Spot Fat Reduction. Is it really achievable?

Look at the fittest person in your gym and most of them have one thing in common, which might surprise you. Many believe they could and should look better and will pick a body part which needs improving, often pointing out that there’s pockets of fat around the stomach, lower back, arms. It’s a surprisingly common question: how do you shift fat from a specific body part?

The age-old myth that performing 100 ab crunches will reveal the elusive “6 pack” is certainly something that a lot of people still believe is the solution. Here’s where we break these myths.

To target and reduce fat in a specific body part area is impossible. Simply put, there is no way to only reduce the fat you store on, say, your abdomen or your chest. You can reduce overall body fat and therefore reduce the body fat in that area you want to improve.

To target and reduce fat in a specific body part area is impossible

Depending various external influences, such as your vocation, there are are locations on your body where fat is stored for longer (researchers found that cells produce even more fat when subject to prolonged periods of ‘mechanical stretching loads’ – such as the weight we place on our body when we sit down all day). Typically for men this is around the abdomen and women around the hips and thighs and fat in this area is particularly difficult to shift.

Referencing the 2015 finding from the British Journal of Sports Medicine, you can’t outrun a bad diet, stating “members of the public are drowned by an unhelpful message about maintaining a ‘healthy weight’ through calorie counting, and many still wrongly believe that obesity is entirely due to lack of exercise.”

What do you need to do?

There are ways you can deal with the problem and it will take time, patience and willpower. With the right nutrition and training program you can lower your overall body fat percentage and, eventually, the problem areas will improve as a result. You might see your body shape change considerably during the process and we recommend taking progress pictures to see how your body composition changes over time.

Reducing sugar, processed and similar foods will help reduce body fat

Willpower will be the toughest element to any body improvement process. Why? Most people end up on a daily fixed routine food cycle, especially at work.  Worse, the more you eat, the more you need to maintain the balance before you start to get hungry. When you start on your body improvement training programme, your body desires more food, not less and it’s too easy to eat the wrong food, to avoid feeling hungry, which means you never shift the body fat. See “Recommended Reading” below for more information on food, your body and fat loss.

Here’s our conclusion. You may be performing rounds and rounds of burpees in a HIIT session, in order to lose body fat. During this period you may actually be burning fat stores in, perhaps, your ear lobe as it takes time, persistence and the right food balance to make a difference. Consistency and hard work, over the period of a few months, is the key to achieving body fat loss goals and reducing your overall body fat percentage.

It is possible to make a difference. One of the co-founder’s of Short Motivation, Chris, lost 17kg/37lbs (from 94kg down to 77kg) over a 6 month period through a combination of balancing a much-improved balanced food plan, undertaking an extensive fitness regime and much dedication. Arguably the dedication was the hardest part. But, despite losing reducing nearly 20% in body weight, pockets of fat still remained, particularly in the lower back. That’s the determination you’ll need and over a sustained period of time. Be prepared.

Recommended reading

At Short Motivation, we have a number of nutrition articles which will be worth reading to take this further:

Belly Fat – what is it, what causes it and what to do about it
Counting Calories
Optimising Digestion for Weight Loss

 Have you managed to lose weight and reduce your body fat? Any tips for Short Motivation users? We’d love your feedback. Let us know in the comments below.


About Author

Olly is the Short Motivation fitness and training advisor. He is a level-3 PT instructor, specialising in TRX and kettlebell instruction, and manages his own gym in the United Kingdom.