Debunking the impossibility of spot fat reduction and how you can spot reduce your spare tire and thunder thighs.


Growing up, I always saw those late night infomercials that would promise to improve my golf game, spot reduce fat and how I could have a full head of hair right from a spray can


Like who honesty is going to believe that you can spot reduce fat, that’s crazy talk!  The other two could be plausible, but spot reduce fat loss?  Child please


But if those infomercials were telling the truth, even a small, slightly distorted version of the truth, how freakin sweet would that be?  Let’s go back in time and hit the research to see if this snake oil can hold up.






I think it was Stephen Hawking that said “All great discoveries can trace their roots back to bro-science.”  I could be wrong but that definitely sound like a Hawking quote to me.


Back in the 60-70’s, guys like Arnold, Franco Columbu and Frank Zane all believed in spot fat reduction.  They would do hundreds if not thousands of crunches a day to reduce the fat surrounding their abs before a competition.  The white-coats (aka the scientist) dismissed this claim saying there was no scientific evidence to prove this and it was more or a result of pre-competition dieting and an increase in cardio.


So now we wait until the white-coats catch up.




A 2007 study actually confirmed that spot fat reduction was possible.  However, you still won’t see your abs if you are carrying around more than 10% body fat, but for the people hovering around that range it is very promising news.


Now if Arnold only had a PHD we could have solved this mystery 40 years ago. 


Spot fat reduction does not make a good workout.  It’s an add-on to an already solid workout and most importantly, a very clean diet.  Just doing thousands of crunches a day without working the rest of your body would be a complete waste of time.  The amount of fat loss that happens by doing just crunches would be like trying to drain the ocean one cup at a time.


So now we know that we can spot reduce fat, let’s look at why guys can’t lose their love handles and why that milkshake goes right to your thighs.  After that, we’ll be able to tackle this monster head-on once and for all.




The spare tire on guys and the butt and thighs of women carries a special breed of fat, we’ll call it stubborn fat.  In the fat hierarchy, it’s the top dog.  It’s everything normal fat is but superior in every way from an evolutionary standpoint.


Normal fat you can find in other parts of your body, are filled with beta receptors, is insulin sensitive and has blood flow.  Basically this means that if you diet and keep you insulin response low, the fat will be able to be released into the blood stream for use. 


Stubborn fat has more alpha receptors, is more insulin sensitive and has less blood flow than normal fat. 


The less blood flow does 2 things 1) restricts the amount of fat that can get to the blood stream for energy and 2) these areas stay colder. 


If the fat can’t get to the blood stream, then it can’t be burned and your thighs still jiggle.  And if the area is colder, less fat will be released.  Maybe those neoprene girdles were on to something.




When you consume less calories than you need, your body makes up the difference by tapping into your fat deposits. 


The body does this by sending a hormone signal to your fat stores which binds to those alpha and beta receptors we talked about earlier.  The beta receptors allow the fat to be released into the blood stream and the fat is oxidized to make energy.  Think of this whole system like sending an email.  It’s quick and easy.


The alpha receptors are the snail mail of the fat loss world.  When a hormonal signal is released, and it binds to the alpha receptor, it takes its sweet ass time to release the fat into the blood stream.  Which is why the fat in these areas never seems to go away, just like that package from Amazon that never seems to get there in time.




Beating the stubborn fat is going to require a little strategy.  Thankfully I did all the heavy lifting for you.  Here is how to spot reduce those troubled fat areas.

Rework your diet –

If you’ve been dieting a while, the stubborn fat is just going to be more of a jerk and not leave.  In this case you’re going to need to up your calories.  Do this by upping your calories by 200 every couple of weeks until you reach your BMR

When you diet below your BMR for too long your metabolism slows down due to the lack of leptin production.  By increasing your calories your metabolism will have to work harder and making our job easier.  I like easy.

If you haven’t been dieting, then I suggest you get on one.  The Slow Carb diet would be a very good start.

Do Fasted Workouts –

Fasting lowers the amount of insulin in your blood stream and the body has to tap into fat deposits to make energy.  A huge plus in our favor when trying to reduce fat.  Since the stubborn fat is very insulin sensitive, having a lower insulin level will make it more available to be burned.  Aim for workouts after fasting for 4-6 hours.

Do trisets –

It’s no surprise I’m a big fan of the superset.  Efficient, effective and simple.  But now let’s Emeril the superset and add an ab exercise to spot reduce those love handles or add some bodyweight squats for the ass and thighs.  A set of 20 squats or ab exercise to your superset will help get the blood flowing to those stubborn fat areas and well on your way to less jiggle.

For ab exercises make sure to hit both the front (crunches) and sides (Russian twist). 

By working the stubborn fat area, you are warming up the muscle under the stubborn fat which will make it more apt to be released for use.

If you know someone who could benefit from this article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter.  2 out of 3 people are obese today, let’s start a change.