Fitness myth: you can burn fat from one specific area

February 9th, 2013 · by Josh · Blog, Exercises, Nutrition and Diet, Personal Training

The most common thing I hear when discussing goals with new clients is that they want to burn fat from specific areas of their body.  “I want to target my stomach to get washboard abs” … “I want tighter, firmer thighs” … “I have to get rid of my ‘bingo wings’” … these are just a few quotes from a list of many.

So why do we think this way?

There are thousands of products on the market that claim to target body fat in one specific area, These products promise fast results with minimum effort and let’s face it, a quick fix to the problem is what we all want to hear!?

Is there any truth in this way of thinking?

Unfortunately there is no quick fix. To reduce your overall fat percentage you need to look at a combination of eating well and exercising the right way. The most efficient way to do this is to reduce our daily calorie intake and increase the calories we burn through exercise.

male abs

When our body uses fat as fuel, fat is broken down from the whole of the body, not just a specific area.  When we run, we use our legs; however, the body will burn fat from the upper body as well.  The same applies for abdominal exercises, performing 100 sit ups per day will burn fat (be it a very small amount) from the stomach, but it will also burn fat from the legs, head, feet and back etc.

As you can imagine there has been a huge amount of research into spot reduction (the ability to target specific areas for fat loss) and there are many different theories out there. For me personally, there really isn’t enough evidence at this time to rely heavily on this concept, and during a normal weight loss or body transformation plan, more emphasis should be placed on not only the exercises you are performing but your lifestyle and nutrition as a whole.

What exercises should I focus on to reduce the fat in these areas?

I have found the best way to reduce body fat, be it from the abdominal area, arms, legs, back, chest, inner thighs or even the chin is to incorporate a whole body approach during your fitness sessions. One of the most beneficial ways of doing this is to use cardiovascular, strength and core exercises alongside interval training, which combines a series of low to high intensity workouts.

Try not to fall into the failsafe routine of cardiovascular, followed by strength and then core exercises as typically you will fail to progress and see limited results. Instead, mix up your workout routine, push yourself and vary your workouts as much as possible.

Eating the right things at the right times will determine how successful you are in shedding the fat; remember a reduction in calories is the best way to kick start your fat burning goal.

Take a look at my testimonials page for a selection of fat burning success stories.

Leave a Reply