Spot Reduction – Fat Loss Myth Or Fat Loss Possibility?

What Is Spot Reduction?

Spot reduction, or regional fat loss, is the general term used to describe fat loss in specific areas due to exercise, such as the abdomen, thighs, or arms. Given that some parts of the body tend to store either 1) more fat overall, or 2) stubborn fat that refuses to disappear even when leaner, the idea of reducing fat specifically at these locations for aesthetic reasons is extremely appealing. Spot reduction has been given a bad look in the fitness industry due to the nature of exercise programs promoting the concept.

Spot reduction abdominal training

Spot Reduction Through Exercise? 

Does a 15-minute ab workout causing belly fat to melt off and building 6 pack abs sound familiar to you? The idea of using exercise for spot reduction has been a big marketing gimmick of the modern fitness industry. Many a fitness influencer has been built upon well sculpted, lean abdominal muscles and short workouts promising to create the same result. However, is spot reduction through exercise a gimmick or a ploy, or is it actually possible to do this through exercise?

Is Spot Reduction Scientifically Sound?

The study of spot reduction in the exercise science field has been going on since the 1970s. More recent studies have shown that spot reduction is possible. Paoli and colleagues in 2021 conducted a study testing the effects of circuit training combining on regional reductions in body fat. di Palumbo and colleagues in 2017 conducted a study testing the effects of resistance training followed up by low intensity cardiovascular exercise on regional reductions in body fat. Both groups found that either methods in the experiment could induce a spot reduction effect. A massive caveat, however, is that in both studies, participants all lost total body fat mass. This brings a question; is it really spot reduction if I’m losing fat from everywhere anyway? How does this make it different from any other fat loss program?

Spot Reduction – Highly Impractical For Most

Spot reduction is a highly impractical quest for most individuals. From these studies, trying to lose fat specifically in one region of the body without a large change in overall body fat mass appears to be impossible. A reasonable takeaway would be this: investing more effort into trying to spot reduce a body part during a fat loss program may potentially result in some extra fat loss. This can be achieved by performing some low intensity cardio after directly training the body part you want to spot reduce. As always, the effect is likely to be small and unnoticeable.

Sustainable Fat Loss Through Exercise

Instead of searching for a lazy, magical spot reduction exercise plan, it is definitely better to produce a tailor-made, sustainable fat loss program. The exercise component of a sustainable fat loss program often comes with 3 exercise components:

  1. Resistance Training
    Resistance training includes bodyweight exercises and lifting weights such as dumbbells and barbells at the gym, like in one of the many Gym Pods available across Singapore and worldwide.
  2. Cardiovascular Training
    Cardiovascular training includes specific cardiovascular training that can be done outdoors, such as running, cycling, and swimming, or cardio machine or circuit training done in gyms, such as the Grit ENDURANCE and Grip PUMP workouts by The Gym Pod.
  3. Tracked Physical Activity
    Physical activity that we can numerically track, such as distance or time spent during brisk walking when moving from place to place, can add on to the calories you burn. Other types of tracked physical activity include the number of flights of stairs climbed and cycling from place to place.

Sustainable Fat Loss Through Nutrition

Nutrition is equally as important as training for sustainable fat loss. No studies have looked at specific protocols for creating spot reduction through nutrition thus far. Instead, look to incorporate a nutrition plan that fits your exercise and physical activity levels in your sustainable fat loss program. Some general nutrition tips for sustainable fat loss include:

  1. Higher protein intakes
  2. Higher dietary fibre intakes
  3. Drinking more water daily

Of course, if you do not maintain a caloric deficit in your diet, incorporating these tips would not help you create fat loss.

No-Nonsense Fat Loss With The Gym Pod!

Instead of trying to gimmick your way into spot reducing fat and failing, seek the guidance of a well educated personal trainer from The Gym Pod Academy. Our personal trainers will work with your lifestyle considerations to figure out a sustainable fat loss program! The Gym Pod’s 8 Week Weight Loss Program at Pasir Ris Grit Pod is a fantastic option for safe, effective workouts with friends to drive your fat loss progress and hit your goals!