Stubborn belly fat
In a perfect world, we would be able to directly target that specific stored fat. Excess storage in the thighs? Squats and lunges for days. Excess in the abdomen? Crunch your way to a six-pack.
Unfortunately, the existing research is fairly clear that we are unable to "spot reduce" specific body fat to any significant degree. When we commit consistently to proper nutrition and consistent training, body fat will be lost from throughout the entire body, rather than one specific area—but not in predictable patterns. Men, women, and all of us as individuals store and distribute body fat differently and lose it differently.
But here's one thing we all share: as a result of our hard work, fat cells begin to shrink, but not disappear. You may lean out more in one area versus another based on the number and size of fat cells in that area. Your trouble spots most likely possess larger fat cells, and more of them, both of which are out of your control. This is why it takes more time to "clean up" that specific area.
Now, don't walk away from reading this thinking all is lost. The truth is, you can absolutely get rid of that belly bagel you've been holding on to for years. It will, however, require patience and diligent nutrition paired alongside consistent exercise. It might also require you changing your mindset from one of "fat loss" to one of "muscle gain." Our readers have told us for years how that simple switch makes all the difference. Why? Muscle burns fat simply by existing. Just as importantly, it adds shape and enables you to do more high-quality training.
Rather than wasting energy stressing about the uncontrollable distribution of body fat, use that energy and focus to hone in on what you can control, like what you put into your body and how hard you train. Keep focused, keep consistent, and one day, you'll be surprised by how much of a difference you made.
* Ratings as of article's date of publication