15 Nov Spot Reducing Fat | I’m Going To Lose Fat From My Stomach FIRST! | Spot Reduction Myth
In a perfect world, I would eat donuts and cereal for breakfast, and not have to worry about fat gain or a sugar crash later on, but guess what – our world isn’t perfect – and neither are our bodies.
You’ve heard of spot reduction before? Well, if you haven’t, let me just touch on it briefly. The term spot reduction refers to an attempt to reduce body fat from a specific area of your body by performing exercises that target that area. So for example, you want to lose some fat around your stomach? Perform crunches and endless abdominal exercises. You want to get rid of that jiggle around the back of your arms? Perform some triceps exercises every day and you should be all good.
Maybe that type of training and thought process would happen in a perfect world, but remember what I said in my introduction? No perfect world here – sorry to inform you.
Spot reduction doesn’t work, unless of course, you get surgery. Then it will work. Other than that, you’re just going to have to work hard at this!
You will not lose fat around your midsection just because you perform endless crunches. The muscles that are used to execute the abdominal exercise may grow bigger and stronger, but the exercise itself will have no impact on fat loss in that area, assuming all other factors being equal. You have extra fat around your thighs and butt? Performing endless squats and leg presses are not going to magically help you ONLY lose fat around your legs.
A lot of people talk about genetics when it comes to weight loss and building muscle; well, genetics plays a big role with this topic. Personally, I gain weight around my abs first, as do most men (females usually gain fat in their legs, hips, and thighs first). And then when I start to lean out and go on a fat loss program, my abs are the LAST thing to come in. There are some articles that say, “Where you gain fat first, you’ll lose it first” … and I think that’s complete nonsense. I’ve gone through many preps for photo shoots and competitions, and let me tell you, my abs, like I stated before, are the LAST muscles I’m able to see. I could have extreme vascularity in my arms, see the tear drop in my legs, have the separation in my shoulders as clear as day, but still have some jiggle that I’m able to pinch around my midsection. For me, I gain weight FIRST around my stomach, and that’s where it comes off LAST. I’ve found this to be true with many of my clients, as well my fiancé, Bev. For her, the glutes and legs are her problem area. When she gets lean, she can have ripped abs, but still have fat to lose around her butt and thighs. Guess where she gains fat first? HER BUTT AND LEGS. That’s the irony of this entire thing!
What you need to get into your mind is that you CANNOT SPOT REDUCE FAT VIA EXERCISE. If you’re still carrying fat around your thighs and want to lose it, keep your focus on just LOSING FAT. Your arms look “big” because you still have fat to lose? Keep your focus on LOSING FAT. Don’t think to yourself, “Hmm, I’ve lost a good amount of weight these past few months, but my legs still have a long way to go. How can I lose that fat around my legs?” … Well, you CAN lose the fat around your legs, BUT your body will decide when that’s going to happen. Like I said, genetics play a huge role in this game of “where the fat will be lost first”. We don’t have any control over that. I have some good news though. We DO have control over what goes into our mouths and how hard we workout!
If you still have weight to lose, keep being 100% with your nutrition program. Keep working out hard. Keep raising the bar. Keep pushing it during your cardio. Keep thinking about those abs, sexy legs (females ;)), defined arms, and all the other things you want and understand that YOU have the ability and control to make it happen! No easy way out, no shortcuts, no magic creams or pills or cleanses or wraps… just old school, knitty gritty, nose in the dirt, hard work!
Paul Hovan Jr., B.S., CPT, CSN, CSCS