I hear it almost every day. “I want to lose fat in my ___________________ area.” You can fill in the blank with almost any area on the human body and it has been asked! The truth is, spot reduction is a myth. In fact, spot reduction is one of the most common myths in exercise science. Society and infomercials most certainly capitalize on this myth and sell people on the “fact” that their product will help you lose inches from your hips, butt, and thighs. WRONG! The only thing you lost was money.
A large part of the misunderstanding is that when we focus on training certain areas, the muscles in that region undergo hypertrophy, or tissue growth. This causes the muscle to enlarge and take a more firming shape, thus giving the brief illusion that the muscle has replaced the fat. This actually did not happen. Muscle cannot turn into fat and fat cannot turn into muscle. The goal is to build one, and lose the other.
How do we effectively do this? Fat is lost from the ENTIRE body as a result of consistent exercise and diet. 30-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise 3 times a week followed by 2-3 days of resistance training. Your diet? Well, in theory it should be every day of the week, but indulging in a guilty pleasure once or twice a week won’t break the bank as long as you remember moderation! So the next time you are tempted to reach for your credit card after watching that enticing infomercial, save yourself some money and disappointment and hit the gym!