That fucking blue ab roller. I wanted one SO BAD when I was a teenager. I was a skinny-fat piece of shit. I hated how I had a donut of fat around my midsection.
This blue ab device thingy worked the midsection. So, upon using said device, my body would suck the fat right outta' my midsection. It all seemed so simple.
I'd be ripped in no time. I'd be able to talk to girls. I'd be able to make eye contact with other humans. I'd be able to to take my shirt off when swimming without a boulder of anxiety suffocating my psyche.
I'd be… new.
But there were a few problems with this grandiose plan of mine.
First, I was shy as fuck. I didn't want my parents to know how much I hated my body. I was afraid to ask them to buy me one of these ab things. I thought they'd interpret my asking as, ”
That fucking blue ab wheel. I wanted one SO BAD when I was a teenager. I was a skinny-fat piece of shit. I hated how I had a donut of fat around my midsection.
This blue ab device thingy worked the midsection. So upon using said device, my body would suck the fat right outta' my midsection. It all seemed so simple.
I'd be ripped in no time.I'd be able to talk to girls. I'd be able to make eye contact with humans when conversing. I'd be able to to take my shirt off when swimming without a boulder of anxiety suffocating my psyche.
I'd be… new.
But there were a few problems with this grandiose plan of mine.
First, I was shy as fuck. I didn't want my parents to know how much I hated my body. I was afraid to ask them to buy me one of these ab things. I thought they'd interpret my asking as, “Look how fat I am. I don't like me. It's all your fault. You aren't good parents.”
Second, even if I got over this psychological hump of mine, things still wouldn't have worked as planned. What I was trying to do is known as “spot reduction.” Spot reduction is the idea that you can influence where your body loses fat.
And. Uh. Well. Let's just say that if you're in a similar spot, trying spot reduce, then you're in the right place. Unless, of course, you're not ready to be told that spot reduction is about as real as Chunk riding Falkor.
The logic behind spot reduction
Spot reduction. The belief that you can target where your body loses fat. You want a tighter tummy, so you're going to do certain exercises that target your stomach fat.
(Let it be known that “tummy” is not my word of choice. I don't have enough linguistic leeway in my self-loathing persona to use the word “tummy” without slitting my cognitive wrists. I wanted my the baker's dozen of sweat laden lard rolls to stop suffocating my belly button when I sat down. That's how I rolled.)
These “certain exercises” work the area you want to lose fat from, and are usually done for higher reps — you feel the burn. In other words, if you want to lose belly fat, you need to do crunches for days. Or any infomercial contraption that promises a tighter, toned midsection.
This is the logic behind spot reduction. I'm going to shit on the reality of this logic, so I hope you brought some toilet paper. But I will admit: it does make sense. For a second.
Why spot reduction makes sense
Spot reduction makes sense for two reasons. The first being that the human brain is slave to feedback. When you do an exercise for high repetitions, there's a ton of feedback. You feel the burn. The pump. You have no choice but to think, “Something must be working. I feel it happening. There's a sensation right here.”
The second reason spot reduction makes sense is because words matter. The phrase “burn fat” is common parlance. See that word? Parlance. Don't tell me I'm not smart.
When you do an exercise for higher reps, you feel the burn. Burn fat. Feel the burn. Fat must be burning.
Time to take that shit I mentioned earlier.
Why spot reduction doesn't make sense
I'm going to start my shit atop the pump and burn feedback aspect of high repetition exercise. These sensations are byproduct of the lactic anaerobic energy system HOLY SHIT SCIENCE WHERE DID YOU COME FROM (don't be affurd).
This energy system uses glycogen within working muscle to replenish energy. Glycogen is stored carbohydrates. Gylcogen is NOT body fat. So, when you feel the burn, you're not exactly making crème brûlée out of your body fat. You're churning through carbs.
The phrase “burning fat” a misnomer. The “burning” part doesn't actually refer to the burning of fat.
That's point uno.
Point dos is a cruel reminder of what happens when you confuse sensations with desired outcomes.
Smash your stomach with a sledgehammer. I'm sure you'll feel “something” afterwards, assuming you didn't rupture your spleen and die. Feeling “something” doesn't mean you're burning fat; sensations don't always mean what you want them to mean.
How fat loss really works
Pretend you are doing a real fat loss exercise. Like, uhhh, walking. Whatever. It doesn't matter. So you're walking. Your body is breaking down body fat. Minions inside of you are “burning” fat with physiological blowtorches.
Unfortunately, you can't direct those minions to certain areas inside of you. They'll burn whatever fat they want to burn. Could be the fat in your neck. Could be the fat in between your toes. Could be the fat underneath your unibrow. Who knows.
Your body is operating under a completely different code of conduct than you are. Your body doesn't give a fuck about six pack abs and looking good naked. It cares about survival. It'll do whatever it feels best… TO SURVIVE. Your body will take the fat from wherever it feels is “safest.”
It's like trying to pour out a particle of food floating in a glass of water. You tip the glass, hoping the particle flops out first. But it doesn't. It goes to the bottom. Because the particle doesn't give a fuck about what you want. It's abiding by the laws of physics, not your wannabe psychic powers and menial desires.
Your body (not you) chooses where it's going to lose fat.
Sexual innuendos make fat loss fun
If you're trying to spot reduce body fat, you're better off believing in soul mates because you can't, to any reliable degree, tell your body where to burn fat.
Want your love handles to go away? Side crunches won't help. Want your bat wings to go away? Flapping your arms around won't help.
If doing millions of repetitions to feel the burn had a significant local effect on body fat levels, then you'd be able to identify everyone's masturbation hand with great ease.
If you want to burn fat in certain areas (and, if you're skinny-fat, you probably do *cough* moobs *cough* love handles *cough*) the only thing you can do is put your body in fat burn mode and cross your fingers.
And here's the joke…
Those crazy ab infomercial contraptions (and crunches) won't put your body in fat burn mode. At all. So you're just wasting your time. And money.
If you're okay with giving money away for no good reason, be sure to email me. I'll send you my PayPal account details. You can make us both happier people.
The only scientifically proven way to spot reduce body fat
But wait. I forgot.There is one way to spot reduce body fat. It's backed by science, too. But it's really powerful, so you have to agree to something before we go any further: you can't take legal action against.
For any reason.
This is for informational purposes only.
Responsibility is in your own hands.
Spot reducing body fat is a two step process.
First, grab the sharpest knife in your kitchen.
I'm outta' here.
Even I lost respect for myself after that bait and switch.
But it does feel good.
There are some studies showing that localized fat loss is possible. Most of them are meh. One shows that spot reduction occurs more as a result of strength training rather than fat loss training. But this study was done on untrained subjects. Empirically, trying to spot reduce is a loser's battle.