Here's a scenario: You want to lose fat around your mid-section and "tone up." What do you do?

Most people would recommend ab workouts and various core training. Targeting the area you want to change is the way to make it happen, right?

WRONG!

Spot reduction is the widely believed myth that you can change a part of your body by doing exercises that target that area. I'm sure you have all seen magazine headlines, article titles, and online videos about "10 Waist-Sculpting Moves to Lose Belly Fat" or "Seven Effective Exercises to Fight Arm Jiggle." It would be nice if that was how things worked. Unfortunately, it's not the case.

What if I told you that a person who does squats will lose more fat and achieve a more toned mid-section than a person who does an equal volume of ab exercises? In fact, that person doing squats will also lose more fat and achieve more toned triceps than a person pumping out push-downs on a machine! How does this work?

When you work larger muscle masses, you activate more muscles. When you activate more muscles, you burn more calories. When you burn more calories, you lose more fat. THAT is how it works.

This means that isolation exercises are not more beneficial exercises for losing fat and toning. When exercising, it is best to perform compound exercises with free-weights versus machines because compound free-weight exercises activate many muscles in order to maintain balance. There are many variations to free-weight exercises, too, that can make them even more challenging and engage even more muscles!

So, if you are trying to lose belly fat, quit wasting your time doing endless reps of crunches and holding five-minute planks. These isolation exercises are not going to give you the results you are looking for because spot reduction is a myth. Instead, change the focus of your workouts to working for larger muscle groups in order to burn more calories and lose more fat all around.