The truth is the answer on how to get rid of back fat is a lot simpler than you think.
Sure you might have already made some progress losing weight but for one reason or another, the stubborn back fat just doesn’t seem to budge.
If you’re a woman then having back fat means you might be suffering from the dreaded “bra bulge.” This where the back fat overflows from the bra. I’ve had women tell me they went to try on dresses but their back fat was spilling over every dress they tried.
If you’re a man then having back fat might mean you can’t get rid of the lower back fat, muffin top or love handles.
All of this is known as stubborn fat and traditional weight loss methods aren’t going to be very effective against it. You’re going to have to go outside the box to get the results you want.
I know it can be frustrating to look in the mirror and catch a glimpse of stubborn back fat that won’t budge but here I’ll show you how to get a flat back fast.
Why You Can’t Lose the Back Fat
The main reason you can’t get rid of your back is your body doesn’t want you to lose it in the first place.
You see our bodies have evolved over thousands of years to hold onto fat in case of future famine. Having these fat reserves meant our ancient ancestors were much more likely to survive if they ran out of food. (1)
But it today’s day and age it can make things frustrating to not be able to get rid of these stubborn areas on the body that hold onto fat more than others.
These stubborn spots on your body are largely determined by your genetics (2). And if you’re reading this then it’s more than likely you inherited the gene to hold onto more back fat.
Just like how some people are born with a pear-shaped body or an apple-shaped body. In your case, you tend to store excess fat in your back area.
Now it is largely true you can’t traditionally “spot reduce” a specific area on your body. So if all you did was a few sets of pull-ups you shouldn’t expect to slim down your back fat much at all.
But below I’m going to share some techniques and strategies you can use to help to better get rid of your back fat faster than you think.
Need To Lower Your Body Fat
Can’t get rid of your stubborn back fat even though you might’ve lost some weight?
The problem with just losing weight is it’s not usually enough to get rid of stubborn fat like back fat. Losing weight means you are also losing muscle.
And to completely get rid of the back fat you’re going to have to lower your body fat and not just lose “weight.”
I like to tell my clients this swimming pool analogy when it comes to fat loss in stubborn areas like back fat and love handles.
Just like adding water to a swimming pool the water will first flow to the deep end. As the swimming pool fills up it’ll eventually fill out the shallow end too. As you begin to drain the pool the water will first drain from the shallow end and only then will it drain from the deep end.
Same thing when it comes to fat loss in stubborn areas. You’re going to first lose weight in the easier areas but is going to take it a lot more work to get the more stubborn spots like your back fat.
Here’s a study finding women with a pear-shaped body lost fat in their upper body way before they lost it in their trunk.
If you’re man then you should focus on getting your body fat percentage below 15% and ideally around the 10% mark. If you’re a woman then you should focus on lowering your body fat percentage to at least below 24% but ideally under 20%.
So just because you step on the scale and might see the weight going down it doesn’t mean the fat is also going to go down on your back.
So how do you lower your body fat percentage without bulking up? Let’s get to this next…
The Best Chance of Targeting Your Stubborn Fat With Exercise
Most people on the planet will quickly tell you that you can’t spot reduce stubborn fat. They’re right and wrong at the same time.
Now there are studies proving fat loss can be achieved in areas that are targeted with specific exercises.
Here’s a study finding those who performed exercises on one arm ended up losing more fat on that arm as opposed to the untrained one.
Spot reduction in the traditional sense is not impossible. It’s just not very effective at all.
So then what’s the best way to exercise to lose lower back fat?
I’d recommend combining the best method for rapid fat loss in HIIT workouts with specifically targeted exercises for back fat.
HIIT workouts are the best for burning fat and have been backed by science to be much more time efficient than long steady-state cardio.(3)
So by combining HIIT workouts with back exercises, you’ll increase the chances of focusing more of your fat-burning on your back fat.
At the very least you will burn more fat off your body. Plus you’ll work to tone your back muscles so they’ll be better shaped and toned.
