This myth suggests that doing specific exercises for specific body parts will help you lose body fat there. But, the truth is, how and where we lose fat depends on, among other things, genetics, hormones and age. If you want to lose fat around the thighs or belly, you have to create a calorie deficit (through exercise and diet), lose body fat and see how your body responds. What you'll find is that, wherever you store excess fat is that last place you'll lose it. For women, that's often the hips, thighs and lower belly and for men it's often the belly and waist.
One reason this myth is still hanging around is because of how aggressively it's perpetuated by the infomercials, diets and magazines promising thin thighs, flat abs and other extreme results for very little work.
Instead of wasting money on false promises and silly gadgets, try a healthier approach so that you can get your best body rather than an idealized body that always seems out of reach:
- Regular cardio exercise in your Target Heart Rate Zone.
- Strength training for your entire body 1-3 non-consecutive days a week.
- A healthy low-calorie diet.
If you want to learn more, check out this ACE article, Why is the concept of spot reduction considered a myth? which discusses a study done by the University of Massachusetts. In this study, 13 males did vigorous ab exercises for 27 days and fat biopsies were taken both before and after the exercise. The results? Subjects decreased fat from different areas of the body, not just the abs.