Laura Flynn Endres
Can You Lose Fat in Certain Areas of the Body?
We all have that trouble area. Our underarm hang. Our love handles. Our bellies. Our upper thighs.
Know this: you're not alone in this struggle.
If it seems like the area you're most concerned about is also the area that is the last to shrink, you're not delusional. It's true. We all carry our excess body fat in certain areas, and it's determined by our genetics.
So, can you target that area? Can you do certain exercises to lose fat and tone up that region?
The harsh truth: Mostly, no.
I know, I'm sad too.
Now, that doesn't mean you won't find programs that promise to do just that.
There are thousands of articles, blog posts, social media ads, and videos that promise they'll help you do just that.
You know what that's called? CLICK BAIT.
Some even go on to say that no, you actually cannot do that, but their headline that promises it will got you to click on their article instead of the hundreds of competitors'.
Now, make no mistake, if you go H.A.M. on your trouble area, you will feel sore. That means you've targeted that area for fat loss, right?
No, but it does mean you beat the hell out of the muscles in that area, LOL. Chill, ok? Your triceps don't deserve your wrath!
I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, so let me pass the buck. This study and this study (and many more) back me up on this.
WHY DO WE STORE FAT?
Simple - when we eat more calories than we burn by exercising and basic metabolic functions like breathing and digesting, the extra calories have to go somewhere.
Enter fat cells.
It's easier than ever to gain fat because never before in the history of humankind have we had non-stop access to foods, both healthy and unhealthy.
Your next meal, snack, treat is only a arms-length away - or at worst, a quick trip to the closest convenience store (so aptly named).
Our ancestors didn't have unfettered access to all the foods of the world. They were limited to only what they could grow, raise, hunt, or trade for.
People ate the same few foods over and over and over and OMG NOT POTATOES AND DRIED MEAT IN WEAK BROTH AGAIN, MAW!
PUT SIMPLY: We eat too much. Regularly.
And we don't expend enough energy to keep up with our intake.
BACK TO SPOT REDUCTION
If you want to lose fat and get that lean, toned look - or at least in the body part you're annoyed about - you need to understand that these things must happen:
You can't pick and choose where you lose the fat. Your genetics determine that.
You need to maintain a calorie deficit - meaning, you consume fewer calories than you need to exercise and maintain basic functions. Only then will your body tap into excess fat stores to use as fuel.
You need to strength train. For the purposes of this post, lift weights so the muscles in the body part you're worried about get toned. But also? Having added muscle boosts your metabolism which facilitates weight loss, which is what you want!
There is no quick fix. Sorry, I wish it weren't true, but you gotta put in the work of dialing in your nutrition, lifting weights to develop your muscle definition, and do more cardio to improve your heart health making exercise and everything easier!
Dial in your nutrition by eating in a caloric deficit and eating nutritious foods, and add strength training to your programming, and commit to at least 12 weeks. You may see results sooner, and that will be motivating! But it takes time to get to those areas on your body where the fat is the last to go. Annoying yes, but as you get stronger and feel amazing, I promise you'll worry less about your trouble spots!
When you see programs that promise to help you reduce fat in certain areas of the body, don't be swayed. If it's a great program, by all means - do it! But if they promise you'll look like the fitness models portrayed in their marketing, remember, their genetics are different from yours, and that influences their results as well as yours.