Is Spot Reduction Actually Possible?
If you have a strong background in health and fitness, or if you’ve ever worked with a personal trainer, I’m certain you’ve heard over and over that it’s impossible to “spot reduce” body fat. Heck, I’ve been telling my clients that for years as well… “you can’t reduce body fat in a specific area of your body by exercising that specific area… fat is metabolized off the entire body.” For the most part, I still believe that to be true, because it has been my experience and most of the research backs it up. However, I have been reading about and hearing more from other experts about research that suggests we may be able to better target our fat loss efforts using certain methods.
There are medical methods of spot reduction including surgical liposuction (suck out the fat with a steel suction pipe), laser-lipo (using lasers to heat and shrink fat cells), cryolipolysis (freezing fat cells to death), and mesotherapy (injecting certain compounds to destroy local fat stores). But we’re talking about using nutrition, exercise, and topical substances to fine-tune fat loss. Am I skeptical? You bet! But it’s my job to be a “Learn it All” rather than a “Know it All”, so I’m not going to discredit this potentially powerful information without checking it out thoroughly. Besides, in my experience, it’s usually a good idea to challenge the mainstream beliefs. Let’s take a look at what the heck I’m talking about.
Exercise Does Affect Your Hormones… But Does That Affect Specific Fat Sites?
One well recognized method that could be viewed as “spot reduction” has been popularized by renowned strength coach, Charles Poliquin. The theory is that the areas on your body where you tend to store more fat are related to specific hormone imbalances. Therefore, by manipulating your diet, exercise program, or supplement regimen, you can influence these hormones in your favor and effectively “spot” reduce that part of your body that was being affected. Poliquin calls this Biosignature Modulation, although other professionals have similar programs by other names. Find out more about this at the link below:
Another popular method many people have used in an attempt to target tough-to-lose fat zones on their bodies, is the application of specialized topical creams and gels. The theory is that the ingredients used in these topical lypolytic formulas (including Yohmibe, Caffeine, Theophylline, Aminophylline) would be absorbed into the area where you rubbed them and facilitate the shrinkage of fat cells locally. Although most experts dismiss this as false marketing and wishful thinking, there are still many who claim to have achieved true measurable results.
Check out these blog posts written by two well respected experts, Dr.Clay and Timothy Ferriss:
Still other studies have suggested that by performing high repetition exercise for a specific area of the body can lead to shrinkage of fat cells in that area by increasing heat and blood flow to that area. Interestingly enough, there seems to be some research evidence to demonstrate this, although I’ve never experienced it first hand… yet! I’m skeptical, but curious. Learn more about this effect by following these rather convincing links below:
Do any of these spot reduction techniques hold weight? I don’t believe so… but then again, I don’t know “for sure”. At this point I would not recommend any of these methods to a client.
Until then, there are already proven fat loss solutions that you can depend on, including HIIT, MRT, intelligent nutrition, and adequate rest. Now I want to know what YOU think about all this. Is there really such a thing as Spot Reduction, or is it just a myth? Is any real evidence of it or are there just money-grabbing scams? Do you have any personal experience with it? What’s your opinion? Please leave a comment below… I look forward to hearing from you, starting a discussion, and sharing some ideas!