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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Weight loss and spot reduction: Fact or myth?

Spot reduction is the attempt to remove fat from a certain area of the body through exercise of specific muscles

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
August 4, 2021 1:30:24 pm
weight loss, spot reductionWhat's your idea of weight loss? (Source: Pixabay)

A lot of people work extremely hard to lose excess weight and lead a healthy, active and fit lifestyle. However, with an overwhelming amount of information related to weight loss and fitness available, it’s very easy to get misguided and believe in certain myths. These false pieces of information can, then, take one further away from reaching their fitness goals. Therefore, it’s very important to follow only those fitness and health advice that are backed by experts in the field.

Agree fitness experts who say that one of the most common myths people tend to believe during their weight loss journey is the possibility of ‘spot reduction. In simple words, it means the attempt to remove fat from a certain area of the body through exercise of specific muscles in that desired area. However, fitness and health experts say it’s “impossible to do so”.

“Spot reduction is a myth. If you lose a kg, you lose a kg from the entire body — from head to toe,” celebrity fitness coach Vishwas Awasthi tells

Agrees Dr Prashant Mistry, a physiotherapist, who says that “although targeting fat loss in specific areas of the body would be ideal, the theory of spot reduction has not been proven effective by scientific studies”.

He adds that spot reduction doesn’t work because it “usually targets muscles that are relatively small through exercises that are relatively insignificant in terms of enhancing overall fitness, strength and energy expenditure, regardless of how hard you ‘feel the burn’ when training them”.

“During exercise, the free fatty acids and glycerol used as fuel can come from anywhere in the body, not specifically from the area that is being exercised,” he adds.

Awasthi, instead suggests alternative ways of losing weight. “Add strength training twice or thrice a week, do not skip your cardio, add mobility drills before or after your workout and ignore eating outside,” he said.

Dr Mistry shares that opting for multi-joint exercises can also help lose fat as they “recruit a greater number of muscle groups, giving your metabolism a better boost” than single-joint exercises. Some of these exercises include squats, deadlifts, lunges and shoulder presses.

“No one can really know what their body is capable of achieving. The only way to know how much you can change your body is to set goals and take consistent steps to reach them. Perhaps your goal is to reach a healthy weight, improve your overall strength, or increase your cardiovascular endurance,” he concludes.

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