Myth or Fact? If you went onto a fitness forum and asked anyone in there with any long term weight training or fitness experience, they would tell you that spot reduction is a myth. That you can’t do 50 sit ups or crunches and expect your midsection to lose the body fat it has stored in it. But then again, there’s research being done that says otherwise. Not only that but our old time idols like Arnold Schwarzenegger, used to do spot reduction training.
So, is it a myth or a fact? I decided to do some research and it seems that there is still some mixed responses in regards to spot reduction. Firstly, spot reduction is the belief that if you workout a certain body part, generally the abdominal area, you can reduce your love handles via doing side crunches or working out on your abs via sit ups.
Generally the long term consensus is that to lose body fat, in any area, one needs to lose body fat throughout their whole body. So basically to lose your body fat, you’re going to have to lose fat everywhere else and eventually fat will be loss in that desired area. On a T-nation article, which you can read here, they give you techniques you should use, to help with spot reduction. One of their suggestions, is to keep the area that you want to spot reduce warm while performing your exercises. For example, the author of the article used his weight belt and placed it backwards around his abs, to keep that area warm. Also, he did cardio on an empty stomach. The major idea is to cause blood flow to move towards that area you are trying to lose fat, and the body will use that adipose tissue to fuel the workout, with energy. Would make logical sense, if the energy used for an aerobic activity, came from the area of most blood flow, then spot reduction should be theoretically possible.
Although after reading the evidence behind it, it doesn’t seem productive to honestly focus so hard on reducing a particular body part, unless you’re looking to compete. At least, I personally wouldn’t perform any type of spot reduction exercise, with the intent to lose body fat via just doing sit ups for my abs. Instead, I’d rather go through an overall fat loss on my body. Even though, it seems that maybe if you’re having a hard time losing some of that body fat, after you’ve cut for however long, spot reduction might be a good try?
If you are interested in trying it out, check out the t-nation article I linked you to and read it. He goes into further detail, and provides some information you will need to know, to perform this ‘trick’, for the lack of a better word.
Either way, I have heard people claim to do spot reduction and not see any results. Maybe they didn’t follow the guidelines found in the article and just did sit ups till they turned blue. Whatever it may be, at the moment, spot reduction is deemed as a myth, at least in the overall sense. If you’re looking for a quick fix, of losing those love handles of yours, then spot reduction is the disappointing pathway to head down. If you rather see results, then eat below your maintenance and train 3 to 5 times a week and you will reduce body fat in that desired area and every where else on your body!Read More »