The dream fitness myth I would love to kill off once and for all is the myth that you can spot reduce any part of your body. The idea that regardless of our body shape, size, fat percentage or fitness level, that you can magically shrink that one body part that annoys you and turn it into perfection.
There is no such thing as “spot reducing”
I don’t want to ruin any fitness dreams here, but you know that spot reducing is a myth, right?
All that work for those crunches and sit ups are not in vain. You are gaining strength, fitness and a ton of balance by doing the work of tightening those abs.
Having a flat, 6-pack popping midsection means losing the fat that covers it up.
As I lost over 80 pounds, one of the first things I noticed was my waistband getting loose. This is an amazing feeling and one of the most exciting milestones in any dream fitness journey. You never forget the day you can drop your pants without having to undo that button.
As you gain fitness, and see definition in other parts of your body, it’s totally natural to want every muscle to pop out. You’ve been working them hard, and you want that hard work to show.
Getting the hard work on your abs to show takes losing a lot of body fat.
The reality check is that you can’t lose body fat in one place on your body. That is the crazy idea behind spot reducing and it just does not work.
Losing body fat happens all over your body. Everywhere. All at the same time.
You can’t lose fat only in your butt or thighs. You can’t keep your boobs (sorry ladies) and cut your waist size in half. And you can’t lose ONLY the layer of fat covering your hard-earned 6 pack abs.
To add insult to injury, it seems that the midsection is typically the first to gain body fat, and the last to become lean.
The reason I find this myth so compelling is that the fitness and weight loss industry has made billions on the concept of spot reducing. How many ab-rolling, thigh- busting, electrode-muscle-contraction-working gadgets have you seen over the years?
It is surprisingly easy to get sucked in to the beautiful results the fitness models are showing off as the “after” results of using these products.
Confession: My dream fitness includes a fantasy of having 6-pack abs
You’ll notice I mentioned “fantasy” because after losing 80 pounds, there are certain parts of the body that just can’t fight gravity, and my midsection is one of them.
I’m not giving up on that fitness dream, just put a realistic spin on it.
With the right light, you can almost make out an ab!
So how can you go for the ultimate fitness dream of tight abs? Ignore the fitness myth and work on this instead.
Eat lean – Keeping your diet full of real food that you don’t have to open a box or bag to get to is a key point to losing body fat.
Burn the fat off – Cardio exercise will burn off fat. Find something you love to do that increases your heart rate, and ideally uses the big muscle groups on your body, and do that. Do that daily for at least 20 minutes.
Make muscles – Giving your body more power to “burn it off” will help you keep it off. Muscles are the engine that help burn the those calories off.
What healthy dream fitness option will you choose this week?
Now you know spot reducing is a myth, I hope you use it as an excuse to stop fixating on your “problem” area and start focusing on your health.
You always have choices to make when it comes to your health. Which one are you going to pick this week?
Go get your fit on – Heather
Heather Montgomery is a fitness writer, triathlete, and serial entrepreneur who is devoted to sharing what she has learned about becoming a triathlete after age 40. She uses her Metabolic Training Certification to help other women struggling to get fit in mid-life. She lives and trains in Santa Rosa, California, the new home of the Ironman triathlon. You can find her biking the Sonoma County wine trails.
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