Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Flap About Spot Reduction

We trainer's are so darn smart. We sit down with a new client who, when quizzed about goals, inevitably grabs a flap of flesh and points, "I want to get rid of this!" and then shakes the offending handful a little for emphasis. Where the client sees fat, we see an opportunity to educate. How cute, we think. We're going to have the 'you can't spot reduce' conversation now and the client will be wowed by physiology and my command of it. How cute, the client thinks. The trainer is wrong again.

It turns out that you CAN spot reduce. It's minutia really so I wouldn't get worked up and dust off your thigh master just yet. It's notable, however, that many folks in the industry still have only some of the answers but all of the pomposity. Hopefully we'll be able to spot-reduce fat-headedness. Here's the data on the study:

Are blood flow and lipolysis in subcutaneous adipose tissue influenced by contractions in adjacent muscles in humans?

Bente Stallknecht1, Flemming Dela1, and Jorn Wulff HelgeUniversity of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

Aerobic exercise increases whole-body adipose tissue lipolysis, but islipolysis higher in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SCAT) adjacent to contracting muscles than in SCAT adjacent to resting muscles? Ten healthy, overnight-fasted males performed one-legged knee extension exercise at 25% of maximal workload (W max) for 30 minutes followed by exercise at 55% Wmax for 120 minutes with the other leg and finally exercised at 85% Wmax for 30 minutes with the first leg.Subjects rested for 30 minutes between exercise periods. Femoral SCAT bloodflow was estimated from washout of 133Xe and lipolysis was calculated fromfemoral SCAT interstitial and arterial glycerol concentrations and blood flow.

In general, blood flow as well as lipolysis was higher in femoral SCAT adjacent to contracting than adjacent to resting muscle (time 15-30 min: blood flow: 25% Wmax: 6.6 ± 1.0 vs. 3.9 ± 0.8 ml 100 g-1 min-1, P < class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_16">Wmax: 7.3 ± 0.6 vs. 5.0 ± 0.6, P <> 0.05; lipolysis: 25% Wmax: 102 ± 19 vs. 55 ± 14 nmol 100 g-1 min-1, P = 0.06; 55% Wmax: 86 ± 11 vs. 50 ± 20, P > 0.05; 85% Wmax: 88 ± 31 vs. -9 ± 25, P <>

In conclusion, blood flow and lipolysis are generally higher in SCAT adjacent to contracting than adjacent to resting muscle irrespective of exercise intensity. Thus, specific exercises can induce "spot lipolysis" in adipose tissue.

This topic was tossed about in Performance Menu in the forum some time ago but I just got around to mention it. This is interesting stuff but still no cause to flap flesh at me. Use your words.