will be discussed in a future blog post, but if you really want to simplify things, fat loss is a very easy concept- calories in vs calories out. Fat loss is 80% diet/sleep and 20% other factors such as exercise. Your best bet for fat loss would be to strength train 3-4 times a week with some cardio added in, and then clean up your diet and lower calories if necessary.