Debunktion Junction. Lesson 2: The Fiction of “Spot Training”

“I like my legs exactly the size and shape they are, I just want to tone up my arms.”

“I only need to lose weight in my belly. How many crunches should I do for that?”

Guys… I’m really sorry, but… you’re hoping for things that aren’t technically possible.

After watching untold hours of workout commercials and infomercials, I was pretty well convinced that spot-training oneself was an actual physical possibility.

“Want to get rid of that stubborn belly fat? Buy now!”

“Tone your legs like the stars!”

Please don’t hate me, but I need you to know: Your body is not capable of losing fat in only one spot. It’s just not.

I spent decades 100% convinced that ‘feeling the burn’ in my core meant that calories were being torched from that precise spot.  It took some serious Come To Jesus talks with the resident trainer before I could wrap my head around that not actually being the case.

We have been told (over & over & over & OVER again) that our bodies can work like magic. Want to have the arms of Halle Berry, the butt of JLo & the abs of Cameron Diaz? No problem! Pay here.

But our bodies are not magic. If they were, plastic surgeons would all be out of a job.

Want abs that show AND want to keep your nice, juicy, Beyoncé bootie? I hope you have Beyoncé’s parents, too!

Tragically, it’s all about genetics.

If you have a layer of fat over your belly, doing crunches isn’t going to specifically eliminate your belly fat. It’s going to help eliminate over-all body fat, and it’s going to build your abdominal muscles, but it’s not going to target the fat that’s right on top of the abs.

Calorie burn happens on a systemic level. Losing weight happens to your body as a whole.

I don’t mean to imply that you can’t get the visible abs that we all crave. You can! But, if you think you can keep the boobs and the butt as juicy as ever and just crunch your way to a zero-percent-body-fat core… um… it’s probably not going to happen. Unless you’re genetically blessed, in which case I’m jealous like WHOA.

(Ducking to dodge the things you all want to throw at my head right now.)

Gyms are full of clients who have certain ideals in mind – curvy or straight, muscle-bound or sleek. Go for it! Do your best! Just don’t be too angry at your trainer when they’re unable to rewrite your DNA.

If you have a belly pooch, you’re going to have to lose weight all over if you want to banish the pooch. Crunches won’t do it.

If you want slimmer thighs, you’re going to have to lose weight all over to slim them down. Squats will give you great muscles when you dig them out, but they’re not going to specifically burn the fat that’s right on top of them.

Rude, huh? I know. I’m as pissed about it as you are.

If this is news to you, I feel your pain.

Think I freely sacrificed my boobs? Because I didn’t choose to spot-train my thighs, belly, and arms? I can assure you, I did nothing of the sort. My DNA mandates that if I want to keep my size 4 jeans, I need to make my peace with the death of the DD’s.

We all have our own cross to bear.

*sob*

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