Myth: Spot Reduction

Another myth rolling around out there is the myth of spot reduction. Spot reduction is the erroneously believed concept that you can exercise, diet or waist train away fat in a certain location, like love handles, pot belly and inner thighs. It is so sad that this is still among popular belief. I would think people would get the fact that their own attempts at spot reduction did not work, therefore, it is something that doesn’t exist; or even worse, that fitness professionals have the key to spot reduction and you only have to pay for them and follow their advice.

The reality is, spot reduction does not work. Period. Let me explain. First, every trustworthy personal trainer should be training at least one person for free. If a trainer is willing to train someone for free, they are more willing to ensure you meet your goals because it proves that they are in the fitness business for more than just a buck. Ensuring their clients meet their goals means more to them than the pay for ensuring their clients meet their goals. My free client is a woman I met at my fitness center. She was trying desperately to get fit, but never got results. I saw exactly what her problem was right away: she was lifting too heavy with poor form, she was using the equipment incorrectly and she was following trendy advice from fitness insta-famous deceivers who are not certified. I saw how much she wanted to get somewhere and offered her my services for free. It took her a while to take my offer, I supposed that she was weirded out about someone actually doing something selfless. Either way, one of her first desires was to spot reduce her belly. This is a common request from females and male clients, believe it or not. I had to assure her that spot reduction is an impossiblity. Here’s how I proved it to her.

I am a personal trainer. I am in amazing shape for my age and have worked very hard for years to get here. I have very low body fat; in my age group, the average is 20-24%. I am currently at 16%. That being said, I still have a little belly. I am so lean! My legs are lean, my bum is all muscle, my arms are lean, but I still have that little chubber on the front. The picture associated with this post has a belly about the same size as mine, her’s might be a skitch bigger. For the life of me, I cannot get rid of that little pudge! So I have decided that I’m the only one who thinks it is a big deal and have accepted that it is a part of me. That part will not leave even though everywhere else has. When you lose weight, your body picks and chooses what comes off first and when, not us. We have no control over it, our genes do. If you do not believe me, follow every piece of advice you can find on the internet promising spot reduction or better yet, look for research on the internet proving that you can spot reduce. I promise you will not find any, at least not any legitimate scientific research papers. You cannot diet it away or exercise it away. If anything, exercises will make it appear bigger because now you are putting volumous muscles under the fat which will only pop the fat up higher on top of the muscle. Like snow on a mountain. Think about that for a minute. Surgery is the only way to completely spot reduce.

So, if you want to drop your belly fat or your love handles, the best approach you can take is to reduce your calories by 20% of your basal metabolic rate. Do not ever eat under 1200 calories despite what the calculator may say because it is not sustainable. Find workouts from trusted fitness professionals, not uncertified, insta-famous people. If you are unsure that you are doing things right, hire a personal trainer. They can be cheaper than you think. Just make sure they are fully insured and certified, preferably through NASM. A personal trainer can ensure you are entering your program correctly and can correct your form mistakes. Nothing will steal your gains faster than incorrect form or using equipment incorrectly.

One more thing I would like to add. Waist trainers are nothing more than girdles of the 2000’s. Waist trainers will not “train” your waist to be skinny, will not cause a loss of fat due to sweating in that area and will not fulfill your desire to be the sleekest woman on the beach. Well, you can be the sleekest woman on the beach, but you must wear your waist trainer at the beach to accomplish that! Please, don’t fall prey to silly unscientific trends that celebrities and instagram influencers are doing and trying to push on others for a profit. Most times than not, their surgeries are the real reason behind any body alteration, not the gimmicky junk they are using to supposedly get there.

With patience, proper nutrition and an effective work out program, you can work towards removing that piece of you that is affecting your self-confidence.

Published by Lisa Smith

Certified Personal Trainer in the Charlotte, NC area.

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