Can You Really Spot Reduce?

By Jen Jewell

“Jen, can I just make my thighs smaller? Everything else is fine but I just need the extra fat on the back of my legs gone!”

I get questions like this on a weekly basis.  

My answer? I WISH! If I could wave a magic wand around certain areas of my own physique and just have the excess body fat magically disappear, I certainly would. That’s basically what people are requesting when they say they want to spot reduce a very specific section (and only that section) of body fat.

Now, before you think I’m being a mean girl about this, hear me out–we ALL have certain areas of our physiques that are going to be more prone to holding onto excess body fat. 

When I trained for my first competition, I noticed big changes happening within the first couple of weeks of my training. My shoulders got leaner, my arms looked more defined and my waist dropped inches, but my hips and thighs? Nope, they didn’t look one bit different than they had on DAY 1! Was I frustrated? You bet! You know what I had to remind myself? I simply had more body fat in those specific areas (legs and glutes) than I did in my upper body and my waist, so of course, those results were going to be more noticeable right off the bat because they were already the leaner areas of my physique.

It’s pretty simple: if you store more body fat in certain areas, those areas have MORE TO LOSE, so results are not going to happen quite as quickly or may not be quite as noticeable at first as they seem to be elsewhere on your physique.

So we can’t spot reduce and magically melt away body fat, but we can make some serious progress!

Focus Your Workouts 

One thing I like to remind my clients is that they can focus on that particular area a bit more than they do others.

For example, once I started to train my legs two, sometimes three times a week, results started to happen a lot faster than they had before. I was able to change the overall shape and appearance more quickly than with just once a week leg days and even though they body fat in those areas still wasn’t melting away at a rapid pace, the extra day each week was helping out.

I was stronger, had improved the overall shape and definition of my lower body and building this lean muscle helped me crank up my metabolism even more, which in turn helped me shed more calories and burn more body fat.

Embrace Variety

Another major tip is to make sure you are including a wide variety of exercises in your training. It may seem so obvious, yet so many of us (myself included at times) fall into a training rut and do the same exercises each session. In order to spark a change, we must continually challenge our bodies.

Work the Angles 

Add in different exercises throughout your workouts, make sure you are targeting that muscle group from a variety of angles and don’t be afraid to do higher reps in one workout and drop sets or lower reps in another workout. Just to continue to shock your body and push your muscle past your threshold in a different way from one workout to the next. Implementing a variety of training protocols helps to ensure that your muscles are constantly challenged and ensures that you won’t get stuck in a training rut or hit a plateau.

So no we can’t spot reduce but we can make some serious changes with some consistent efforts and dedication!

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