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Spot Reduction, Too Good to be True?

Spot Reduction. Too good to be true?

One of the biggest misconceptions in the exercise industry is the theory that you can target a specific area of your body to lose fat in (spot reduction). An example of this theory would be if someone tells you that to lose fat on your arm, you can just do a lot of bicep curls and triceps extensions. This could not be further from the truth. While muscle building is site-specific (bicep curls can increase the size of the biceps muscle), the same is not true for fat loss. This theory has been floating around since as early as 1895, and has been disproven numerous times in research trials.

Examples of evidence based weight/fat loss success include:

  1. Eat in a caloric deficit. This simply means eating fewer calories than your body burns.
  2. Consume a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein and whole foods. Out of the three macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein), protein has the greatest thermic effect of feeding, which means that more calories are burned during the digestion of protein as compared to carbohydrate or fat. Also, higher protein diets help spare muscle loss while a person is on a reduced-calorie diet, so adequate protein is essential for those looking to lose weight.
  3. Lift weights and exercise to get stronger so your body holds on to muscle while you’re losing weight, and so that you lose a greater proportion of fat as you lose weight. Muscle has a higher need for energy than fat, so if you are exercising properly and consuming enough protein, having a higher muscle mass will lead to your body burning more fat calories. (Note: when I say “having a higher muscle mass” I do not mean you have to look like the hulk. It is takes a lot more than occasional muscle strengthening and a higher protein intake to noticeably increase the size of your muscles.)
  4. The more you move, the more you are using the muscles in your body, which means you are burning more calories.

Another note to take away is to trust the process. Losing too much weight too quickly is not healthy for your body. Think like this, one pound of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories. So in order to lose one pound of pure fat in one week, you would have to be at a deficit of 500 calories per day. To lose two pounds of fat would require you to be at a deficit of 1000 calories per day.

Here at RISE Wellness Programs, we are able to measure your resting metabolic rate which accurately tells us how many calories you burn in a day. Using these test results and an evidence based approach, we are able to provide you with sound nutritional advice and exercise programming to help you along the path to reaching your goals.