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The Myths of Spot Reduction

Everyone stores fat differently.

And when it comes to losing weight, many people find a stubborn pocket of fat that they cannot get rid of.

So what do you do?

Most exercisers are familiar with the concept of "spot reduction", but what many people don't know is that spot reduction is a myth and doesn't work.

The idea behind spot reduction is the concept of exercising a specific part of your body in an effort to make that body part lose fat. In reality what happens is the spot gets bigger as you grow more muscle tissue in that area, and the fat doesn't go away.

So for example this means someone doing only crunches in an attempt to slim their waist, or for example performing just squats because, "All I want is a smaller butt!"

And then what happens is their ab muscles get bigger from doing crunches, and their glutes (butt muscles) get bigger when doing squats.

So regardless of what exercise you are doing, if you are trying to reduce fat you need to be thinking cardio instead. Cardio cuts fat all over your body - which means wherever your body is storing fat (belly, thighs, sides, etc) then your body will take the fat, use it as energy during the cardio exercises, and your special problem area will be reduced noticeably over time.


So why does Spot Reduction not work???

When exercising your body uses sugar in your blood to fuel your activities. When your blood sugar levels start to get low (like during jogging, cycling, etc) then your body absorbs fat into your blood to provide extra energy, and it absorbs it from ALL OVER your body. Wherever your body is storing fat, that is where the fat will be drained from.

When doing weight lifting / body weight exercises like squats and crunches you are actually doing muscle building exercises - which uses very little energy in comparison to a cardio activity like jogging. That means you aren't using very much blood sugar. So you are not going to lose much fat because the exercise simply isn't using that much energy.

Your muscles will feel tired, because your muscles are not used to being used that way during crunches and squats, but that is primarily due to muscle fatigue.

A better way of determining whether you are actually burning fat is seeing whether you can maintain a conversation. If you are gasping for breath and unable to talk - like someone who is jogging - then you are likely burning fat. If you can talk easily, you really are not exercising that much.

What about Spot Creation???

Weight lifters often want bigger biceps, bigger pecs, bigger abs. Yes, they can achieve some results by focusing only on specific body parts - like the guy who got into professional arm wrestling and only exercised his one arm.

However most people don't want freakishly big Popeye arms.

The thing is muscle building and toning, similar to cardio, doesn't actually happen one muscle at a time - it is a whole set of muscles that are co-dependent.

It is the fact that muscle groups are co-dependent that often causes confusion, because people don't realize that an "all over approach" often builds muscles faster because it targets muscles groups as a whole instead of just one specific part.

For swimmers, cyclists, gymnasts, etc these results will be more obvious to them as they are often targeting muscle groups - cyclists for example tend to get really strong legs. Like the photo below of a man with freakishly big legs.


So what have we learned here?

#1. Spot reduction doesn't work. If you want to reduce fat from a specific spot, go jogging and do cardio exercises to reduce fat all over your body.

#2. Spot creation does work, but if you want better results you are better off doing large muscle groups exercises because they are co-dependent on each other.

HAPPY MYTH BUSTING!

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