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Spot Reduction: Can It Be Done?

One of the most common “goals” people have when they start their fitness journey? Spot reduction. You know what I mean. Someone wants a flatter stomach, or skinnier legs, or slimmer arms. Plastered all over magazines, infomercials, and social media are advertisements such as, “Eat this superfood for a flat stomach!” and “4 minute abs!” My response to all of this mumbo-jumbo?

Don’t fall for the hype!!

Unfortunately, spot reduction, and 4-minute abs are not a thing. You can’t do a million crunches and expect to have a flat stomach in just a few weeks. It doesn’t work that way! The areas that you lose/gain weight from is largely due to genetics, age, and sex. Which bring me to my next point – in order to lose weight, you must burn more calories than you consume. This could either be achieved by exercising more, eating less, or a combination of the two. Doing a million sit-ups for a flat stomach or doing 100 donkey kicks for a rounder butt isn’t going to get you there. So what ACTUALLY works?

1. Calories in = Calories Out

Take a look at your diet. Want to lose weight? You need to burn more calories than you consume. Looking gain weight? Consume more calories than you expend. Download an app like MyFitnessPal to track your calories and learn what an actual serving size looks like.

2. Proper Weight Training

To the women reading this article, repeat after me: Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky! What it will do: make you stronger, make your clothes fit better, give you more energy, and give you that “toned” look so many people strive for. Focus on compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, rows, etc. Not sure how to lift weights? Hire a personal trainer! They’ll be able to point you in the right direction. Also, stop doing crunches! Instead focus on core exercises that build stability and strength such as planks, side planks, ab wheel roll outs, and hollow-body holds.

3. Hop off the Elliptical

There’s no need to spend an hour an the elliptical watching reruns of That Seventies Show. Spend that hour more wisely by doing interval work or HIIT.


Now, this isn’t a definitive list. There are many factors that go into weight loss, weight gain, muscle gain, etc. The major take-away though? Not everything you hear on TV or see on Instagram is magic. The media loves to feed us lies and deception and it’s our job to uncover the truth.


Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from Nerdfitness.com

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