Do you know that most people grapple with some amount of excessive back fat? It might not seem as urgent as belly fat, but make no mistake- back fat is just as bad.
In fact, it can even be considered more serious simply because much attention isn’t paid to it, but that it not a good approach to take.
It is important to develop a solid approach- one that includes nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications to help you get rid of the trouble fat once and for all.[/su_box]
What Is Backfat And What Causes It?
Back fat is, as the name implies, an accumulation of fat around the back region, but may also extend to the obliques and upper back-trapezius region as well.
For most people, it is a very slow process.
The fat doesn’t all just appear in one day.
It is a gradual result of years of bad habits; not exercising enough, having a poor diet, not sleeping enough, and generally partaking in lifestyle choices that are not health conscious.
Women generally have this much worse in men, owing to the fact that their growth hormone levels tend to decline at a much faster rate.
Growth hormone is one of the primary hormones involved in the process of fat utilization and also the preservation of lean body mass.
It is estimated that every decade past the age of 30 it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an ideal body fat level.
It is thought that the natural aging process causes a reduction in metabolic rate, and coupled with a decline in muscle and bone mass, the poor posture results can exaggerate the appearance of fat around the midsection and back area.
How to Reduce The Appearance of Back Fat
The approach to getting rid of backfat isn’t that much different from trying to lose fat from any part of the body.
It involves a concerted effort that includes modifying diet, improving lifestyle habits, and of course, implementing exercise.
The good news, or bad news if you consider it that, is the fact that you cannot lose fat from one area of the body only.
This means that during the process, you will lose fat from the entire body, and not just the back region.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at an effective strategy for helping you lose your muffin top.
1) Determine How Many Calories You Need Daily
Attempting to lose weight without directly knowing how far you need to go is a surefire recipe for frustration.
Yes, you know that you want to lose weight and need to reduce calories in order to do so, but have no idea where you currently stand or what you need to aim for.
An essential starting point is to figure out your basal metabolic rate – which is a minimum measure of the number of calories your body utilizes in order to do basic processes.
This does not take into account how many days per week you exercise, or how active you are overall.
How do you calculate this?
We recommend you don’t worry about calculating this on your own.
Yes, it is extremely possible to do so, but it’s tedious and time-consuming.
Not to mention the fact that there are dozens of free online calculators that do the exact same calculation and in a fraction of the time, so why overcomplicate things?
Once you have established your basal metabolic rate, it is necessary to journal all that you eat and calculate your caloric intake.
Then, simply create a calorie deficit by about 500 daily and you’re on your way to sustainable weight loss.
2) Consume More Complex Carbohydrate Sources
When attempting to lose weight, regardless of where you want it to come from, insulin can toss a wrench in even the most well-meaning plans.
This is because insulin is regarded as the fat storage hormone.
Every time you consume a meal or beverage high in simple carbohydrates, insulin skyrockets.
This is why consuming carbohydrate sources that are slowly digested work great.
The slow trickle of glucose into the bloodstream helps keep blood sugar levels stable, and in turn, does not necessitate massive insulin spikes so that the process of fat burning is not shut down completely.
Not to mention the fact that glucose levels that are regarded as stable have been shown to coincide with reduced appetite and hunger pangs.
3) Drink More Water
There is a big myth that has been perpetuated as bro-science, and that’s the fact that drinking more water will cause you to gain weight.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
Restricting water consumption has a definite negative impact on your body weight and fat loss, simply because the metabolic processes associated with losing weight are limited or shut down completely.
It is important to keep in mind that all of the body’s critical reactions and metabolic processes are facilitated by water.
Reduce the water, and your body starts to limit processes to the essential only.
Losing weight is not considered a favorable metabolic process, especially when the body believes shortages are on the horizon.
4) Drink More Green Tea
Is it a coincidence that the Chinese and Japanese – cultures that are revered for their longevity and health drink multiple cups of green tea every day?
It’s hardly by chance.
Green tea is a treasure trove of antioxidants, flavonoids, and other compounds that have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
But what’s more, is the fact that green tea is a positive lipotropic agent.
What this means is that it promotes the utilization of fat as fuel in the mitochondria, and also helps to impair the storage of new fat.
This one-two punch is very useful in helping to control body fat.