Exercises to Lose Back Fat
The best exercises to get rid of back fat include:
- inverted rose
- dumbbell rows
So an example workout would be to do sprint on a treadmill for 30 seconds. Do a set of pull-ups. Then go back to sprinting on the treadmill. Rinse and repeat.
You can also check out my best exercises to lose love handles.
The Best Diet to Get Rid of Back Fat
The best diet to get rid of back fat is going to be one that also lowers your overall body fat.
Studies have found a high protein diet to be very effective for lowering weight while preserving lean muscle and burning fat.
Also, consider going low-carb as it will help to increase how much fat you burn (4). Eating too many carbohydrates can slow down your fat burning.
When you eat too many carbs they get converted to glycogen in your body as a fuel source for future energy needs. So whenever you exercise your body will first user glycogen stores instead of burning off fat.
But once you lower your carb intake you’ll quickly burn through these glycogen stores and then burn off more fat for fuel. (5)
Make sure you’re also cutting out the foods that are causing you to not burn fat in the first place.
These bad foods you want to eliminate from your diet include:
- processed foods
- refined carbs
- artificial sweeteners
- vegetable oils
For a list of the best foods you can eat to burn fat then be sure to download my Food List Cheat Sheet.
Also, make sure that you’re watching your daily calorie intake for the day. Use a calorie calculator to determine how much your body average burns throughout the day.
Then start to subtract calories from that to get a ballpark estimate how much you should be eating per day to continually lose weight and burn fat.
For the best diet that combines all of these strategies to burn fat from stubborn body areas I highly recommend The Flat Belly Formula.
Hidden Causes of Lower Back Fat
Getting rid of your back fat is mostly going to be done through exercise and diet.
But there also some other causes that are contributing to not be able to lose your back fat and love handles.
Stress is a big one.
If you’re constantly stressed out then your body will release fat-storing hormones such as cortisol. Studies have found cortisol to be linked to gaining fat in stubborn areas like your belly.
Another cause of back fat is lack of sleep.
If you’re not getting enough adequate sleep then your body will not burn fat as effectively. Studies have found those on low sleep had less self-control than those who got enough sleep. And I don’t have to tell you if you’re lacking self-control then you’re much less likely to stick to your diet and exercise plan.
Studies have also found lack of sleep can cause you to have excess insulin in your body. Too much insulin can make you feel hungrier. Plus it can cause your body to store more calories as fat.
If you’re having trouble de-stressing and getting enough sleep then I highly recommend taking a quality CBD oil like this one.
Last but not least make sure your gut health is top-notch.
Those who have stubborn fat might have gut health problems (5). So much so you could be doing everything else right but if you’ll never lose the back fat if your gut is unhealthy.
If you ever suffer from gut problems like bloating, constipation, diarrhea, stomach aches, etc. then you might want to improve your gut health.
What causes back fat?
Having too much back fat essentially means you also just have too much fat on your body. Your genetics primarily determine where you hold stubborn fat on your body. In your case, it’s on your back and love handles.
Your ancestors were much more likely to survive if they stubbornly held onto fat on their body. This was in case of famine they could survive off their back fat stores.
Unfortunately, today having back fat and love handles is more of an eyesore that can make us self-conscious.
Can you get rid of back fat?
The good news is yes you can get rid of your back fat and it’s simpler than you think. But just losing more weight won’t necessarily mean that you lose more fat from your lower back.
Instead, follow the strategies laid out here to reduce back fat at home or at the gym.
The Last Word
The reason you still have back is that whatever you’re doing to have gotten to where you are today won’t work anymore.
You’re going to have to step things up a notch to lower your body fat faster if you want to get rid of your back fat for good.
Use fat burning workouts such as high-intensity interval training along with targeted specific exercises for your back. This’ll create the best chances of getting rid of your love handles through exercise.
Then follow the simple dieting strategies laid out above or in my program the flat belly formula to continually burn fat from stubborn areas in your case your back fat.
Then the icing on the cake will be to take care of the hidden reasons why you may be carrying more fat in your back.
This is the special sauce when it comes to losing your back fat fast.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college level. He has over 10 years experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He hopes to be able to bring inspiration & results to people all over the world to live a healthier life through diet & exercise.