“Use this one piece of equipment for 10 minutes and get rock hard abs!”

“Try this new piece of equipment and tighten and tone your inner thighs!”

“Get buns of steel by doing this one exercise over and over again!”

“I just went to lose 10 pounds from my stomach area!”

“I am going to do this one exercise so I can only lose weight in my arms.”

Spot training for your abs

All of these scenarios describe what has come to be known as “spot training” – The idea that “you can cause weight loss or muscle definition in one area without affecting other parts of the body.” (via Johnson Fitness)

The Belief

For years, infomercials have told us that we can target a specific area to lose weight with a certain machine, gismo, or exercise. They have made us believe that we can lose weight from a specific section of our body if we do what they tell us. We have convinced ourselves that we can focus on a problem area to shed those extra 5 pounds.

The Truth

Although the idea that you can lose weight from specific body part seems ideal, it’s unfortunately not true. Our bodies are not built to lose fat from a specific area of our body depending on an exercise we do.

The Science

In order to better understand why spot training does not work, you must understand how the body works.

Your body is made up of different layers: we are specifically focusing on fat and muscle. Everyone has fat within their bodies; it’s a layer in between your skin and muscle. Our bodies use the fat to fuel our bodies when we exercise, however we cannot specifically choose where the fat our body uses comes from. Think about it this way… we cannot tell our bodies “I am going to do these abdominal exercises and will use the fat from my the surrounding area to get through the exercise.” Your body will choose where it take the fat from because, truthfully, the body does not care as long as it gets the fuel it needs.

The Real Process

The truth about spot training - it doesn't work!If you have believed in spot training before, don’t be discouraged! We just need to change the process you go through in order to lose the weight you want. So, what can you do?

Let’s say you really want to lose weight in your midsection. Many of us believed (thanks to spot training) that we could do a bunch of sit-ups and lose the weight we want. However, if we don’t change our diets, we will build up strong abdominal muscles under a thick layer of fat and therefore the abs you have worked hard to achieve will never be seen.

In order to see the desired muscle definition, two things must happen 1) we must decrease the amount of fat and 2) increase the amount of muscle on our bodies.

Some great activities that we can partake in:

  • HIIT training/circuit training: get your heart rate up & get your muscles working in one workout. (Increasing your heart rate can boost your metabolism, which in turn helps you to burn fat.)
  • Cardiovascular & weight training: keep your heart rate up & build muscle. Even when you are doing cardiovascular exercises like running, you are building muscle. Make sure to get in different exercises to work the entire body.
  • Diet: change your diet to include less fatty foods. (this does not mean going on a diet, but simply removing things from our daily diet)

Again, don’t be discouraged that the highly believed myth spot training does not actually work. You can lose the weight you want by getting active!


We want to help you see the success you want. Contact us today to get started on the proper weight loss program.

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