WORKOUT MYTH: Spot-Reducing for Slimness


You can twist and crunch all you want, but you're not going to be able to sore-core your way into washboard abs on spot exercises alone.

Contrary to what those infomercials and magazine ads indicate, targeting a problem area of your body for exercise won't zap those stubborn fat deposits.

"The body doesn't work that way," says Michael Feigin, trainer, nutritionist and owner of the Fitness Guru company in Brooklyn. "Fat is the body's storehouse of energy and it is burned from all parts of the body. "

"Using wraps or creams or particular exercises aimed at problem areas won't serve to reduce fat in those areas," says Feigin. "What works is a well-rounded balance of exercise, nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices."

Tiffany Boucher, a personal trainer at the West Village Equinox, adds, "There are particular exercises that can, over time, add greater tone to a particular area -- like running for legs, or Pilates for abs -- but that is only when those exercises are performed very consistently and in conjunction with proper diet."

Ruben Belliard and Alex Fell, owners and instructors of Warrior Fitness Boot Camp, say the myth of abdominal spot-reducing is one they consistently encounter with their clients.

"The key to lowering your body fat is burning calories and eating right," Belliard says. "And the best way to expend calories is through cardio. So spending most of your workout time on abdominal exercises doesn't make sense."

Belliard and Fell suggest working on larger muscle groups -- like the quadriceps, upper back, chest, shoulders and hamstring and buttocks -- to burn more calories and lose overall body fat.

"Riding a bike, running, swimming or doing the elliptical works all of these large muscle groups," they say. "It's also important to add a bit more resistance with strength-training exercises."

What concerns or confuses you when it comes to working out? 

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