Also keep in mind the fact that these populations are generally very lean, with a low density of visceral fat and low frequency of cardiovascular illness.
5) Get More Sleep
Do you notice a major association between sleep and so many health issues today?
Yes, in many ways sleep can be considered the body’s reset button of sorts – helping you get a second chance every day you wake up.
Many things can go wrong when a sleep deficit builds up.
For instance, the hormone leptin, which plays an important role in regulating appetite can go out of whack, causing you to overeat and snack incessantly.
In addition to this, the hormone we previously mentioned – growth hormone, is secreted during sleep to the greatest extent.
Growth hormone assists with cellular recovery and can help accelerate fat loss.
Many other neurotransmitters are also reset during sleep to help you maintain a positive mood and attitude as you work towards your goal of losing that back fat.
6) Try to Meal Prep On Weekends
Meal prep is often regarded as something only fanatic bodybuilders and athletes do, but for good reason, since it can help keep you on track with your macronutrient requirements and help you achieve your goal.
When time is a pressing issue after you get home from work or when you’re running late in the morning, it is very likely that you won’t pay much attention to what you eat.
This leads to you consuming excess calories and eventually predisposes you to heart disease and poorer overall health. This is where meal prep can make a major difference.
On the weekends, simply prepare all the meals you would like to have for the coming week, place into Tupperware containers and store in the freezer.
Then, when mealtimes roll around simply microwave and you have a complete meal in under five minutes.
Be sure to consume a healthy diet rich in slow-digesting carbs, sufficient protein and healthy fats.
More fat does not have to be a bad thing- especially if you consume the right kind.
This is one of the best ways to see guaranteed weight loss week after week, especially since you will find yourself hard pressed to out train a bad diet.
7) The Best Back Fat Exercises
One of the mainstays in the quest to rid yourself of stubborn fat has got to be resistance training.
Resistance training actively helps to strengthen and build muscle, making them more efficient at breaking up fat and using it for energy.
It needs to be emphasized that training specifically geared to lose back fat alone is not the best use of your time. It is, however, a smart part of your overall workout strategy.
Try these exercises to help you slash the fat:
8) Lat Pull Downs
Lat pull downs are often considered to be only for the upper back, but in reality, they are excellent for helping to reduce fat in the latissmus region of the back below the arms (the large triangular shape muscle of the back region), and around the back of the bra strap region.
This exercise also helps to tone the rear deltoid (shoulder) region.
Don’t have access to a lat pulldown machine?
There is hope yet. You can improvise by using a resistance band or performing something called the prone lat pull.
To perform, lay flat on your stomach with arms fully extended.
Simply replicate the pulling motion that you would perform on a lat pull down machine to simulate the action.
Hold the contracted position for just over a second before returning to the start position. Aim to repeat 20 times.
It is also important for you to not arch your back or raise off of the floor.
The resistance might not be as intense, but it’s far better than doing nothing.
Back exercises such as pull ups can easily be substituted for this too, if you prefer.
If you want to try pull ups, it’s simple.
To perform, with arms overhead, shoulder width apart and palms facing forward or backward, pull yourself up in a controlled manner using your lats and arms.
Then, slowly return to the start position before repeating.
Do one set for as many reps as you can tolerate.
9) Back Extensions
The lower back region is arguably one of the most neglected body parts when it comes to training.
Not surprisingly, this area is commonly subjected to injury or pain.
Back extensions, sometimes known as hyperextensions, are very useful to specifically target the erector spinae muscle group, a stabilizing structure that helps maintain good posture and lower body strength.
Back extensions are normally performed on a back extension machine, but in the absence of this, it can also be done in a prone position on the floor.
To perform, start by lying face down on the ground with arms crossed behind your head.
Gently extend your lower back so that your upper chest raises off of the floor.
Keep your core tight as you slowly lower yourself back to the prone position.
It is also important to not overextend how far you go – the goal is to strengthen the muscle groups with stimulation and not get ready for competitive limbo.
You should attempt to hold each contraction for about 2 to 3 seconds before returning to the prone position.
Attempt to perform 12 repetitions per set, and for a total of 2 to 3 sets.
