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Spot Reduction – Why this fat reducing theory is false

Spot Reduction – Why this fat reducing theory is false

I had a request this week to blog about losing fat around the thighs and stomach.  That makes perfect sense and believe me I wish this blog could explain how to target those troublesome areas. I apologise in advance for the disappointing news that follows!

What is Spot Reduction?

It refers to the myth that fat can be reduced in chosen areas of the body simply by exercising the muscles in that area.  Almost every week someone will ask me for specific exercise to do juClass photo 3st that.  If planking could give us a flat belly the population would be in a constant state of, well this!


Thinking that we can target a specific part of our bodies in an effort to lose a few extra pounds from that area will lead to disappointment.

Here’s the Science

We cannot override how the body works and understanding a little more will help us to stop wasting time trying.  Each fat cell has a fat known as triglycerides within it.  The muscles cannot use this fat until it is broken down into glycerol and free fatty acids which happens when we exercise.  These then travel through the bloodstream to the muscles providing them with energy.  This energy is then released as heat which is why we use the term ‘burning fat’.

Unfortunately for those wishing to spot reduce, the fats get broken down all over the body during exercise and not in one area alone, no matter what the exercise is.

An interesting study carried out on tennis players proves this fact.  The results found that there was no significant difference in the thickness of fat (under the skin) in the arms despite the obvious difference in the work put through the arm which held the racquet.

Where will we lose weight from first?

Because this depends on a number of factors, it is possible that those annoying areas will lose weight first, you just have to be a lucky!  Whether you are a man or woman is key and then your genetic profile comes into play.

Overweight men tend to be apple shaped as they store fat around their abdomen.  Women are more pear shaped as the fat heads to the hips & thighs.  This a biological determination, another thing we cannot control.

The bad news is that as these areas have the most fat to shift it can take a while.  The good news is that whichever body part your genetics dictate you gain weight first, it is usually the same area that will lose it first.

Combined Exercise and Healthy Diet Required

Weight loss is a whole body thing.  Exercise will help in more ways than I have time to write about but it can’t give you results on its own.  Reduce the fat with a healthy diet to uncover the amazing work you have done with your exercises. If you need help with understanding if your diet is counteracting your efforts please have a look at this page:

Does this topic raise any questions in your mind? If it does then let’s talk about it.

About the Author

I have been involved in fitness all my life but never been hugely competitive. Entering the world of fitness instructor, personal trainer and nutrition advisor, I leant how simple it is to stay in shape without becoming a gym fanatic or elite athlete. I am neither, by the way!

So after 17 years of managing the swimming school and taking rowing classes at Newton Abbot Leisure Centre, I decided it was time to do something that would give me a different type of job satisfaction. Offering a service that directly influences someone’s wellbeing, seemed a good choice.

So, I studied the mechanics of exercise versus body shape and began to understand why so many people who have exercise routines that sometimes seem excessive, never see the changes they are hoping for. This led me to I set up Tessfit which tackles this conundrum. It is a real mix and match offering between nutrition and weight management advice, fitness classes and personal training. A combination which is proving to be highly successful for everyone involved.

I now work from home and run my classes and indoor Personal Training sessions at Venture Fitness in Newton Abbot. It is a great balance and not only do I love my work, I also get to spend more time with my family which is invaluable.​.

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Tessfit brings a completely fresh approach to fitness, TessFit Logoexercise and nutrition in Newton Abbot.

Based on the belief that the best exercise is the one you enjoy, Tessfit is all about enjoyment.

Tessfit is designed for both men and women of all ages.

- Fitness without the gym
- Nutrition without the confusion
- Pilates classes with the Tessfit twist!
​- Body Logic classes designed and delivered as only Tessfit can


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Newton Abbot, TQ12 1NB

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