Is there such a thing? It was always thought to exist, but the myth has been thoroughly crushed by proper science. For instance, working your abs does not only burn fat in that specific area.
There is a way that is actually proven to promote spot specific fat loss and to do that, you only need… a red light device and exercise. One is free, the other one…well not so much, but it’s definitely one of the best investments you can make for your health. I’m not going to cover the health benefits of red light in this article or address all the many conditions it works wonders for, but I will mention that it improves mitochondrial function, releases nitric oxide from the cytochrome C oxidase enzyme, of the electron transport chain, structures cellular water, promotes blood flow (by releasing NO from the nitrosyl complexes of hemoglobin and then the biologically active NO can stimulate vasodilation) and also boosts lipolysis.
Although red light/infra-red light does promote lipolysis, it doesn’t increase the oxidation of the newly released fat. Red light, or bright light from incandescent light bulbs, can promote a little bit of fat loss just by improving mitochondrial function (but it won’t be all that much (1)).
So if you really want to increase the burning of the fat you’ll have to go into a caloric deficit and/or start to move more/do exercise. I’d go with the exercise option.
Shining the light on a certain area for even 45 seconds will promote lipolysis to a significant degree (2).
The closer the device is held without causing discomfort is best, as then the light can penetrate more deeply and stimulate cellular function to a greater degree.
Several studies tested red light or infra-red light devises when combined with exercise, such as 50 min of treadmill (walking three times a week), to significantly promote fat loss and reduce fat mass specifically in that area where the light was directed (3).
The cool thing about this is that, in general, adipose tissue is not easy to break down by exercise alone, and red light/infra-red light greatly enhances that fat loss in that area, thus reducing stubborn belly fat, or any other stubborn area for that matter (4).
This light therapy is also able to remodel the collagenous tissue of the adipose tissue and cause a permanent tightening effect (5).
The best wavelength to enhance mitochondrial function is between 650-670nm, whereas a greater wavelength such as 880nm will be able to penetrate a little more deeply, but might be too stimulating to use for prolonged periods of time. This makes the 670nm wavelength the safest to use for prolonged periods of time.
If you don’t want to do cardio and want to incorporate this technique into your weight lifting routine, just use the red light/infra-red light during rest periods between your sets.
The sun is the best way to get good quality light from and will promote health, cellular function, brain function, blood flow, sweating, vitamin D, etc., etc., and will also promote fat loss. Working out in the sun would have a similar stimulating effect on lipolysis and should be a good addition to your routine.
You don’t have to do only slow pace cardio in the sun; sprinting, calisthenics, parkour yoga etc., are also great ways to move, be creative with your body and increase energy expenditure, which in my opinion are much better than slow pace cardio.
Point being, if you don’t have or can’t afford buying a red light device at the moment, workout in the sun. 🙂