The term spot reducing refers to burning fat stores from a specific area of the body (for example: abs, hips or arms). The body stores fat in response to a combination of too many calories and not enough physical activity. It begins to burn fat when the opposite happens. The only question is, will the body help you get rid of your problem areas or will it burn fat from wherever it chooses?
What is Spot Reducing?
You have more than likely seen people attempt spot reducing at the gym. Spot reducing is an attempt to get the body to burn fat from a specific part of the body. If someone has an excessive amount of body fat and is doing sit ups, they are attempting to spot reduce.
Does it Work?
Unfortunately, spot reducing does not work. The body stores fat during periods of calorie surpluses and burns fat during periods of calorie deficits. We can control whether or not we gain or lose weight, but there is nothing we can do to control where the body stores/burns fat from.
How to Reduce Body
Burning body fat is simple. All you have to do is eat less and move more. The starting point to any body fat burning routine is to figure out how many calories your body needs each day. This is important because the only way your body will get rid of fat is if you burn more calories than you eat each day.
For example, if your body burns 3,000 calories per day and you eat 2,500 calories per day, you have created a 500 calorie per day deficit. Since your body needs 3,000 calories to survive but is only getting 2,500 through food, it is forced to look for that extra 500 calories from non-food sources, typically body fat. This calorie deficit (over an extended period of time) is what causes weight loss and fat burning.
There are a few ways you can estimate your body's calorie needs. The easiest and quickest way is to use the calorie calculator which will estimate your calorie needs based on your gender, size and physical activity level. You can play with the physical activity level to see just how much extra energy your body needs with more exercise. It's important to monitor and adjust your calorie intake as the calorie calculator is just an estimation. Weigh yourself on a regular basis and if you are not losing weight at an acceptable rate, start moving more or eating less.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of products you can buy (creams, pills, diets and exercise routines) that promise to help you spot reduce all of your problem areas. All of these products are a waste of money. There is only one way to get rid of your problem areas: eat less, move more.