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Why Spot Fat Reduction Doesn't Work

I get asked this question so many times...'can we please do more work on my core or legs, that’s where I need to get rid off my excess fat'. Unfortunately, burning fat in a specific targeted area isn’t that simple.

Many studies have shown that spot fat reduction for a specific area is highly ineffective and yields little to no results. So if you think you need to do more core exercises in order to burn stomach fat, you need to rethink, and I’m here to help!

How does the body burn fat?

In order to understand why spot reduction doesn’t work, we need to know how the body burns fat during exercise. Fat is stored in our cells as triglycerides, and when the body needs to use them for energy, they need to be broken down into fatty acids and glycerol, which enters the bloodstream. When we start to exercise, the fatty acids and glycerol that your body uses for energy can come from anywhere in the body, not necessarily from the area that you are training. With that being said, it makes it impossible to spot fat reduction in a specific area.

Spot Reduction vs Targeted Toning

Although you may not be able to target fat burn in a certain area, you can definitely target muscle toning. There IS a difference. By using a selected muscle and doing isolated work, you are able to increase muscle strength, size and endurance, which all promotes muscle toning specific to that area. This is great news because although you can’t choose where to loose fat, you can choose where to look more toned and defined!

That being said, it is advisable to always try to combine targeted toning exercises with aerobic/cardio training in order to stimulate a full body fat burn. This will give you the best of both worlds: strength and fat loss. Some great ides to try:

  • Cardiovascular exercise: such as walking, running, swimming and cycling, uses large muscle groups and has been proven to be effective at torching calories.

  • HIIT (high intensity interval training): involves short periods of intense activity immediately followed by a recovery period. Studies show HIIT may be more effective at burning fat than steady-state cardio.

  • Whole-body exercises: Instead of focusing on one area of the body, whole-body exercise like burpees have been shown to burn more calories and lead to more fat loss than targeted muscle toning exercises.

  • Combining exercises: Combining resistance training and cardiovascular exercise has been shown to be more effective at shedding kilograms than just focusing on one type of exercise.

So if you’re seeking the best fat burn recipe, here it is:

  1. Whole-body movements

  2. Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise

  3. Healthy diet

Diet is a crucial component and no mater how many intense workouts you do, without eating healthy, all your hardwork comes undone. Fat loss starts in the kitchen, so take a moment to reflect on what you are putting into your body… if you need expert advice, contact your local dietician or nutritionist for some healthy guidelines.

Remember! Although you can’t target fat loss to a specific area, you now have the recipe to not only aid whole body fat burn, but more importantly, to work on a healthier and more active YOU!


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