SPOT REDUCTION: THE MOST ABSURD MYTH THAT HAUNTS YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE.
When we are trying here to bust a "Myth" about "spot reduction", it's kinda important for us to know what "Myths" are. Myths are just misconceptions, misunderstandings or even misinterpretations. Yes I know, a lot of "mis-ing" going on there. But now that we sort of know what "myths" are, a very smart person who thinks, well where do these myths come from? Well, in fitness, these myths come from what "they say". Who are these "they'' I talk about, you ask? These "they" are nobody but know-it-all people around us, it is people who don't have firsthand experience but surely "know of" someone who passed on the myth to them, it is the internet, AND, wait for it, our gym instructors. I know, shocking right?
So this is going to be my attempt to bust one of many fitness myths that exist. Now, before we get to it, I also need for you guys to promise me that you will ACCEPT that what I am saying here is not just bunch of BS. And if you don't, well it is understandable. You see these myths are so deeply engraved in our minds by these "people" around us, that sometimes it just is too difficult for us to accept that they are all just lies. And that's okay. It still isn't going to stop me from telling you the truth. And fret not! I am going to back my claims with facts.
So what is Spot Reduction?
Spot reduction is a misconception that fat can be targeted for reduction from a specific area of the body by exercising that part/group of muscles. In fact, many types of equipment are designed and available in our hardcore gym section which targets the specific muscles like inner thighs, outer thighs, upper abs, lower abs, etc, for spot reduction. But the truth is YOU CAN’T SPOT REDUCE.
Research and science have agreed to the fact that spot reduction is a myth. It is not possible to target and reduce a specific body part. You can only reduce your fats from entire body by proper diet and exercise.
To put it out there plain and simple, you cannot spot reduce. Those 200 crunches each day, the 50 sidekicks each side, the leg lifts, etc may seem like an easy way to lose the fat or tone down, as they need no equipment and just some lying down space, but they aren't serving the purpose they promise to. So why does this myth exist? We the most common association we make of 'fat' is with 'burn'. And so we all get to try to burn fat and are told that the best way to feel this burn is by crunches, sidekicks, leg lifts, etc.
But I am here to tell you about the real deal as told by Rujuta Diwekar, (Bollywood's) well-known nutrition and exercise science expert.
She explains that, when you contract your muscle endlessly, the rectus abdominis in crunches or the abductor in the sidekicks, a by-product of the muscular contraction is produced called lactic acid. This lactic acid is what gives you the burning sensation post the crunches and sidekicks, and has nothing to do with the fat on top of the muscle. In fact, the main difference between muscle and fat tissue is that muscle has the property to contract and relax, whilst fat has the property to sag. It can neither contract nor relax. So when you lift your legs up or chest and shoulders of the ground, the fat just sits there as the muscle Overworks and produces tons of lactic acid, begging you to stop the contraction and pain. Yes, when the concentration of lactic acid increases, it signals the brain to stop the activity producing the 'burn'.
I know I too had an "OHHH" moment right about now. But the question here now is should you never do crunches at all? Well, of course, you should, provided they do not become the focus of your workout routine and your precious gym time. So as long as you do 2 or 3 sets of 10-15 reps, you are good to go as that way you are moving your muscles in that specific angle and are not overworking your joints. Do not let crunches become the focus if your aim is to lose weight! I mean, let's get real here. If you are getting on a weight loss journey, it only makes sense to do it the right way to get the results you want.The idea here is to go find yourself a workout that focuses not just on your abs but your whole body.