10) Reverse Exercise Ball Hip Raises
If it has been a while since you last worked out, this exercise is perfect for reintroducing you to the world of fitness.
It is low impact and easy to perform. It can be done like this:
- Place your body on an exercise ball, facing a prone position.
- Your arms will be extended in a push-up position while your stomach rests on the ball, and your toes touch the ground.
- In one controlled movement, squeeze your glutes while simultaneously engaging your core to balance yourself on the ball.
- Your legs should naturally go up at the same time above the height of the ball. Hold this position for about five seconds before slowly returning to the start. Repeat these 10 to 12 times for one working set.
This exercise strengthens much more than the back because it also heavily recruits the hamstrings and glutes.
11) Side Jack-Knives
Disclaimer: no one is actually stabbed while doing jackknives. Well, that is if you don’t consider the torment your obliques go through while performing it.
This exercise is especially useful for targeting the troubled side abdominals, or obliques, which may remain even after you successfully started to lose back fat in the upper and lower regions.
This exercise is more often considered to be an abdominal one, but the fact is that obliques extend towards the back as well.
- Lay on one side with your legs placed one on top of each other (almost in a straight line looking from the front position).
- If you start off by laying on your right side, your left hand should be placed behind your head and bent at the elbow.
- Simultaneously lift the left leg and bring the left elbow in towards your midline. The double contraction stimulates oblique muscles and burns like crazy. Perform as many repetitions as you can before switching to the other side.
12) Rowing Machines
Investing in a rowing machine can serve two very important functions; that of cardiovascular exercise and also strength training the large back muscles.
Not to mention the fact that your shoulders, biceps and core are also recruited.
- Sit in the station of a rowing machine. Lean forward, grab the machine handles, and in one fluid motion bend your elbows, pulling straight back as you lean backward.
- Allow the weights to pull you forward under control, and repeat several times. You do not necessarily need to use a high resistance for this exercise, as your goal is to really elevate your metabolism and calorie burning.
Rowing machines are a great way to really target the excess fat from around the midback region.
13) Barbell or Dumbbell Rows
While machines are excellent for helping you to lose stubborn upper back fat, bent over barbell or dumbbell rows are a different beast altogether.
It is believed that no other back exercise helps to target the mid and upper back muscles as well as these rows can. To perform:
- Grab a dumbbell or barbell loaded with moderate resistance.
- With feet hip width apart and knees bent slightly, bend over at the hip, maintaining the natural arch in the spine, but not necessarily keeping your back straight.
- With arms extended, slowly pull the loaded bar or dumbbell into your tummy. Hold for 1 to 2 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Perform 10 to 12 repetitions per working set. Aim to do three working sets.
14) Full-Body Circuits
Full-body circuits are a great way to utilize an immense number of calories while simultaneously kickstarting new muscle growth.
Simply stack some of the best exercises together and voila! Watch those pounds melt like butter.
The circuit is usually performed by completing two or more exercises back-to-back without rest (usually an upper body movement with a lower body or two opposing muscle groups).
After you have successfully completed a string of exercises, one circuit is set to be completed and you are allowed to rest.
Circuits can be composed of a pressing chest movement, combined with a back pull, shoulder strengthening exercises, along with a bicep and triceps finisher.
Core muscles can be added to the mix but this should usually be done towards the end of the circuit.
Performing cardiovascular activity is without a doubt the number one way to expend a large number of calories in a reasonable amount of time.
The intensity does not need to be extreme, but just moderate.
Depending on your overall fitness level, stationary cycles, jogging, elliptical trainers or even swimming can be excellent choices.
Aim to perform at least four sessions of cardiovascular training per week ranging between 30 to 60 minutes in length.
Cardio is a great way to reduce overall body fat and initiate body composition changes.
There are many different ways how to get rid of back fat, but it is usually accomplished as part of the larger goal of weight loss.
It is scarcely achieved by itself, as it has been established that targeting trouble spots via a technique known as spot reduction is a myth.
Be sure to combine exercise with a healthy diet, good lifestyle choices to obtain beneficial synergy; there isn’t a quick fix you can apply to this.
After you’ve successfully managed to implement these, you may try adding a supplement to for increase caloric burn.
Keep in mind that to achieve weight loss you must expend more calories than you consume in a given day.