Everybody Lies About How to Flatten Your Belly

Basic exercises will strengthen your abs, but they won’t affect the layer of fat on your abs. Likewise, no amount of leg exercise will make your thighs slimmer. This is called “pinpoint reduction,” and no matter what you see in headlines and tweets about shrinking specific body parts – from flattening your belly to some “amazing” exercises for slender arms – pinpoint exercises may be good for strengthening your muscles, but they will. do not live up to their unscientific promises.

For example, this old article on health.com is titled “The 10 Minute Love Handle Workout.” It starts with the fact that traditional ab work will not rid you of your love handles (true), so you need to target your obliques in a targeted manner (well, that’s not better). This is followed by a brief clarity:

However, it is a myth that you may notice a decrease in fat loss. Yes, you can target your obliques for maximum tone, but fat is lost through cardio and diet. We’ve all heard what abs are done in the kitchen, and (unfortunately) it’s true. You can do crunches until the cows get home, but unless you shed excess fat through a healthy diet, your toned abs will never be seen. So, here’s the best strategy for shedding your curb love handles:

The strategy has three steps. One of them is the diet, described in four words: “Eat lean. Eat cleanly. Thank you. The second is a mention of what you should do cardio. The third is the promised workout with love arms. Of these three, only the first two can reduce your love handles. And yet the title and the main part of the article are devoted to the third point, which is impossible.

Or grab this article from shape.com “Best Inner Thigh Exercises for Women.” They asked 16 trainers to “share their stroke for lean, contoured hips and thighs,” even though there is no movement that could make your thighs slimmer. (You can train a muscle to enlarge it.) The first seven trainers obediently suggest exercises that strengthen the inner thighs. Goal Eight: “If you want to slim down your thighs and look tighter, then your goal is to really lose weight because you can’t pinpoint reduction.” But then he still suggests the exercise, like everyone else.

These examples are older, but it won’t take you long to find countless examples of these frames every day. I’m sure trainers, many of whom are impeccably qualified, understand the difference between fat loss (which happens all over the place) and muscle strengthening (which you can target). Some of the others mention that they chose exercise that burns a lot of calories, which seems like a hint of the truth. But articles are usually written with a headline anyway that directly contradicts the facts about exercise physiology. So consider this a reminder: exercise is good for your overall health, but you can’t target fat loss the way you think you are on the cover of the magazine.

This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated in 2020 to follow the Lifehacker style guidelines.

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