Beyond looking at overall fitness and figure the world had taken one step forward focusing on every part of the body for attaining perfectly toned structures! Exercising is an age-old concept for weight loss which has gone through different phases and still is resurfacing with aplenty new discoveries-but all of them have the fundamental notion of weight loss. I once remember my grandma excitedly telling me about her latest interest in exercises-one of the effects of being an avid book reader! She went on speaking about the different exercises that have been proposed for working out different parts of the body and keeping them in shape. She went one step ahead and performed them right in front of me. This old lady seriously has some health goals in mind and this motivated me too to read more about how exercise can be an effective guide for losing weight from different regions of the body. It was during this venture that I came across the term ‘spot reduction’ which opened a whole new sea of information.
Men and women put on excess fat in different parts of the body. A woman is prone to fat addition mostly around her thighs, hips and buttocks while men put on excess fat around the midsection. During perimenopause and menopause there is a shift in fat addition from hips to belly in woman owing to hormonal changes. Apart from this, gender, age, genetics and lifestyle affect weight gain and addition of stubborn body fat in certain regions of the body. This weight gain frustrates the individual, especially those who have a normal overall body weight but move around with excess fat peeping from their arms or tummies. There are some others who carry fat unproportionally in certain regions that makes them appear more awkward than the ones who carry it all over their body. All these individuals look at ways to reduce fat from certain regions of the body before proceeding to lose overall body weight. For such individuals, spot reduction has been proposed as the best way to achieve their target!
Targeting the Unachievable
Crunches for abs, curls for arms and lunges for butt seem to be the latest talk of the town. Spot reduction is a type of targeted exercise performed with the goal of burning fat in specific body areas. We have been vigorously working out on our different muscles for losing fat but neither does the fat disappear nor do we get rid of this concept. It is saddening to see instructors and experts abandoning the concept of spot reduction come up with side bends for attacking ‘muffin tops’, abdominal crunches for our ‘multiple spare tires’ and outer thigh exercises for ‘saddlebags’. For someone who is already lean performing these exercises might help in defining muscles in the specific areas but if your aim is to lose fat, tone muscles or build them pursuing these exercise formats leaves you disappointed and frustrated for sure.
While learning an exercise the instructor also asks questions on the muscle that’s getting triggered meaning that the exercise helps in working out the specific muscle of the body. Though you might feel the pain or activation of the muscle spot reduction simply doesn’t workout because it targets muscles that are small with exercises that are trifling in enhancing fitness and strength. Trying to focus on small muscles without paying heed to the bigger ones is ridiculous. A study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that six weeks of abs workout brough about no changes to the performer’s midsection. Another study showed that 12 weeks of one-armed workout led to less loose skin in the exercise-performing hand but zero fat loss. Exercising for some part of the body doesn’t help you trim it down but it might favour fat burn in certain other body parts and stomach is a classic example of this (https://time.com/collection/guide-to-weight-loss/4901936/weight-loss-stomach/).
Time and again we repeatedly hear that spot reduction is only a myth. Performing ‘n’ number of crunches is not going to give you a six-pack abs when the body fat percentage is too high. But it is also good to understand that no exercise is a waste of time. Some of the fat deposits are more responsive and metabolically active comparatively and exercising at high intensities helps you lose more of the metabolically active body fat. Scientific studies also back the concept that spot reduction is not possible by exercising the specific body part. But beyond that, if fat burn does happen its ok to enjoy the good result. If it doesn’t happen please don’t repent for it. Don’t go behind those pretty ads and posters that claim to help you target those ‘fat-laden’ areas of the body with certain exercises. Get going with performing a variety of physical exercises and eating a healthy diet which helps you target not only one specific part but enables weight loss all throughout the body.
Weight Loss & Spot Reduction: Does it Work? https://time.com/collection/guide-to-weight-loss/4901936/weight-loss-stomach/
Myths & Misconceptions: Spot Reduction & Feeling the Burn: https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/3629/myths-and-misconceptions-spot-reduction-and-feeling-the-burn
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