Does Working Out with Plastic Wrap on Your Stomach Help You Lose Belly Fat?

Woman hand holding her own belly fat at outdoor
Losing belly fat involves diet and exercise. (Image: KittisakJirasittichai/iStock/GettyImages)

The weight loss industry spends billions of dollars a year convincing Americans they can lose weight successfully with tricks and fads. Wrapping your stomach in plastic wrap while exercising may cause you to lose a tiny amount of water weight temporarily, but it will have no effect on belly fat. Eating less and exercising more is still the best — and only — way to lose stubborn belly fat.

Plastic Wrap and Weight Loss

Some fashion models, bodybuilders and combat athletes use plastic wrap or wear plastic suits while working out to create a watertight barrier on their skin. This establishes a humid environment in the covered area, raising the local temperature and making the athlete sweat more.

This helps the wearer lose water weight, which can make a short-term difference in the appearance of the stomach and the number on the scale. But it's just water weight, which will return when the person rehydrates — and has nothing to do with belly fat.

Spot Reduction

The idea that you can target specific body areas for weight loss is called spot reduction, and it's a firmly debunked myth. Wrapping your belly in plastic or doing tons of crunches will not give you a flat tummy. Even if plastic wrap did increase fat burning, wrapping your belly in plastic would not accelerate fat loss from that area alone.

How to Lose Fat

You lose fat when you make your body burn fat. If you eat more calories than you burn through exercise and other physical activity, your body stores the excess energy as fat. If you have an apple-shaped physique, you might find that you gain weight more easily around your midsection, and it can also make it harder to lose.

When you create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you eat, your body burns stored fat for energy. Exercising — both cardio and strength training — is crucial for burning calories, but it doesn't matter whether you're wearing a plastic tummy wrap or more comfortable, breathable workout clothes — you will still burn the same amount of calories.

Bottom Line

Working out with plastic wrap on your stomach does not help you lose belly fat. Instead, your best results will come from following widely accepted fitness advice: Eat fewer calories and exercise more.

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