YES, SPOT REDUCTION IS A FALLACY
We cannot do specific exercise for one body part and expect to see that body part become muscular and shred underlying fat. For example, we can not do crunches or sit – ups and then anticipate a “six pack” of abdominal muscles, unless our diet and cardio exercise also become priorities. We may build a muscular midsection with underlying fat, but the “six pack” would not be visible.
This is not new information. These facts have been in evidence for decades if not centuries. Still, I have heard people suggest to others that a certain exercise movement would “fix” a physical problem area.
Fat is released from fat cells with vigorous exercise involving the entire body. That fat is not localized by specific movements that target problem areas. Specific movements for the arms may build bigger biceps and triceps, but without definition or loss of fat – unless we include cardio exercise for the entire body and eat fewer calories and more protein.
Note the images below of a power lifter next to a bodybuilder. Both are very strong, but they have different goals. The power lifter is likely much stronger and maybe 100 pounds heavier. The bodybuilder has a more symmetrical physique, to say the least. These show two extreme differences. There are many who work out to achieve some midpoint. Others exercise to become more proficient in their chosen athletic activity. Still others simply want to be as fit as they can and have no interest in lifting huge weights or flexing their muscles.
We don’t all fall into convenient “groups”, but I represent and write for those who want to become more fit as they age. They want to look good, but without narcissism. Mainly, they want to be healthy and fit, even as they encounter the ravages that aging places upon us.
SO…..WHAT CAN I SUGGEST?
Health and fitness expert Chris McGrath says” The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If you want to burn more fat and “sculpt” more muscle, increase your fitness level. This can be accomplished through a comprehensive strength and cardio program that doesn’t take more time than other workouts. In fact, it may take less time and accomplish more”.
For strength, Chris recommends working larger muscles by squats, rows and pushing movements. He also says to use combination or integrated movements, such as dumbbell curls that continue into presses. This would encompass the smaller muscles as well. He further suggests that we should consider doing “circuits” without rest between sets for the ultimate in fat – burning cardio.
Standard and recognized cardio exercises include:
- Walking, jogging or running
But often forgotten is fast circuit training with little or no rest between sets. This must entail lighter weights or other forms of resistance. I do this often. My perspiration level tells me when I am getting the cardio exercise that I need to burn fat. So does a quick look at my pulse. It’s not “rocket science”.
Bottom line – we can indeed reduce fat in a certain area of our bodies, along with a general loss of fat everywhere else. But we can’t direct our fat cells to release fat at a chosen spot only.
We can accomplish something just as good as spot reduction by continuous cardio exercise, resistance exercise and calorie control. That targeted “spot” will release fat and benefit from muscle development, as will all other body parts. I have done this, so I know it can be done. My waist was too big and now is at an appropriate size, with abdominal definition. My upper torso and legs are not as large as before, but I am at a healthier and happier size and can’t complain.
It is important to me to have cardio and resistance capabilities for any time of the year, even when there is snow on the ground. Here are a few suggestions:
- A treadmill. My Nordic Track treadmill is shown below. It is not an expensive model, but has served me well, even with daily usage. Here is a link to an updated similar model.
- Here is a set of light dumbbells
- And an adjustable pair of dumbbells
- Complete package of resistance cords
- The Bullworker Steel Bow, shown below. This is a one – piece, very effective muscle builder. Here is the Bullworker site.
Let’s forever banish the idea of spot reduction from our fitness conversation and/or thinking. It will not happen, though we may try Cool Sculpting out of desperation. But that is not an exercise solution. It seems to me to be similar to implants to improve our appearance. Different subject matter.
Common sense workouts, done within 30 minutes to an hour, should yield the results we seek. But be sure to include calorie control. My practice is to limit calories to 2000 per day.
Let me again emphasize this: doing a circuit workout, going from one exercise to the next with little rest between sets, is a very worthy program to try. Use light dumbbells or other forms of resistance and keep moving. The result will be a great heart workout, with the added benefit of muscle toning. Do this and control calories – and you will see positive results. As Joe Namath said, “I guarantee it”.
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