How to get rid of unwanted fat: Here’s why the targeted workout videos you’re following at home don’t work

Amaris B.

Updated On:

Apr 20, 2023

Archive Date:

Jul 5, 2020

You can finally see the fruits of your labour, but there’s still excess fat pockets going on in the thigh zone. What’s worse is that you noticed your face looks sunken and your breasts appear deflated. What could possibly be wrong?

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Singapore’s Phase Two of reopening has just commenced not too long ago, and most businesses are now up and running again.

However, the gyms have been closed for a good part of the year and to lose weight and maintain your svelte figure, you have diligently subscribed to exercise routines online five to six times a week, followed a strict low-calorie diet, and even laid off alcohol and soda.

You can finally see the fruits of your labour, but there’s still excess fat pockets going on in the thigh zone, tummy area, upper arm, and your buttocks doesn’t seem to be as perky as you would’ve hoped.

What’s worse is that you noticed your face looks sunken and your breasts appear deflated. What could possibly be wrong?

That’s when you saw your Instagram feed filled with #fitspo that talked about how they attained the body shape and curves of their dreams by following YouTube videos that focus on slimming down or building up certain areas of the body, effectively “sculpting” the body shape you want by working out.


Targeted workout essentially are exercises that supposedly target fat in a certain area of the body for reduction by engaging specific muscles in that desired area. The most classic example: exercising the abdominal muscles in an effort to lose weight in or around the midsection.

You may have seen viral social media posts from fitness trainers who addressed the problem of spot reduction through working out – the promise given by some of these popular YouTube home workout videos. Long story short: working out can’t do that for you.

Daily Vanity asked Dr. Ivan Puah, medical director of Amaris B. Clinic who has received Sports Medicine training, for his medical opinion on this debate.

“Working out just one part of your body probably won’t slim it down. When you work out, your whole body – from top to toe – will benefit from the exercise. However, it is not the solution to effectively address localised excess fat.”

One study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that six weeks of intensive ab workouts did nothing to slim the exercisers’ midsections. A related study found that 12 weeks of single-armed workouts resulted in less loose skin in the trained arm, but zero fat loss. Yes, you read that right – zero.

As a matter of fact, the scientific consensus among fitness researchers and experts such as American Council on Exercise (ACE) is that some commonly held beliefs and practices – like spot reduction and feeling the burn – are myths and misconceptions fed vigorously to consumers for marketing purposes.


While working out may not be effective for reducing fat in specific body parts, there’s one clinically proven way that does: body contouring procedures such as Vaser Liposuction.

Developed by plastic surgeon Dr. Alfredo Hoyos from Columbia, Vaser Liposuction is a contemporary liposuction technique that removes stubborn fat tissues effectively.

Vaser Liposuction was first introduced in Singapore in 2008 by three doctors, including Dr. Ivan Puah. He is well-known in Asia-Pacific for performing this procedure for over 12 years. So how does Vaser Liposuction exactly help you tackle excess fat?

Less intrusive than the traditional method and can be performed under local anaesthesia, Vaser Liposuction is a targeted procedure powerful enough to eliminate at least 90% of localised stubborn fat immediately. This makes it suitable for sculpting small and large areas, including jowls, chin, abdomen, waist, hips, male breasts, arms, back, buttocks, thighs, knees, and calves.

If you’re worried about pain and recovery time, you can cast aside your fears as Vaser Liposuction only targets the unwanted fat tissues. This body sculpting treatment leaves other vital connective tissues relatively untouched, giving you the smooth contours you want with minimal pain and downtime.

Many opt for Vaser Liposuction because the fat tissues removed are permanent. As long as you can maintain a balanced diet and active lifestyle, the treated areas should be able to maintain their sculpted appearances.

Another benefit of removing all the excess fat: you can “recycle” them to fill the saggy parts of the face and body.


As mentioned by Dr. Ivan Puah, when we embark on a weight loss journey through exercise and dietary control and exercise, we tend to lose mass and fat throughout the body and not to a specific body part. And unfortunately for many, the face and breasts are commonly the first areas that succumb to volume loss.

So what can be done to save aged, sunken cheeks?

