‘How can I get rid of fat from my stomach?’
‘How can I make my butt smaller?’
‘How can I tone up my arms and get rid of my tuckshop lady arms?’
‘How do I get rid of my beer gut?’
These are real questions I have been asked over the last month by people I am helping to get fit and lose weight.
As such I had decided to write this article to clear up probably the biggest myth in the fitness industry, SPOT REDUCTION. This is not a criticism of the people that have asked me the questions, but it is indicative of a common misconception about how to get in shape.
What is Spot Reduction?
Spot reduction is marketed as the process of picking a fat area on your body that you want to change and focusing all of your attention on trying to reduce the fat in that area. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is just marketing hype. Spot reduction does not exist.
Most of us at some stage of our life have dreamt about spot reducing fat from a problem area of our bodies. For men it is usually our stomachs or waist and for women it’s the hip, butt and upper thigh areas.
Why do we dream of losing fat in specific areas? Because we are brainwashed into thinking that we can. The internet, television, magazines, newspapers and radios are flooded with advertisements for products, programs and supplements, all claiming to do the impossible, spot reduce fat from specific areas of our bodies.
Years ago it was vibrating belts, belly creams and cling wrap. Many fell for it and by the time they realised these methods or products didn’t work the next round of new and improved products had hit the market, and it starts all over again.
This cycle has continued for years and will continue for many more. Companies are getting better at convincing us that their product is the one that will actually work for you.
As an example of how effective these companies marketing campaigns are, during the mid-nineties the Ab Roller Plus hit the shelves, with a promise of getting a flat sexy stomach in 5 minutes. Well guess what, as ridiculous as it sounds, it was reported by one American home shopping network that, in a 15 hour period, they sold 41,000 units at $40 each. I will save you the math, it’s one unit sold per second.
We have all seen the ads, I can flick on my television most nights and find an ad promoting some product making outlandish promises about spot reduction. No matter how good the model looks using the machine, or how convincing the testimonials are, if something seems too good to be true it probably is.
Check out one of the latest ads for the new and improved fantastic, super duper ab machine. The Kardashians even swear by it! Keep an eye out for the disclaimer at the bottom of the before and after photos during the testimonials.
Why Does Fat Build up Around my Stomach, Butt, thighs and Arms?
Where you body stores fat on your body is predetermined by your gender and genes.
Men tend to store fat around their waist and women tend to store fat around their hips and buttocks.
Men naturally store fat around the organs in their stomachs as a protective measure, so any excess weight will be added to these stores first.
For women the fat being stored around their hips and buttocks is called reproductive fat, technically it is an emergency supply of energy needed to grow a baby.
How to Lose Weight on Your Stomach, Butt, thighs and Arms
Take notice next time you are in the gym, of how many people are trying to get rid of their bellies by doing sit-ups? Don’t get me wrong, you will build a nice set of abs, but they will be hidden under a layer of fat.
The only way to reduce fat from a trouble area is by losing weight all around.
When it comes to losing weight all round, the only solution is to create a calorie deficit within your body. A calorie deficit is when you spend more calories than you consume (eat). In other words, calories in is less than calories out.
How Does a Calorie Deficit Work?
It was a calorie surplus that created the extra padding on your body, so it stands to reason that if you create a calorie deficit your body is forced to find alternative sources of energy, and your bodies greatest source of alternative energy is fat.
A calorie deficit can be created three ways:
- Eat less food than your body needs.
- Eat the same but exercise to burn calories.
- A combination of both eating less and exercising.
Obviously the types of food you eat and what exercise you are completing all impact on your rate of weight loss, but fundamentally if you create a calorie deficit you will lose weight. This is my preferred nutrition plan for creating a calorie deficit <— Link to Video
How much weight you lose will depend on the size of the calorie deficit you create. To give you a better understanding, half a kilogram or one pound of fat is worth 3,500 calories.
So, to lose half a kilogram or one pound of fat you will need to have a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories. Sounds like a lot, but when you break it down over a week it is only a deficit of 500 calories per day which is easily achievable with a combination of eating less and increasing your exercising.
Once you have created a calorie deficit, where you lose fat from is determined by your gender and genes. Generally speaking your trouble area, is probably the first place your body started accumulating fat and will be the last place that it will fade away from.
For men the last place you will lose fat is your waist, for women it’s your butt, hips and thighs.
If you need a hand with your nutrition check out my complimentary report on losing weight without dieting <— Link to Ebook.
If lost for ideas about what exercises to do for fat loss, check out my recommended training program for women <— Link to Website.
Here is an article on how you calculate how many calories your body needs, from their you will be able to determine what exercise you need to do and what you need to eat to create a calorie deficit.
If you have any questions or queries about fat loss or spot reduction drop me a comment below.