Spot Reduction: Fact or Fantasy

For many years our obsession with reducing fat from one are of our body (know as “bodyfat spot reduction”) has launched a whole industry dedicated to selling us the latest and greatest 6-pack formula, workout plan or fitness gadget. Spot reducution remains today the holy grail yet it remains a widely held belief that spot reduction simply isn’t possible. So to get that 6-pack, doing plenty of crunches will not help you! Instead, fitness experts advocate a low calorie diet plus cardio and resistance training to achieve body fat reduction as a whole, but as to where this body fat will disappear from depends upon your genetics. This makes a lot of sense and lets face it, if you do thousands of sit ups everyday but don’t burn the fat over the top of your abs, I guess you’ll never see that 6-pack.

For me  the stubborn areas have always been hips, thighs and upper arms. For years I would concentrate on performing squats, lunges and triceps dips but never seemed to slim down those areas that much, until I changed my diet and really increased my cardio. Then things started to happen. I remember the trainer I had at the time telling me that spot reduction is a myth and that my genetics would determine my general shape and where I would gather fat and where I would lose fat from first. “Forget spot reduction” he would say, “just concentrate on fat burning and it will eventually happen.”

It was with interest then that I read a recent article about Bio-Signature Modulation which claims that spot reduction is possible with the right understanding of hormones, training principles and supplementation. Developed by Charles Poliquin over 25 years I was really interested to hear that many who follow it, claim it to work.  However, just like many claims in the past, is this really true or just more hype in an Industry known for tapping into people’s desire to achieve their dream body.

Whilst the program itself seems very complicated it claims that by determining the cause of the fat you can alter your diet to directly impact that area.  By controlling the blood sugar levels of the body with more frequent meals, reduced daily carbohydrate and also low GI food you can reduce fat in one area whereas, reducing consumption of simple sugars will help another area.  I don’t know of anyone personally who has ever followed this program but would certainly be interested in anyone’s view. Real science or more science-driven fantasy. The jury’s out…

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6 thoughts on “Spot Reduction: Fact or Fantasy

  1. I agree Jill! Most fitness experts I know still believe that spot reduction is a myth. It seems that our genetics will predispose us to fat aggregation in certain areas of our body and we cannot choose where it will be lost from when we start training or dieting.

  2. I don’t know if it’s a myth – I highly recommend the use of kettlebells, both for strength and ballistics. Kettlebells, paired with a healthy diet is guaranteed to do the job!

  3. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s a myth and a massive pile of hype. It just can’t be right, unless of course my puny human brain just can’t comprehend it, as the body doesn’t say; “It’s 3pm and we just had a treat, the 3pm treat needs to go to the bum where as if you had it at 4 I’d send it to your belly”.

  4. The belief in the theory of spot reduction is without question a primary reason people over-train their abdominal muscles and ignore other muscle groups. Spot reduction, based on the premise that fat loss occurs directly below the muscle being exercised is a theory that has been proven to be false over and over. Unless your body fat is already ideal (10 – 12% for a male and 13 -15% for a female), you will need to maintain a caloric deficit, which can only be achieved by burning more calories than consumed during a given time frame.There is no question that working your abdominal section is absolutely essential for toning and tightening your abs. However, it does not represent the best way to burn calories simply because the abs represents a small group of muscles. Your ab workout routine should always include the larger muscles groups such as the legs and biceps to get the heart rate going at a much greater rate which translates to more calories burned.

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