And there is no exercise to lose weight around the stomach.
For a long time this myth has stuck around almost as long as the unwanted fat that lingers around our mid-section.
This article aims to educate you on why the concept of ‘Spot Reduction’ is false and why doing sit-ups all day won’t result in a tight 6-pack.
Firstly, what is ‘Spot Reduction’.
The term ‘spot reduction’ refers to the idea that you can reduce body fat in a particular area of the body without affecting other regions. So for example, reducing body fat in the abdominal region whilst barely touching/affecting the legs/arms/chest.
So.. why can’t we spot reduce?
Well, let’s look at some of the scientific research around spot reduction. Going back almost 20 years ago, Ross & Janssen (1997) looked at the effect that localised resistance training had on visceral fat reduction. They had participants workout with a focus on the abdominal region, whilst another group did a general resistance training program. Both groups lost weight and there was no significant difference in reduction of waist circumference.
Fast forward to 2013 and a study by Ramirez-Campillo et al. looked at localized resistance training and the effect it would have on visceral fat reduction in that area. After 12 weeks, training 3 times a week – “the training program was effective in reducing fat mass, but this reduction was not achieved in the trained body segment”.
Okay you’ve told us you cannot – but why Chris?
It comes down to basic human physiology really. Without going too sciencey (that’s a word from now on) – when you gain weight, the body stores visceral fat across the body. Where we store this weight seems to determined by a few factors which include:
- Activity level
- Food type (more research needed)
Generally men store more more weight around the mid-section, whilst women are characterized with increased weight gain around the hips and thighs.
Now when we lose weight, similar applies – we lose weight all over and often it takes the longest to lose weight in those areas mentioned above.
So how do we go about losing weight from the mid-section then?
Quite simple really.
1. Focus on energy expenditure (burning more energy than you consume)
2. Exercise regularly
3. Repeat 1 and 2 until desired result.
If you want to lose more weight around the mid-section, keep doing the above. There are no short-cuts in health and fitness. If that was the case then everyone would be walking around with 6-pack abs all thanks to sit-ups and Ab-Swings.
Ross R, Janssen I. Is abdominal fat preferentially reduced in response to exercise-induced weight loss? (1999) Med Sci Sports Exerc.31(11 Suppl):S568-72.
Ramírez-Campillo R, Andrade DC, Campos-Jara C, Henríquez-Olguín C, Alvarez-Lepín C, Izquierdo M. Regional fat changes induced by localized muscle endurance resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Aug;27(8):2219-24. doi:
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