The Spot Reduction Myth

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Is spot reduction possible?

In any given field, there will be facts, theories, misconceptions, as well as some long standing mythology. The health and fitness world is no exception to this. There are a plethora of fitness myths that are very commonly believed to be true. Some, naturally, are more pervasive than others. There is one request in particular that over my 20 years as an Austin personal trainer, I’ve heard quite a bit of, and that is how to lose fat in a certain area as opposed to in another area. I’m not referring to someone wishing to lose fat all over and add lean muscle tissue for a toned physique, but rather someone wishing to reduce the fat stores in a certain area and leave other areas as they are. What they’re talking about essentially is known as spot reduction.

Unfortunately, spot reduction is not physically possible outside of plastic surgery procedures such as liposuction. If you have excess fat on your body, where you will predominantly hold it, is predetermined by your genetic makeup. For example, some people are genetically predisposed to hold fat in their abdominal region, while others are going to see a widening of the hips and yet others will get a rounder, fuller face that some people won’t.

A great example of the spot reduction training request would be a client I had several years ago. She wanted to lose several inches around her waist, but keep her breast size as well as her hip size intact. When I explained that this would not necessarily be possible and she might see a reduction of her breasts and/or hips, she asked why we could not just do core and abdominal exercises to trim the fat away from that specific region. What I explained to her was that exercising a certain muscle group or area, will have next to no impact on the fat that is stored in that region. What will happen, however, is that muscle will be developed, depending, of course, on her nutrition, as well as the frequency of exercise, and the techniques employed during her exercise. In other words, if someone has a fat arm and did a lot of bicep curls and tricep extensions, unless they were to do a lot of cardiovascular exercise and significantly modify their diet, they would simply have a fat stronger arm.

Anyone wishing to lose weight will need to undertake a whole new approach to nutrition, as well as incorporate regular cardiovascular exercise in their plan. If you take it very seriously and are dedicated and consistent in your efforts, you will see a positive change in not just your problem areas, but everywhere else as well. That is something I can say with complete certainty. What I cannot say with any degree of certainty, however, is how much you will lose in each specific area unless we’re looking for an overall reduction. That is not something that anyone can accurately predict.

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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270