I have read on many sites that spot reduction is a myth. But why?

Shouldn't a muscle use the source of energy nearest to it?

I'm sorry but I don't know much bout energy usage and stuff in human body.

I'd like to understand why exactly does spot reduction doesn't work?

  • When a working muscle needs energy and the energy does not come from the food, it can come from the body fat stores. An energy demand signals the fat tissue anywhere in the body to break some fats (triglycerides) into fatty acids. These fatty acids first move from the fat tissue into the blood and only then into the muscles...So, there is no need or logic for a muscle to get energy only or predominantly from the nearest fat deposit.
    – Jan
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 12:28
  • add some links, @Jan, and that can be an answer Commented May 28, 2018 at 14:22
  • By food,do you mean blood glucose?
    – AScientist
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 15:13
  • @AScientist Food and body fat are both ultimately converted to glucose in order to be used by the body for energy.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented May 28, 2018 at 15:25

1 Answer 1


When you do not get enough nutrients from food, your blood glucose levels tend to fall, which triggers the release of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline). Epinephrine is transported via the blood to the fat stores anywhere in the body, where it triggers the breakdown of fats (triglycerides) into fatty acids. Fatty acids leave the fat stores, enter the blood and are transported to any "hungry" muscle, where they are broken down to energy. (The Science Behind Fat Metabolism: Ketoschool)

So, the muscles don't just eat the nearby fat but the fat that is delivered to them via the blood from any part of the body.

Genetics affects where a person loses weight first, and it also depends on where they gain it first. (Dr. Janet Brill Medical Daily)

Additional sources:

  • Effects of Sit up Exercise Training on Adipose Cell Size and Adiposity (Tandofline)
  • The effect of abdominal exercise on abdominal fat (PubMed)
  • Is there any specific preference for using fat sources?Like the body uses belly fat first (as an example) or is it completely random?
    – AScientist
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 0:05
  • I added something in my answer: you probably lose fat first where you got it first.
    – Jan
    Commented May 29, 2018 at 7:12

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