Can You Lose Just the Belly Fat?

Exploring Intensity

Can You Lose Just the Belly Fat?

Targeted weight loss is the white whale for many people. While people may want to lose 10 pounds, they are usually hoping that all 10 drop from just their stomach or their thighs. So companies (think late night infomercial) promise people that diets or certain exercises will get rid of fat on a certain part of a body.

This is a red flag — it is simply not possible for you to command yourself to lose weight from only one part of your body. For example, from this article:

One study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that six weeks of intensive ab workouts did nothing to slim the exercisers’ midsections. A related study found that 12-weeks of one-armed workouts resulted in less loose skin in the trained arm, but zero fat loss.

But there is a difference between targeted weight loss and what simply happens when you work out. In fact, while scam artists may try and make you think that targeted fat burning can happen. Abdominal fat is one of the better spots for fat burning. And studies show that intensity is one of the better ways to burn this fat. Again from the article:

The higher the exercise intensity, the more of these hormones your body pumps out, and the more of that metabolically active fat you lose. (Some…research suggests that high intensity interval training (HIIT), in particular, may slim your midsection.)

So what you need to remember is that if you see something that says “Burns belly fat,” it can be ignored because they clearly don’t know how biology works. But if you are not only looking to get healthier but also trim that waistline, then an intense workout is probably your best bet.

-Shane M.