The Skinny on 'Spot Reduction'

Contrary to what the infomercials suggest, when you are trying to lose weight there is no such thing as “spot reduction.” You cannot specifically tell your body where to burn fat. The only way you can get rid of a trouble spot is to lose weight all around.

No doubt, there are plenty of people in the gym or at the park trying to lose belly fat by performing 500-plus sit-ups each day. But here’s the truth: If an individual has poor eating habits, that daily sit-up routine only strengthens and build abs under a layer of fat. Until the fat is lost, all that hard work is invisible.

Time-Tested Weight-Loss Success

Fortunately, there are weight-loss routines that have stood the test of time and outlasted the fads. To lose fat anywhere on your body, follow a program involving both cardiovascular training and calorie reduction.

One of the most compelling pieces of evidence about weight loss comes from a mid-1980s University of Massachusetts fitness study. The research disproved the myth of spot reduction by using subjects who participated in vigorous abdominal exercise for 27 days. The study required that each participant complete a total of 5,000 sit ups during the trial. Fat biopsies were obtained from the subjects’ abdomens, buttocks and upper backs before and after the exercise program.

Results revealed that fat decreased similarly at all three sites—not just in the abdominal region. Researchers concluded that the ideal program for fat loss combines proper diet, weight training and cardio exercise. And remember: before starting this or any exercise routine, first consult your physician.

About the Author
Georgelena Saborio
is an exercise physiologist and supervisor for the Employee Fitness Department at Baptist Health South Florida, a position she has held for 10 years. Ms. Saborio received her bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and is a Certified Exercise Physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine. At Baptist Health, she provides and oversees all fitness events and the Employee Fitness centers. She has served as a member of the Chamber South Wellness Committee for four years, assisting and providing fitness programs and education to its members and the community.

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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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