Oh boy, spot reduction.
Although there certainly isn’t a lack of common fitness and diet myths being circulated on an every day basis amongst individuals, spot reduction has its very own place. It is a myth so far removed from reality that it is unfortunate its prevalence is so widespread. People are told it is possible, and unknown to them, waste their time attempting to achieve the impossible. Repeat after me:
Losing fat exclusively from a particular part of your body is not possible. This is also known as “spot reduction”.
The fitness industry has not made it very easy to resist the temptation of believing that an individual can decide where on their body they can shape up. This myth is on the cover of magazines, the basis of a variety of products, and often the talk of individuals in the gym. However, the single best example of it in action is the attempt to do exercises to lose belly fat. You can’t!
For example: “Six easy ab exercises for achieving a six pack”, “tighten your waist with this rigorous ab routine”. Want to have a slim waist? Do this exercise, do that exercise. In the end the claimed result is the same, you lose belly fat and pop out aesthetically pleasing abs. Could it get any easier? Doubtful.
Spot reduction is a fallacy because you do not have control over where you can lose fat. Everybody is wired differently, some people gain fat in certain areas faster than others. On the flip side, they lose fat in certain places faster than others. That’s entirely not up to you to change, you are powerless in this process. Therefore, doing exercises to lose belly fat and thin your waist line is the equivalent of trying to swim across the Great Lakes. Sure you could try, but you won’t get anywhere. Instead, your efforts need to be consolidated into what actually works. You want to do exercises to lose belly fat? That’s perfectly fine, but to get that slim waist involves proper dieting, without which those same exercises you’re doing won’t work.
It is unbelievably common to think that sitting down and doing ab exercises is going to improve your waist. Millions of people do it. They get an ab routine that supposedly “works”, and they crunch away. Ask yourself this question, if it truly were that easy, wouldn’t everybody walk around with great abs?
Exercises to lose belly fat are ineffective if they are not combined with a proper diet that is aimed at helping you lose weight. That diet is the single most important component. In order to understand how this process works, visit our Calories Per Day article. By the way, you don’t need to hit yourself over the head about all those wasted crunches, they certainly have their place. To understand how the whole concept works, imagine all those people who want to invoke spot reduction in order to get a lean stomach. They do these exercises to lose belly fat and hopefully develop a six pack. However, everybody already has a six pack. It is just covered with a layer of fat. It is the fat you must remove to make a difference, sort of like a tarp hanging over that brand new BMW. You won’t enjoy the look of it unless you remove the cover, correct? Alright, enough with the cheesy metaphors, let’s get to business!
Although spot reduction certainly isn’t possible, a combination of doing exercises to lose belly fat and a proper diet that is below your maintenance calories will help you achieve that slimmer waist. It is a two-pronged approach. The ab exercises will strengthen your abdominals and your diet will cut down the fat layer covering them, leaving you with a proud stomach for all of your efforts. Doing ab exercises alone can help you develop a stronger core, but it won’t melt the fat away. As a result, you’re still going to be in the same place, just with a stronger stomach. If that’s all you are after, crunch away. Otherwise, buckle down in the kitchen because that’s what matters.
Now, since we’ve certainly beat being general to death with a stick, let’s get to some details. The particular exercises you decide to do are pretty irrelevant, again, you can technically not do a single crunch but if your diet is on point you can wind up with abs. So in regards to the particular exercises to lose belly fat, there are none. Just do whatever ab exercises you’re most comfortable with. They are the secondary component. In terms of diet, if we’re sticking primarily to lowering the calories in order to lose weight over time, check out our Easy Ways to Lose Weight article. It has a bunch of great tips that you can implement into your every day culinary routine so that you might actually not mind dieting a bit. Sometimes, you don’t have to go strict for dieting to work out. (for starters, stick to grilled instead of fried foods, eat your veggies, and load up on mashed potatoes instead of fries)
It is also important to note that not everybody is looking to get a six pack, some just want to lose belly fat and have a leaner midsection. For people with that specific goal, doing ab exercises is honestly a waste of time. If you’re up for it, go ahead. However, it is certainly not necessary because if you put in your work in the kitchen you will succeed in your objectives. If there’s one thing that you can grab out of this article, remember that the hardest work isn’t figuring out which ab exercises work the best. What matters is the amount of calories you wind up eating each day. Working out can only help, but for those just looking to slim down who don’t have that extra time, put the time in where time never escapes – eating.
If you start seeing results but they are not yet apparent in your stomach in particular, don’t worry. Unfortunately, the stomach is one of the last places to lose weight. Keep going strong and over time you’ll start seeing results there as well. Looking fit and staying fit is a journey, it certainly isn’t a sprint. Now no more spot reduction, go get the job done properly. Good luck!