Mercy Mythbusters: Can You Achieve 'Spot Reduction' with Exercise?

Mercy Mythbusters: Can You Achieve ‘Spot Reduction’ with Exercise?

Posted on: February 13, 2015

Let’s admit it. We all have some area of our bodies we are not happy with, right? Comments like, "I need to lose this belly" or "I want to trim down my thighs," gave birth to the spot-reduction craze in our culture. Just like it sounds, the idea behind spot reduction is that you can reduce fat from a specific area of your body by doing (a lot of) targeted exercises.

Is Spot Reduction a Myth or a Reality? Canton Mercy Fitness Specialist Answers.

So, can you achieve spot reduction with exercise? Busted!

The cold, hard truth is that spot reduction doesn't work. You cannot lose body fat from a specific area by just doing exercises for that area.

Unfortunately, the belief in spot reduction has helped many exercise-equipment companies make money. They try to sell you a specific spot-reduction product, such as an "ab machine" that targets abdominal muscles, by telling you that it will melt the fat around your stomach and give you the "perfect 6-pack" or "washboard" abs. They mold their product around an assumption that if you perform enough exercises with their spot-reduction tool you will lose fat in that area. As I said, this is a myth.

For example, if you do a thousand crunches for your abdominals, those ab muscles will get stronger, but you will never see them because they are under a layer of fat. 

Does that mean you should stop doing spot exercises? Certainly not!

In continuing with the abs example, doing abdominal exercises is good in the sense that those muscles will become stronger. However, please understand that the fat will remain. Fat can only be lost from the body as a whole in an way that is genetically predetermined in you.

The only true thing that strength exercises target is muscle, not the fat covering them.

How do you lose fat then? You must create a caloric deficit through proper diet and exercise. Here are a few recent HeathChat blog posts where you can learn more:

8 Simple Ways to Cut 250 Calories a Day

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Exercise Equipment

Want to Lose Weight? Watch Body Fat Instead of Pounds [Case Studies].


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If you live in the Canton, Ohio, area and need help developing a fitness plan that incorporates proper diet and exercise, contact Mercy Health & Fitness Center.  

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