Ask Michelle Bridges: Can you spot-reduce fat? –


Don’t let your genes dictate your body fat, Michelle says

Question:. I just want to get rid of my belly. Is it possible to spot-reduce stomach fat?

Answer:. As far as I’m aware, the answer is no. But let me explain. We each have been blessed with the genetics given to us by our parents. Think of that as your laptop. Your laptop is static — that’s standard — but you can change its software. You can make improvements, make it shine brighter, make it work more efficiently, basically, make it more awesome. It’s the same with your body. Although you can’t change your genetic predisposition, which is often what causes us to have fatty tissue in certain places, you can make choices that will change the way your body runs and the way it looks. How? It all comes down to how much you move and what you feed your body.

media_cameraIt depends on which cards you are dealt. Picture: Julie Kiriacoudis

I like to say it’s not the cards you’ve been dealt but the way you play them that matters.

So if you’ve been given a body type that tends to be an apple shape, you’ll hold more of your body fat around your belly.

Those are the cards you’ve been dealt but you can play them to your advantage. Eat healthily, give processed foods the flick, get a bit more activity into your life, meditate, and you’ll not only keep that spare tyre at bay but reduce fat from head to toe. Remember, you can’t spot reduce but you can definitely reduce your overall body fat percentage. Or, you can let your genes dictate the game by making friends with the couch and a big bowl of ice-cream every day of the week. The obvious culprits for extra weight, particularly around the middle, are highly processed takeaway and junk foods. Get rid of them, I say. No one wants to hold body fat anywhere but holding it around your midsection is far more dangerous than anywhere else because it’s most likely to be visceral fat. That’s the kind of fat that surrounds your organs and causes high cholesterol, hypertension, high blood pressure and heart disease.

As for getting your heart rate up, compound movements such as thrusters or lunges with shoulder presses can’t be beat if you want to strip fat. They’re my favourite training moves because they give you maximum bang for your buck. It’s much better to go in, go hard and then go home feeling strong and satisfied.


This circuit by Michelle Bridges only takes 20 minutes and little equipment is needed — the perfect pick-me-up. Tip of the Week: When using an aerobic step, ensure it has slip resistance on the feet and surface.


Warm up for 2-3 minutes with a brisk walk or stair climb. Then do each of the following moves for the allotted times. Rest for 1 minute, repeat the circuit 2 more times. Cool down with a light stretch


media_cameraBody weight squats

Why: This movement will tighten your tush.

How: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes turned out, shoulders down and tummy drawn in. Then, keeping your knees in line with your toes, tilt forward slightly, extend your arms forward and slowly lower yourself down into a squat. Your thighs should be about parallel to the floor. Squeeze your butt and return to the start position.

Repeat for 1 minute.


media_cameraStatic plank

Why: Great for strengthening your core, lower back and shoulders.

How: Place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your body and legs extended into a plank, on your toes. (For less intensity, drop to your knees.) Keep your shoulder blades drawn down your back and towards each other, your tummy drawn in, and squeeze your butt. Hold for 30 seconds.


media_cameraFast steps

Why: Gets your heart pumping and puts the body into fat-burning mode.

How: Place the whole of your left foot onto a small step, then follow with your right. Step your left foot down and then the right. Repeat with the left foot leading for 30 seconds, then change to lead with the right. Move as fast as you can and swing your arms vigorously. Repeat the process for 1 minute.


media_cameraStatic tabletop

Why: This is an ab blaster, similar to the plank, but also works the hamstrings and core.

How: Position your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, your shoulders in line with your wrists. Then, with your feet on the floor hip-width apart, lift your butt off the ground until your hips are level with your knees. Squeeze your butt. Hold for 30 seconds.


Why: Tests your agility, core strength and cardio fitness.

How: From a standing position, bend down and put hands on the floor (1). Then jump or step your feet back to get into a high push-up position (2) and lower your chest to the floor (3). Return to the high push-up position, jump or step your feet towards your hands, then quickly jump up and clap your hands above your head (4) and return to standing.

Repeat for 1 minute.

media_cameraStep 1.
media_cameraStep 2.
media_cameraStep 3.
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