Spot reduction is basically the belief that fat can be reduced from a specific area of the body by performing exercises for the muscles in that area. For years, informercials have advertised all kinds of fantastic products guaranteed to blast belly-fat or tone your inner thighs. Fitness equipment manufacturers have made millions of dollars off of this one myth.
The plain truth is there is no way to spot-reduce body fat from a specific area. Fat is burned from body areas in genetically pre-determined patterns that have no relationship to the exercises or muscles being used. No matter how many crunches or tricep kickbacks you do, the excess body fat in your abdomen or upper arms may not budge.
This is not to say that overall, you won’t burn some amount of body fat by doing thousands of crunches, just that you may not burn it from the specific area you want.
We all know that we gain weight because we consume more calories than we expend. These extra calories are converted into fat and stored in fat cells throughout the body in a specific pattern. Everyone has a different pattern of how this excess fat is stored. Some people gain weight in their midsection first, some gain it in their buttocks and others in their face and neck. We also distribute the excess pretty evenly, so we don’t just gain it all in one area until that area is completely full and then move on to another area. We gradually gain in all areas, over time.
Just like how we store fat in a particular pattern, we also burn it pretty much in the reverse pattern. As we lose weight, we are slowly burning up fat stores from all throughout the body. Yet if I gained a certain amount of weight in my midsection first, chances are this will be the place where it will be the hardest for me to lose it from. Unfortunately this is all down to genetics.
No amount of crunches or kickbacks or any other miracle gadget, program, cream or anything else you see on that infomercial at 2AM will help you lose weight for one specific body area or part, sorry.
The only proven method to date that consistently works is a good overall healthy, nutritious diet coupled with a consistent, progressive full body exercise plan that incorporates both strength and cardiovascular training.