Can You Spot Reduce Body Fat?

Woman doing bicycle crunches with caption "Can you spot reduce body fat?"

Spot reducing certain areas of our body! This is something I get asked or comes up on a very regular basis. Almost everyone has a part of their body they don’t feel happy with and would like to tone up that area.  So, does it work? If you do 500 sit ups a day will you lose all your belly fat?

In short the answer is no, you cannot spot reduce body fat through exercise. When you do exercises that focus on certain muscle groups you will gain strength and muscle in that area but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose fat just in that spot. When we exercise we don’t get to choose where the fat comes off, our body decides that. For each person it is different, for some it might come off their belly first, others their arms or legs. With this in mind, it poses the question why do we work out specific muscles and how do we lose body fat? I’ve put the answers to those below…

Why do we do exercises for our legs, chest, back etc.… if it’s not actually reducing fat in those areas (if that’s your goal)? Doing exercises for specific areas builds muscle and strength in those areas. There are many benefits to gaining muscle, but the most prominent physical benefit is that when your body fat has been reduced you will have that toned look everyone is after. To be toned, you need to have muscle. This doesn’t mean you’ll look manly (unless you’re a man!). Check out my Blog on “Should Women Lift Weights” for more information on this one!

So this brings us to the second question, how do we lose body fat? To lose body fat you need to be in a calorie deficit, which means you need to burn more energy then you are consuming through your food. One way you can burn more energy is through exercise (keep in mind – if your diet is terrible, exercise may not help you – as the saying goes, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet). All forms of movement will expend more calories than if you were doing nothing, some are more effective than others though. The two I have found to be most effective is resistance training and HIIT (high intensity interval training). Both burn a good amount of calories while you’re actively doing the exercise and they help you to continue to burn calories at a higher rate once you’re finished. For both of these workouts I would recommend focusing on full body for best fat loss results. The more muscles you’re using the more calories you’re burning! For more info on these workouts check out my blog on “The Key to Losing Weight Quickly”.

I hope this information has cleared up any questions you may have about spot reducing body fat and how we lose body fat and what specific muscle exercises are good for!

Talk Soon,
Britt