Q: How many crunches does it take to burn one pound of subcutaneous fat? Is spot reduction possible?

A: It’s a question like the old commercial “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?”

Much less than the number of crunches it takes to lose one pound of belly fat…

There is a common misconception that doing a lot of crunches can cause you to burn subcutaneous fat, which is the fat directly underneath the skin. A technique also known as spot reduction. The thought being that working out the muscles around the abs will cause fat to burn in the same area. Unfortunately, according to an article in Men’s Health Magazine, it can take up to 250,000 crunches to burn one pound of body fat. That’s 100 crunches per day for 7 years! Wow…

To back up the fact that spot reduction does not work, a September 2011 article in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research assessed the effect of 140 reps of abdominal exercises, five days per week for 6 weeks on abdominal fat. In comparison to the group that did not perform abdominal exercises, there was no difference in body weight, body fat percentage, abdominal circumference, abdominal skinfold and hip skinfold measurements. This is because you cannot choose where your body burn fat from. In fact, in most people, particularly men, fat is lost from the midsection last, but it all depends on your genetic makeup.

Crunches and other abdominal exercises will undoubtedly strengthen your core and improve your posture, but do not burn fat. High-intensity exercise, such as the Fast Pace Workout and Exercise Menu Workout Routines, will burn fat to help your abs show!

Build the muscles underneath with core exercises and burn the fat on top of your muscles with high-intensity workouts.