Can you burn fat in specific areas?

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Can You Burn Fat in Specific Areas?

Belly fat, love handles, tight gap, flabby arms, double chin – these are the most common problem areas women obsess about. They go out of their way to train those body parts to make them look toned.

Various crunches, triceps extensions, squats and leg raises – all those ridiculous exercises just to look like that girl on a cover of a magazine. STOP!

I’m going to do you a favor (you’re welcome), I’m going to answer a very simple question – can you burn fat in specific areas?

The answer is absolutely NOT!

I know, I know, it’s not convincing, but I have actual scientific evidence to back me up. Researchers at the Los Lagos University took 7 men and 4 women to train their non-dominant leg during a 12 week period, 3 times per week. Here’s what they concluded.

In conclusion, the training program was effective in reducing fat mass, but this reduction was not achieved in the trained body segment. [1]

Another study conducted by University of California among tennis players, came to a similar conclusion.

There was, however, no significant difference in the thickness of subcutaneous fat over the muscles of the arm receiving more exercise as compared to the arm receiving less exercise. These studies provide direct evidence against the validity of the concept of “spot reduction.” [2]

Plus, if you use some common sense and imagination you’ll be able to visualize how ridiculous we would look if we were able to burn fat in our problem areas and leave the rest of the body untouched.

Six pack abs featuring flabby love handles. Oh, what a sight!

Targeted exercises are a bad idea

There’s a plethora of information on the web targeting problem body parts, especially the ones I mentioned in the beginning. I’ve read articles that encourage people to do chin exercise in order to get rid of their double chin.

However, all of those exercises are worthless. The basic concept of weight loss is forcing your body to use stored fat as fuel by creating a caloric deficit. Meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume. For more detailed information I advice you read my 7 principles of weight loss.

What such exercises have in common is they are horrible at burning calories. In order to burn a decent amount of energy per session you probably need to do a thousand reps per set.

Do you really want your workout to last 5 hours?

Thought so! Then comes the next question.

Why is there so much misinformation?

The answer is also simple. Most websites are supported by ads. Generally ad programs pay for impressions (views) and clicks. There’s a decent amount of search volume for keywords targeting body parts, so a lot of large websites tend to abuse that to make money.

But it does not stop there. Some people even go as far as creating specific exercise equipment exploiting the “spot reduction” fallacy to make money of peoples’ ignorance. Remember Shake Weight?

And this is just one example. There are hundreds and hundreds of similar products, which only burn your money. The sad part is that I think this will never stop.

Unfortunately, most people want a quick fix. They don’t realize that it took them years, or even decades to accumulate fat. It will take some time to lose that fat, but it will be much quicker, especially when you know what you’re doing.

In a nutshell

To sum up, burning fat in a specific area is impossible. Spot reduction exercises are ineffective at burning calories, which make them completely useless.

If you want to get rid of your double chin, love handles, flabby belly, arms or anything else you absolutely must do so the old fashion way – eat real nutritious food and exercise 3-5 times per week. There are no shortcuts.

Written by Mark Forge

Mark Forge is the founder of FatForge - an information website dedicated to busting nutrition myths, scams and lies while helping people turn their weight around. If you want to lose weight I suggest starting here.

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