Someone recently asked me if it there is any truth to spot reduction. For those who haven’t heard this term before, spot reduction involves performing exercises to target a specific part of the body in an attempt to lose weight in that particular area. Despite this popular misconception, there is no such thing as spot reduction. Fat stores are not associated with the muscle groups they surround. For example, simply performing ab exercises will not cause you to lose weight in your abdominal area. Likewise, performing tricep extensions will not get rid of that extra arm flab.
When you exercise, your body burns calories from the areas with the most calories to give. That is usually the area with the most excess fat, but your body’s definition of excess fat and your definition may be different. You cannot specifically determine which part of your body provides calories that are burned during exercise. You can, however, determine the amount of calories you burn by altering the intensity and type of your exercise. For more on how how your body handles calories, read Fat Burning Made Simple or our Calorie Primer.