Now I know that I have probably roped you into reading this with an eye catching title but this is a question (or a variation of one) that I am asked so frequently. So I thought – what a great opportunity for some education!

‘Trouble spots’

We all have our ‘trouble spots’. Those areas we wish we could selectively slim down or change in shape. Some of us spend more time focusing on these spots than others, but most women are much more critical of their own bodies than they are of eachothers.

Being a physio and having expertise in exercise, I am often asked ‘is there an exercise you can give me to get rid of my [insert ‘trouble spot’ here]?’

Unfortunately the answer is “You can’t spot reduce”.

What is spot reduction?

Spot reduction is essentially a myth that you can attempt to remove fat stores in a specific area of your body by performing exercises that target those areas.

Why does’t it work?

We now have multiple studies to show us that exercising a specific muscle or group of muscles has no effect on the amount of fat stored there. So even though ballet squats might do a wonderful job of strengthening your quadriceps and adductor (inner thigh) muscles, they will have no impact on the amount of fat that is stored in your thighs.

So what can you do about it?

Remember that we are all made differently.

Some of us carry our weight on our hips, some in our arms. Some of us balloon with stress and some of us look our slimmest when we in fact feel our worst. Our bodies are also constantly changing with every life (and hormonal!) event : babies, menopause, marriage, grief… So try to focus on going with the flow, eating well and exercising regularly so that you are in the best position to adapt and cope.

Keep exercising

Even though you can’t selectively slim down ares of your body with exercise, exercise certainly can reduce your fat mass. It’s just that the fat loss will be over the entire body and will be determined by other factors (such as body type, diet, health etc)

Try to ‘switch off’

Change the channel whenever you hear claims that a product or program will ‘tone your thighs’ or ‘slim your waist’. Remember, it’s a gimmick, it’s a myth and it’s not constructive!

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