Friday Fact or Fiction: Training Abs Every Day Can Burn Belly Fat


VERDICT: FICTION - You can not spot reduce fat with exercise

We've covered spot reduction so many times you're probably sick of hearing it. But some people that never get tired of believing in it. You can't do it! That includes stomach fat. Ab workouts can only define visible abs. So if you can't see your abs now, you won't be able to see them after weeks or months of doing Ab workouts every day.

Woman with Defined Abs
Model Photo

Studies show that resistance training can only target muscle not fat. A spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise put it well in an article for CNN: "Don't focus on a body part. Try to get them all."

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Fat cannot be controlled because it includes individual cells not fibers like muscle; they do not grow. They only increase in number. Muscle tissue can be broken down and built back up bigger with resistance training. This helps to burn more calories at rest but there is no existing way to target any specific area of fat aside from surgery. Building more muscles in your abdomen would be somewhat counterproductive.

For women, fat is stored mostly in the lower body so fat will come from there first. Natural curves will go first because they are not meant to be there. A single pound of fat yields 3500 calories so places that are the most abundant in fat will be pulled from first. However, new comes before abundant. The fat that has most recently accumulated will go before your giant thunder thighs. Sadly, those pounds you've been trying to shed your whole life are the most stubborn. The midsection is usually the last to go. Also, areas like the "love handles", pudge below the naval, and saddle bags are stubborn because these areas house important organs and need to be insulated.

It doesn't really matter how well you try to predict where fat will burn from, but it will help you be less depressed when it doesn't come off your least favorite body part quick enough. What you need to realize is that if you want to target a certain place, you need to simply decrease your body fat percentage substantially. If you are 30% body fat, you would need to get down to below 20% to see definition. Most women with flat stomachs are lower than that depending on their metabolisms.

Summary: If you want to have a flat stomach, you need to have a generally low total body fat percentage.

It's not the end of the world. Just because the easy way out has proved to be a dead end, doesn't mean you can't reach your goals. Be realistic and positive and in time you can reveal the beautiful body that lies beneath and you don't have to do a single crunch!