Reducing body fat is a challenge for most people, as you know there are a host of products adverts and a ton of content explaining this. Now what we are going to discuss here is that “fat spot reduction” or “spot reduction” does it exist or not. Before we even go into this let me just say fat spot reduction for reducing body fat is simply UNTRUE!
We as humans are very lazy and are programmed to find the easiest way to do a task. For example, when we try to lift a box off the ground we will not bend our knees and just lift it by just bending down. That is because we think in our mind that it is light and easy to pick up. The same mindset applies to weight loss.
Spot Reduction – Can It Happen?
By now most people have heard or read about fat spot reduction. Questions you are asking yourself are:
- Does it happen?
- How can it be achieved?
- What needs to be done for this to take place?
Let me just tell you, point blank NO! to all the above questions. There is no holy grail for defining or picking what area the body will lose the fat from. The way it reduces fat is based on the genetic makeup, the diet and training you are doing for you to achieve that look you are after. There are different body types out there but mostly they either have two areas where most of the fat is stored. The first is on the belly or midsection and secondly the hip and buttocks.
Let’s Look at the Science Behind it…
When we burn fat, we lose it from all over the body at an even rate. Fats are stored in the fat cells and have to be broken down and transported via the blood to get anywhere else. They cannot just jump to the nearest exercising muscle to be burned. For the fat to be burned in the muscle a lot of processes will need to take place. Let us examine this…
The fat (triglycerides) in fat cells have to become hydrolysed and broken down releasing fatty acids and releasing the glycerol molecules into the blood. The fatty acids then travel via blood in the veins throughout the systemic circulatory system where they reach the heart, then onto the lungs where the blood is oxygenated and travel back to the heart.
The fatty acids will then travel via blood in the arteries where they will reach the mitochondria of the muscles. The fatty acids are then activated in the mitochondria in which they are oxidised to release their energy in the Krebs Cycle.
Therefore as you can understand from the above, the distance of fat cells to the muscles has no direct impact on burning the fat from the stores. There is no inclination for the body to select certain stores of fat to burn from first. So in a nutshell… You can not spot reduce fat based on the way the body functions it has no selective programming to reduce fat in one place. In fact, it will reduce body fat from all over the body based on the information.
How Does it Affect Women?
Women, in general, are more likely to gain weight than men due to biological and lifestyle reasons. As they get older they tend to put weight on around the breasts, thigh, abdomen, hips, and buttocks. In women a hormone Estrogen is responsible for fat storage in the lower body, high levels of this hormone are found in women who are not active thus promoting fat storage. They then tend to go for those fad diets, pills, creams etc…in order to get rid of the fat. No matter the number of lunges or squats you do it will not spot reduce those fat areas.
Men and Spot Reduction
Men generally are more likely to lose fat and gain more muscle… This is not a sexist comment but in fact, is based on the genetic composition of the men. Men will generally have a lot of fat on the abdomen and chest…Yes, I know the manboobs Joke… but in fact, it is true! No matter the amount of chest exercises you do or try to spot reduce the outcome is still dependant on the genetic makeup of the person. This is also very varied for each individual.
So What Do We Conclude…
Fat spot reduction is one of the biggest lies, myths that the fitness industry is involved in. The idea of working a specific muscle group will burn the fat around the muscle is simply untrue. You know that when you actually work that muscle it will become stronger and bigger in size. While the theory of spot reduction is a great one it has been disapproved over time.
Fat Loss is a genetically pre-determined pattern. No matter the amount of ab crunches you do you will not lose the stored fat until you change your lifestyle. What you need to remember is that a true fat loss goal will culminate in the following three steps:
- Eat the right amount of calories so that your body can burn fat. If you eat too many calories, you will put on fat, if you eat too little you will lose the lean muscle mass.
- Your workout should be regular and consistent to turn your body towards burning fat. Make sure you work out all your muscle groups and core. When doing cardio make sure the more intense it is the more calories will be burned.
- Finally, keep your stress levels low so the hormone cortisol does not eat away at your muscles.
Thank you for reading the post, hopefully it will have given you enough information to makeup your own mind on fat spot reduction. Feel Free to comment on the post. Please read my other blog posts for more insights into fat loss, weight loss and burning fat.