Sorry, but spot reduction is a myth. A matter of fact, it is one of the biggest myths that many “fitness experts” are helping spread. Many people and companies in the weight loss industry would hate me for revealing to the public one of the biggest lies in the weight loss industry. The sales of a lot of fitness equipment are based on the promise of spot reduction and that is one thing they don’t want you to know.
How many times have you seen the commercials and infomercials on TV that advertise specially designed abdominal toning equipment that guarantee you will get washboard abs? There are hundreds of exercise videos on the market today, designed to tone and shape “problem areas” on your body. Many health clubs have fallen into the trap too, and have added “ab, butt and thigh” toning classes which have become very popular. All these classes and exercise machines claim that exercising the muscle beneath the fat in the “problem areas” will help you lose that fat.
To be able to spot reduce sounds great and it is easy to sell, especially to people that don’t know any better. Many companies and fitness experts take advantage of the ignorance and the desperation of people to tone problem areas, and sell them equipment and exercise programs that will not fulfill their promise.
Don’t fall victim to this. All you can do is create the environment where your body can lose weight, and genetics will determine from where you are going to lose fat. You have absolutely no control of where the fat will come off from. Here are two studies that basically prove that spot reduction is not possible. These studies were taken from the Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant Manual of American Consul on Exercise.
One classic study examined the muscle and fat mass in the right and left arms of high-caliber tennis players before the two-handed backhand became so popular. At that time, the diameter and muscle mass of the dominant playing arm in professional tennis players was much greater than the non-dominant playing arm. If spot reduction truly worked, we would expect to see less fat storage in the dominant playing arm. However, no differences were found in the sum of multiple skinfold measures of either forearm. Thus, sustained exercise in the playing arm did not result in reduction of fat storage over the exercised muscle (Gwinup et al., 1971).
Another study done by Katch and colleagues (1984) examined the effects of a vigorous sit-up exercise program on adipose (fat cell) cell size and adiposity. They had subjects perform more than 5,000 sit-ups over a period of 28 days. Skinfold thickness, body composition and circumference measures were taken before and after the exercise program. They also took fat biopsies from the abdominal, buttocks and subscapular regions to assess the number and size of the cells in each area at baseline, and after the vigorous training program. The extensive sit-up routine resulted in no changes in skinfold thickness, body composition or circumference. Interestingly, the fat biopsy data did not find any selective differences in the preferential use or reduction in fat cell size or number in the abdominal region compared to the subscapular or buttocks regions. Basically what this means in plain English, after all those sit-ups there was no fat lose in the midsection.
So, you see, it is not my opinion that spot reduction is not possible; it is a fact. Just in case you are still not convinced that spot reduction is not possible, I will give you one more example to prove it to you.
As you know, everybody has a dominant and non-dominant side. Especially for arms, the dominant arm does a lot more work than the non-dominant arm. If spot reduction was possible, the dominant arms should have less fat on it then the other arm. In many cases the dominant arm might have more muscle, but the fat is always the same on both arms. It is a good thing, that spot reduction is not possible, because then most people would end up with a fat side and a lean side.
The question many people raise after they learn that spot reduction is not possible is “How can those ab machines you see on the infomercials guarantee you will lose 1 to 2 inches in the first 2 weeks if spot reduction is not possible?” The answer is very simple. When you don’t do any form of midsection exercise, the midsection muscles, like the rectus abdominus muscles, are relaxed and the organs push them slightly outwards. As soon as you do any form of crunches, the first thing that happens is your midsection muscles pull in a straight line, so they are no longer pushed outwards by the internal organs. Just by the midsection muscles tightening up and pulling in at a straight line, most people will lose 1 to 2 inches off their waistline. That is how those ab machine infomercials can promise that you will lose 1 to 2 inches off your waist in the first 1 to 2 weeks. The problem is, although they don’t say it, they make you think that you lost fat off of your waist, but in reality, all you did was pull your ab muscles in a straight line.
What they don’t want you to know is that any decent midsection exercise will do that for you; you don’t need to spend money to buy their ab machine. Like the study proved, you will not lose fat off your waist by doing midsection exercises. To get in shape and lose body fat, you need to incorporate 3 things into your life, which are: some form of resistance training, some form of aerobics, and proper nutrition. For more information on losing weight visit my website www.LiveYourWayThin.com