As much as we want it to be true, it turns out that the idea of spot reduction – training a specific part of your body– is a myth. We all carry fat in different parts of our body, and although you can lose weight through careful attention to many factors, there is no quick fix. Read on for all the answers to your questions about fat distribution, fat loss and stain reduction.
Why do I carry fat in specific places?
We all have different body shapes – some of them carry weight around their bellies. while others have an "hourglass" shape, where you carry weight in your chest and hips. The distribution of body fat is partly determined by environmental factors, such as alcohol consumption and cigarette use, but it also has a strong genetic component.
Research suggests that the distribution of body fat has a heritability of up to 60%. For those of us who are a bit shaky about our high school biology, this means that 60% of the variability in the distribution of body fat in a population is due to genetics. So, while diet and exercise certainly affect the distribution of body fat, you may get a body shape similar to that of your family members.
Does it matter where I wear fat on my body?
No matter how you get there, not all body fat distributions are created equal. Where you carry your weight can affect your health. For example, the ratio between the circumference of your waist and the circumference of your hips is used as anfor obesity-related diseases. The more fat you wear around your waist (apple-shaped instead of pear-shaped), the greater the risk of heart disease. Waist-hip ratios of more than 0.85 for women and 0.9 for men give people a significantly increased risk of obesity-related diseases, including metabolic diseases and heart disease. If you are concerned about your waist-hip ratio, talk to your health care provider. And don't despair – researchers have suggested that a diet low in processed foods may lower your ratio.
How does fat loss work?
Now that we've determined why people carry fat in different places, you might wonder how fat loss actually works.
When you lose weight, it means that your body gets fewer calories than it burns. The body therefore turns to fat reserves to catch up on the extra energy. When your body burns fat, it leaves your body much like you would think – through sweat, urination and carbon dioxide when you exhale. However, you cannot determine exactly what fat is being burned on your body. You may find that you lose inches in your belly if you really want to shed fat on your thighs.
What is stain reduction and why does it not work?
Spot reduction is also referred to as targeted fat loss, and the idea is that if you exercise a part of your body sufficiently, you will lose fat in that specific part of the body. For example, the idea that doing squats reduces the fat on your buttocks, or doing triceps dips, will remove the extra fat on your arms.
Over the years, a lot of researchers have investigated whether spot reduction really works, and they & # 39; have reached the general consensus that this is not the case. This is mainly for two reasons. One,will not automatically make you lose weight – it all depends on whether your energy intake is lower than your burnt energy. Moreover, as I said above, we cannot really determine which parts of our body lose weight first.
In one study, it was not shown that abdominal exercise only reduced belly fat. Another study suggested that it doesn't happen with upper-body resistance training either. And we're out of luck with the legs – a lower-body-focused training program reduced subjects' total body fat percentage in a third study, but not in the trained body segment. Several other researchers have come to the same conclusion – unfortunately, spot reduction is simply not real.
Still determined to have a flatter stomach? Don't let the myth of spot reduction keep you from exercising – a balanced diet,that includes strength training and cardio, and a healthy dose of self-love will help get you where you need to be.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.