You've probably heard someone say their arms, waistline, or thighs need to lose fat. A lack of realistic beauty standards and deceptive marketing campaigns have led many people to believe that spot reduction is possible with exercise. The term spot reduction refers to targeted fat loss and the belief that specific areas can be exercised to reduce body fat.
But what if we told you that single-region fat loss isn't worth time and effort? In fact, some studies suggest the whole endeavor is impossible. This article will examine the science behind spot reduction, different ways to measure body fat, and how smart body fat scales can help you achieve your fitness goals.
Science of Fat Loss
Understanding how our bodies work can help us figure out why spot burning fat might not be effective. A person has fat stored in their fat cells in the form of triglycerides which can be used to create energy for the body.
But before being burned for energy, triglycerides must be broken into smaller components called free fatty acids and glycerol. Once they get the signal from the brain, they can enter our bloodstream. We then use these free fatty acids and glycerol as fuel during exercise, but they can come from anywhere in the body, not just the area we’re targeting.
Moreover, different factors that affect fat loss may be holding you back from losing weight. Naturally, you have the power to change some of them, but others are just out of your control. Genetics, medications for chronic illnesses, and aging are variables you cannot change. However, yo-yo dieting, lack of sleep, exercising, and caloric deficit (diet) are things you can alter starting today.
Combining mindful nutrition practices with regular exercise is the best way to reduce body fat and weight if we want to achieve long-term results.
If you want to lose weight, the number of calories you burn should exceed the number of calories you consume. You can achieve a sustainable energy deficit by eating the same amount while exercising more. Moreover, working out regularly will also boost your metabolic rate, helping you burn calories more effectively.
Aside from exercising, diet is vital. A well-balanced meal consisting of protein, whole grains, and a portion of fruit and vegetables is all you need to reduce body fat and achieve sustainable results. Thus, find a combination of exercises and a diet you are comfortable with, and you will see results.
Spot Reduction: Fact or Fiction?
There is no scientific evidence that spot reduction is effective. One study showed that 12 weeks of core workouts on 40 overweight women did not affect belly fat loss. Similarly, abdominal exercises did not reduce belly fat in a study of 24 people over six weeks.
But it isn't just core workouts that aren't effective for losing weight. Findings show that upper body resistance training led to some fat loss in a study involving 104 participants over the course of 12 weeks. However, fat loss affected the entire body, not just the arms.
Some scientific research indicates that spot reduction does not work effectively in burning fat in specific areas because there are too many variables. Still, a few studies suggest that fat loss can be increased in targeted areas. In general, people who exercise tend to lose fat all over their bodies, not just in one particular area.
The practice of spot fat reduction is unlikely to be effective at eliminating fat from specific parts of the body. However, toning the underlying muscles can help reduce fat in troublesome areas. Although you cannot choose where you lose fat, you can focus on areas where you want to appear more toned and defined.
Another thing you must remember is that toning exercises won’t burn a lot of calories. For instance, if you do lots of ab exercises, you will gain stronger stomach muscles, but unless you reduce your weight, you won't see a difference in that area or lose belly fat. Therefore, you should combine targeted toning exercises with cardio activities to slim down.
Measuring Body Fat
Most fitness enthusiasts want to know their body fat percentage, especially since too much can result in cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and increased waist circumference. Here are several ways to measure body fat:
- Hydrostatic (underwater) weighing — To measure your body fat with this method, you must be completely submerged in water. Although it is a trusted procedure performed in shallow water, some people may find it uncomfortable to exhale underwater.
- Bod pod — This egg-shaped device measures body volume and weight to calculate body fat. The pod also estimates your resting metabolic rate (RMR), but to achieve accurate results, you must wear specific clothing.
- Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) — DEXA system is a scan that uses X-rays to scan your bone mineral density and body composition. It can tell you the location and the amount of your belly fat. However, a DEXA scan exposes your body to low radiation.
- Skin calipers — This is the most accessible way to determine how much body fat you have. To get to the underlying fat, a technician pinches a layer of skin with the device. The biggest pro of using skin calipers is that they can give you a clearer picture of your visceral fat. On the other hand, the professional measuring your fat needs to undergo rigorous training to do so accurately.
- Body fat scales — Body fat scales are similar to standard scales in appearance only. However, the technology they use is another matter entirely. Namely, body fat scales have electrodes positioned underneath your feet or on the handheld device. Although they are pretty affordable, and almost every gym has them, some are not very accurate.
That said, since smart body scales have improved immensely over the last few years, measuring your body fat and other components has become easier than ever. One such device is the INEVIFIT Smart Body Fat Scale which utilizes auto-calibrating sensors to provide you with the most accurate results.
Employing the latest technology, INEVIFIT’s scale measures eight key metrics, including:
- Body mass
- Bone weight
- Body fat
- Muscle mass
- Body water
- Visceral fat
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
- Body mass index (BMI)
The scale comes with a smartphone app that you can sync with Apple Health, Fitbit, and Google Fit. Moreover, it supports multiple profiles, so your entire family can use it to stay healthy.
Most people want an easy and quick method for losing fat, particularly around their hips, thighs, bellies, and arms. Unfortunately, many studies have shown that spot fat reduction is ineffective. The good news is that there are other proven methods of losing body fat.
To burn fat, get a defined body, and achieve weight loss, a healthy diet and calorie-burning activities and resistance training are a must. And INEVIFIT’s scales can be your loyal companion to precisely measure your body fat and ensure you are going in the right direction.