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How do I make THIS spot smaller? The Spot Reduction Myth

One of the most common questions that I get asked is “how do I lose weight in this spot (with usually a finger pointing to a specific area).  It is usually our stomachs, that space between the armpit and bra, lower back, or thighs.

Is it possible to lose weight or fat from just one area?

For me, I am on the struggle bus with the area right at my armpit and bra. Like this never goes away no matter how lean I may be…it is my trouble area. Sigh…

The rumor mill says that we “might” be able to spot reduce just one area and totally heading to google to check if this myth could be true.

While the theory of spot reduction has been heavily promoted in the fitness world, there is not much evidence to support this. Most of the research studies performed show that spot reduction is not effective, and that fat loss is generalized to the entire body and not to a specific part being trained (or exercised).

spot reduction – science or myth

Almost all of us would point to one area on our body’s and ask “how do I change this?”

Talking waist, thighs, arms, lower back, or that area near the bra strap. Totally a common area for us to store extra body fat.

Is the Rumor True?

Unicorn of Fitness

Rumor has it that you can target specific areas on your body and train it (or burn the fat).

So many info-commercials with gadgets galore that tells us that we will be able to lose 45lbs and have a 6-pack in less than 5 minutes per day. Or have you heard that if you just do enough crunches your core will look like Arnold?

Total unicorn of all things fitness.

The Verdict

The rumor isn’t true. A trainer that I follow says this “asking your body to lose fat in one area is like trying to remove a cup of water from one corner of a filled bathtub”.

Well….that does bring perspective.

Spot Toning vs. Spot Reduction

Many times the terms spot toning and spot reduction get told as meaning the same thing but they are quite different.

Spot toning is where the end goal is to strengthen a specific area on the body.

Spot reduction is about targeting “trouble” spots and having the ability to selectively burn off fat in one area.

Just because you are working a certain muscle doesn’t mean the fat covering the muscle is lost.

What does work?

To gain understanding on why spot reduction is a myth, we need to know how our body is burning fat.

Pulling out my human anatomy notes…one second.

The fat that is found in our cells is a form of triglycerides and this is the stored fat that is used for energy. Think of it as our battery packs. There are several steps that need to take place in the body before it can be burned for energy. It is broken down into smaller sections (free fatty acids/glycerol).

When we exercise, the smaller sections are used as fuel for the body but…it can come from anywhere in the body and not a specific location.

You didn’t say what works….so what works?

This is more about an overall loss in fat vs. targeting a specific area and this means a whole body workout.

There are so many options that fit this bill! I always say don’t do a workout that sucks. Keeping trying different workouts until you find something you LOVE. Ok…love is a strong word…how about a workout you want to put on the calendar.

Best workouts for overall fat reduction include:

  1. Whole-body strength training.

  2. Cardiovascular exercise

  3. A combo of the two.

What about the whole “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”?

Unfortunately, we also need to bring in the topic of what we eat into the equation…I really don’t want to either.

If we want our bodies to run effectively, we have to fuel it appropriately. While foods are not good vs. bad, there are ones that work better with your system and don’t leave you feeling like a sloth.

I am a huge fan of re-learning how to listen to our body’s cues on when it is hungry and full. This sounds so simple but I think it has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn.

health at every size – Linda Bacon

We are almost trained to miss these cues!

I am currently listening to an audiobook that talks about this exact thing. She says the fitness industry has it all wrong with marketing a “get thin” philosophy and instead says we should focus on being healthy.

This is so spot on.

Highly recommend you check this book out. Click HERE to get more info.

Like seriously…GO GET THIS BOOK! Check your library or use the Amazon link above. It’s a little “science-y” in the middle. Just skip forward if needed.

The Bottom Line

We all want a super quick and easy way to lose fat, especially in those stubborn areas.

But….unfortunately, this isn’t going to be solved but training one specific spot on the body.

Next steps…

  1. Look for a workout that covers the entire body AND is something you look forward to doing.

  2. GET THE BOOK…..and READ IT!

  3. Re-learn your body’s cues for when you are hungry and full. This is hard but very worth the ability to get off the diet train.

And sharing my absolutely favorite workout! can&#8217;t be loaded because JavaScript is disabled: <a href="" title="After Dark Cardio |dance fitness workout| FULL Class">After Dark Cardio |dance fitness workout| FULL Class (</a>

Oh….and if you liked this post, please share!

Jaime Warren is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Affiliate links may be used in posts. I only recommend products/services that I absolutely LOVE. Full disclosure policy is located HERE.

Disclosure for all workout programs: I acknowledge that I am participating in a workout that can include strength, flexibility, aerobic, cardio, and other exercises offered by a trained instructor. It is my responsibility to consult with a physician prior to and regarding my participation in any Fitness Program. I represent and warrant that I am physically fit and have no medical condition that would prevent my full participation in this class. In consideration of being permitted to participate in any online and in-person Group Fitness Class, I agree to assume full responsibility for any risks, injuries, or damages, known or unknown, which I might incur as a result of participating in the program. In consideration of being permitted to participating in any Fitness Program, I knowingly, voluntarily, and expressly waive any claim I may have against the owners, landlord, insurers, or any Fitness Instructor for injury or damages that I may sustain as a result of participating in the program. I have read the above release and waiver of liability and fully understand its contents. I voluntarily agree to the terms and conditions stated above.

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