Truth or fiction: you can do targeted exercises in order to “spot reduce” your tummy for a toner, tighter look. Answer? Fiction! But the good news is this isn’t a bad thing.
Debunking the Myth of Spot Reduction + A Pro Tip for a Healthier Midsection
Spot Reduction Myth
Of all the snake oil sales pitches you can expect to find in the mass media, “spot reduction” (the idea that you can purposefully lose body fat in one particular area) is probably one of the most widespread—and most inaccurate.
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The fact is, you just can’t do a bunch of exercises for one given area of the body and expect to lose an increased amount of fat in that area!
Of course, women and men tend to store body fat in different ways and different areas of the body thanks to genetics. For women, expect to find more fat around the hips and buttocks. For men, expect to find more fat around the waist and inside the body surrounding organs. But no matter what your genetic tendency is for where and how you store body fat, your body works as a unit—a carefully balanced and multi-system machine made up of hormones, neurotransmitters, connective tissue, blood and lymphatic fluid, and all other sorts of components. These all work together in order to dictate how much (and where) fat is stored on your body.
So, what does this mean for you if you have some extra fat around your midsection you’d love to lose?
Try this: for a leaner, healthier, stronger core, focus on a leaner, healthier, stronger you. Through a keen focus on your overall health, you can and will see the aesthetic changes you desire.
Healthier Midsection – Think Whole Body Health
Attention to details is important when it comes to adopting a healthier lifestyle (e.g., what’s in your food, how good your sleep is, how intense your workouts are, etc.). But avoid becoming too zeroed in on specific areas of your body, whether it’s your stomach, arms, or someplace else.
Instead, try to remember more often that you’re eating, moving, and sleeping better for the sake of your overall well-being, which ideally means your workouts will target not just your core, but also your arms, legs, lungs, heart, and central nervous system.
Remember, too, that it’s not just about exercise. As the saying goes: “Abs are made in the kitchen.” While a bit tongue and cheek, this quote actually hits on an important point: if you really want to lose excess body fat (on the stomach and elsewhere), you need to make sure your food choices are in line with your goals. So, avoid white and refined carbs, eat loads of healthy fat, lean protein, and fiber-rich veggies, add some fruit and whole grains, and drink lots of water. Your body (and your belly!) will thank you.