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Debunking the Spot Reduction Myth and Achieving Real Fat Loss

If I had a dollar for every time a client pointed to an area on their body and asked, "How do I lose fat here?" I would be a rich man.

The fitness myth that fat can be reduced from specific areas by doing exercises targeting those areas is why you see patrons of commercial gyms doing endless ab crunches without visible abs. Let's clear up some confusion surrounding this myth and provide some actionable tips to help you improve your fitness journey.

A lot of what our bodies are capable of in terms of fat loss, muscle building, and achieving a lean, muscular appearance is determined by genetics. No, I’m not saying that genetics are the reason I don’t look like Derrick Henry, and I’m definitely not saying that if you don’t have great genetics, you shouldn’t train hard or eat well. What I’m saying is that we don’t get to choose where we lose fat first. However, with consistent training and proper recovery, you can absolutely transform your body.

If your goal is to lose weight in specific areas, the only way to achieve that is by maintaining a caloric deficit over an extended period. This will result in overall fat loss, but you can’t determine where the fat comes off first, even if you did 1,500 ab crunches a day.

Where some confusion arises is in the bodybuilding world, where athletes frequently build muscle in certain areas and then lose fat to achieve a more defined muscular appearance on stage. For example, if your goal is to have visible abs, a great strategy would be to train your abs with progressive overload, increasing weight and reps each week over the course of a few months to build muscle in that area. Then, after eating in a caloric deficit for an extended period, you may achieve visible abs without needing to be as lean as you would before you focused on building muscle in that area.

A holistic approach is the most effective strategy for losing stubborn fat. Find a type of training that you love, such as strength training, bodybuilding, or CrossFit, and focus on improving each week. Next, work on your diet: ensure adequate protein intake, reduce alcohol consumption, and consume multiple servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Consistency with these changes over months or years will yield results you’ll love.

Reaching your fitness goals takes time. Depending on your goal, you may need to change a few habits along the way to get there. But I believe in you, I know you can do it, and if you need some help along the way, don’t be a stranger. Shoot me an email at, and I’ll help in any way I can.

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