Almost everyone would like to change certain parts of his or her body:
- “Lose the belly.”
- “Have legs like Carrie Underwood.”
- “Achieve that six pack look.”
It does not help that there are so many gadgets, supplements, and exercise programs feeding us with the idea that we can do just that — spot train.
Spot training, or spot reduction, is the simple idea that you can lose weight/fat and/or increase muscle definition in just certain areas of your body.
An Age Old Fitness Myth
Spot training is one of those fitness myths that falls into the realm of “No pain, no gain” or “Go hard or go home.”
It’s really up to your body. Your genes, hormones, body type/composition, diet, and a zillion other factors determine where and when the fat comes off.
A 2015 study compared results of women who focused on diet changes only to those who made dietary changes and added abdominal strengthening exercises. Results showed that both the exercising group and the non-exercising group saw almost identical results.
All participants lost body fat, but the women who added abdominal exercises were no further ahead at reducing belly fat.
What You Should Do Instead
Just because there is no merit behind spot training does not mean we can’t work hard to improve those areas of your body you wish to target.
Here are some things you can do to make the process less frustrating:
Get to the Gym
There is so much more to squats and snatch than looking good while doing them. These whole body compound exercises involve multiple muscle groups — both large and small — giving you far more bang for the buck.
Let’s break down my favorite — the squat.
This complex exercise works the glutes, hips, thighs, calves, and even the core. Compare that to the famous Buns of Steel leg lift, which only works that outer thigh of one leg. Now throw in an overhead press with the squat — uffda; our bodies are on fire!
Clean Up Nutrition
We have all heard the phrase, “you cannot out-exercise a bad diet”.
There is no amount of crunches that will give you sculpted abs if your diet is unhealthy. Nutrition is a huge piece in (re)shaping our bodies. Eating a balance of protein, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies will give you a strong advantage in reducing your overall fat.
Here are some tips:
- Eat protein at every meal
- Don’t be afraid of fat
- Cut back on alcohol and/or soda
- Stop sneaking snacks
- Limit processed/sugar filled foods
Drink Plenty of Water
Water helps improve your skin’s elasticity, aids in your metabolism, delivers nutrients to your body, and so much more. It’s crucial that you drink enough of it!
Embrace Your Imperfections
The things we dislike about ourselves are complexes, not actual facts.
If we embrace these things and learn to work with them, we take the steam out of their negativity. Remember that this journey (however frustrating it may seem at times) is really about improving your health and happiness! Focus on being strong, healthy, and full of energy.
Skip the Spot Training . . . Not the Gym