What’s fact versus fiction when it comes to spot targeting. Here’s exactly how to lose fat and get fit in the areas you are desiring.
“Man, I would really love to lose that belly fat”
“Are my legs ever going to slim down”
“How can I gain muscle in my arms to look fit”
^I’m not putting words in your mouth, I’m just grabbing some of the more common questions I receive, which all have to do with spot targeting.
Let’s backtrack… what is spot targeting??
The term spot targeting refers to identifying a specific area on the body to alter in some way. Many people use spot targeting interchangeable with spot reduction even though the two do not mean the same. Then, there’s also the term spot toning, which I will get into too.
SPOT REDUCTION: picking and choosing a “problem area” on the body to selectively lose fat in that location (ex: lose belly fat or fat on the inner thighs)
SPOT TONING: picking an area or muscle group on the body to strengthen and sculpt
Sidenote – I dislike the word “tone” because there really is no such thing as toning a muscle. We can only strengthen and grow a muscle. I’ve heard women say “I don’t want to get muscular I just want to get toned.” I get what they mean but it’s important to understand that there really is no such thing as “toning.” That’s just another myth perpetuated by magazines and marketing lol.
If this is news to you, I’m sorry… spot reduction is false, fiction, a myth. Fat loss is a systemic process and one that we cannot control. We do not have the ability to pick and choose where we lose fat. For example, doing crunches will not make you lose belly fat just like doing squats doesn’t directly lead to losing fat on your thighs.
The body chooses where it stores and burns fat and the order it does so. Often times, the first place you gain fat is the last place you lose fat. We all seem to have an area on our bodies where we store fat. For me, it’s my abdomen and inner thighs. For my girlfriend, it’s totally right to the thighs and booty (I always tell her I don’t think that’s a “problem” but she disagrees lol).
So… if we have belly fat or fat we want to lose in our butt, how do we do that if spot reduction isn’t real? Read on!
HOW TO LOSE FAT IN PROBLEM AREAS
We now know that we cannot pick and choose where we would like to lose fat on our bodies, but that doesn’t mean fat loss isn’t possible… it certainly is. The way to achieve losing fat in your “problem area” is through focusing on overall fat loss.
Overall fat loss is achieved through two things: 1) training and 2) nutrition
Training: I personally find the best weight loss comes through weight training. Weight training builds muscle best and muscle acts as a metabolic furnace, burning calories just to sustain itself. So, not only will you be burning calories during the workouts but also the muscle you’re creating will burn calories at rest! Double win!
Nutrition: this is where it’s at when it comes to fat loss. Personally, I rather eat healthy for all my meals in a day than make it to the gym because I know that’s where I see results most. If you’re struggling with fat loss, look here first! You can always use my Eat Your Way Lean Meal Plan as a guide to see results through food alone.
I also just want to link some past blog posts I’ve written on this topic in case you’re really interested…
4 Things you NEED to Know about How To Lose Fat here
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss (+which one you really want!) here
Do I Focus on Losing Fat before Getting Fit? Cardio or Weights?! here
HOW TO GAIN MUSCLE IN DESIRED AREAS
The amazing thing about spot targeting is that it IS possible with muscle. We CAN pick and choose where we want to build muscle on our body. I love that!
We can grow our biceps, build our booty, see muscle definition in our legs, etc. All of that can be achieved through workouts and in my opinion, most effectively through weight training. I don’t want to say much more here other than for you to know spot targeting is possible with building muscle mass. All of my workouts will help you achieve that.
THE BOTTOM LINE & SOLUTION
If you skipped everything above, here are the takeaways:
- Spot reduction (i.e: selectively reducing body fat in a desired area) is a myth and not possible
- Overall fat loss through training and nutrition is the way to lose fat in a “problem area”
- We can pick and choose where we want to build muscle and sculpt our body