“You can reverse the effect by reintroducing the fat removed from unwanted areas to areas where fat is needed through fat grafting via ADR-C Facial Enhancement,” shared Dr. Ivan Puah. He was trained and mentored by renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Pierre François Fournier, and has been performing fat grafting procedures for more than 15 years.

ADR-C Facial Enhancement is a minimally invasive procedure where fat tissue is harvested from donor sites such as the abdomen or thighs and injected into the face using tiny blunt needles. It helps restore volume into the face safely and has no risk of rejection as compared to implants.

Not just for those who have recently lost a significant amount of weight, fat grafting is also suitable for those who are looking to regain youthfulness in the face. Due to environmental factors and the natural ageing process, collagen depletes as early as in our mid-twenties. This is when your skin starts to sag and age, and wrinkles and frown lines become more noticeable.

In addition, the face tends to thin over time and changes from a heart-shaped face to a more rectangular shape with lesser volume. The loss of elasticity, coupled with the effects of environmental factors, adversely impacts skin quality, and many are now turning to ADR-C Facial Enhancement to counter this decline.

The beauty of this treatment is that you can “spot increase” on specific areas that are needed without worrying about rejection, as it transfers your fat source from one spot to another. Results are long-lasting and natural.

But what about the volume lost in the breasts due to weight loss? Can’t you perk up your breasts with spot-increasing workouts such as pectoral muscle training, suggested by some of the YouTube videos you’ve seen?


You may have seen online videos or articles claiming that you can lift your breasts by doing bench press – unfortunately, this is a myth too. As your breasts are made up of fat tissues and sit above your pectoral muscles, training your pecs isn’t going to perk up your breasts or even increase your breast size.

According to Dr. Ivan Puah, such exercises have a reverse effect because your breasts will actually shrink due to fat loss. “Toning workouts such as weight lifting or push-ups only tone up the muscles and cannot replace the fat lost. It is important to remember that muscle and fat are two different components altogether, so there is no way to increase breast volume via workout.”


For fuller breasts and better breast shape, you can consider ADR-C Breast Enhancement. This procedure involves removing fat tissues from parts of the body, such as the belly, via liposuction and purifying the harvested fat before injecting it into areas of the breasts. Over time, the fat cells integrate into the surrounding breast tissue, giving you a perkier and more natural look.

As it utilises your body fat, ADR-C Breast Enhancement is generally considered a safer alternative to breast implants because it eliminates the risks of rupture, leak or shift. Implants are not life-long devices, so surgery will eventually be required again in the future – this means you’ll have to set aside money and time to accommodate additional surgery costs and lifestyle interruptions.

With Dr. Ivan Puah, the surgical approach for ADR-C Breast Enhancement is to distribute the fat across various planes within the skin and breast tissue so that the results will have a natural feel and shape.

With the development of advanced medical technology, total face and body sculpting have become more efficient. However, it is the experience and degree of meticulous face and body sculpting performed by Dr. Ivan Puah, that distinguishes the results you’ll achieve at Amaris B. Clinic from other body contouring treatments elsewhere.


At Amaris B. Clinic, patient safety and results are always prioritised. Founder Dr. Ivan Puah will advise patients on the appropriate treatment plans based on their clinical conditions, needs, and expectations.

With more than 15 years of experience in performing body sculpting procedures, you can count on Dr. Ivan Puah to recommend the treatment solution that gives you the best possible results.

Under his stewardship, Amaris B. Clinic has received recognition as the “2019 Body Sculpting Provider of the Year in Asia-Pacific” by GlobalHealth Asia-Pacific.

This accolade is given to entities that have maintained high standards in quality care and is judged based on market research, consumer survey, and a panel of industry experts. The clinic also recently won the “Best Weight Management” award by Tatler Singapore.

Over the years, Amaris B. Clinic has also gone beyond providing only medical aesthetics and cosmetic surgeries such as body sculpting. They are now supporting their true passion with integrative medicine, such as weight loss and fitness assessment, pain management, sports injury rehabilitation, physical therapy, and myotherapy.

A medical practice like no other, Amaris B. Clinic’s ultimate goal is to help you enhance your look, improve your body shape and boost your confidence, health and fitness on every level through fully personalising their approach to your treatment.

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