Belly fat isn't the only trouble area a lot of women struggle with... Back fat is another culprit that some just can't get rid of. There's nothing wrong with having fat, it's completely normal, but some may feel insecure about certain areas in their body and want to make an effort to change that. If you're feeling insecure about that annoying "bra bulge", we're going to tell you the best way to lose back fat, safely.
Before we get into the ways to lose back fat and the best exercises for it, we want you to know that having fatty deposits in certain areas in your body is completely normal, and nothing to be insecure or ashamed of. However, if you have a goal to lose weight or build muscle in an effort to reduce your overall body fat – go for it! Not only will it help you feel more confident, but you'll also improve your overall health and wellness.
So, how do you get rid of back fat?
The answer might not be what you think or what you want it to be... We're not here to give you some magic pill or give you tips on how to spot-reduce fat (FYI it's impossible to do that). We're here to give you the facts: You need to decrease your overall body fat to get rid of back fat. And it's not as difficult as you may think...
Knowing the right tools will help you develop a good diet and workout plan that will you sculpt and build muscle in your back effectively. So, if you're ready to learn how to get rid of back fat the safe way, keep on reading!
WHAT CAUSES BACK FAT?
To determine what lifestyle and diet changes you need to make, you need to understand the causes of fat buildup on the back.
There are three places where back fat can accumulate slowly over time. Upper back (excess fat that creates a 'bra bulge'), mid-back (folds near the waist), and lower back (excess fat that creates 'love handles'). Maybe you have one or all of them, either way, you won't be able to spot reduce, but losing fat overall will help reduce all those areas, not just one.
This fat can accumulate due to a few causes, they include...
- Eating too much sugar or salty foods (a key contributor to inflammation).
- Sedentary lifestyle, minimal physical activity in daily life, and not using your back muscles.
- Overeating and consuming excess calories.
- Aging (this is natural and it just happens).
Be honest with yourself, and try to determine which of these can be causing back fat. Knowing the cause will help determine what the next step is. Is it a dietary change you need to make? Or do you need to start getting more physical?
The best way to lose back fat
Most people wanting to burn fat in specific areas believe that it can be done by doing the same 5-10 exercises every day... Although exercise is important and can help change your body composition, the biggest and most important thing is eating healthier.
We will be including a list of strength training exercises you should do consistently, but don't rely only on those as a way to lose back fat. Include them in your workout routine, and make the necessary diet and life changes to promote weight loss that will, in turn, reduce your body fat percentage, and most importantly, these changes will promote better well-being for a healthier you!
The best way to reduce body weight and burn fat is by changing/adjusting your diet. You don't need to follow a super restrictive fad diet, in fact, we highly suggest you avoid doing that (it can lead to results that aren't sustainable).
However, you should consider calculating your macronutrients or the number of calories you need to consume because to lose back fat, or any fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. The best way to put yourself in a deficit is by calculating the number of macronutrients and calories you need to be eating for your lifestyle and goals. You can calculate your macros using a macro calculator, and start tracking them to ensure you're not under-eating or overeating! Those who don't want to track their calories or macros can cut down on sugar, sodium, and processed foods to help automatically put you in a calorie deficit. And focus on increasing your water intake, filling up on healthier carbs that contain fiber, and eating anti-inflammatory foods.
If you really want to maximize your results we suggest tracking your macros. Doing this will ensure you're getting enough of the right nutrients and calories while eating a balanced diet full of whole foods.
The key is to fuel yourself properly! To help, here's a list of nutrient-dense foods that you should start including in your diet:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Greek yogurt
- Leafy greens
- Lean protein
- Complex carbs, like sweet potatoes and whole grains.
These foods are packed with nutrients you need - healthy fats, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Just remember, eating one or all of these won't reduce fat fast. There are other contributing factors like sleep, exercise, and stress levels to consider.
Lifestyle, combined with a healthy diet and physical activity, will make your weight loss efforts much more efficient. Little changes like making an effort to walk more and practicing better posture can go a long way.
Here are lifestyle changes you can make to accelerate fat loss:
Get enough quality sleep: The quality and amount of hours you sleep can affect your weight loss efforts. This is all due to your hormone, leptin. This hormone is what inhibits hunger, and not getting enough quality sleep can lower leptin levels. When leptin levels drop, it sends a message to the brain that there is a shortage of food thus increasing appetite. This increased appetite will have you reaching for those comfort foods you love so much. So, aim to get good sleep consistently to avoid irregular hormone changes.
Practice self-care to reduce stress: Another hormone you want to keep an eye on is cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Chronic stress can cause cortisol levels to spike which can mess with other hormones that control appetite and weight gain. It can also cause fatigue and blood sugar imbalances which can increase food cravings and lead to overeating. On top of that, constant secretion of cortisol can lead to a slow down of your metabolism, which leads to insulin resistance, which causes your body to store fat. To minimize the risk of this practice self-care. Take some time to yourself, or with loved ones, and do something you enjoy. Specifically, do something that will keep you relaxed and your stress levels low.
Plan your meals: This one doesn't necessarily have to do with hormones, but it sure can help reduce your stress and help you make better food choices! Not everyone has the time to make home-cooked meals every day for every meal, this is why planning and prepping your meals is a good way to stay on track. Planning your meals for the week and prepping a few on your busier days will help save you a lot of time and stress. Plus having your meals planned and prepared will help you avoid any temptations from your favorite take-out place.
Do the right exercises
Add exercise in the mix with a healthy diet, good sleep, and other lifestyle changes and you're on the right path to toning not only your back but your entire body!
Despite popular belief, when it comes to getting rid of back fat and replacing it with muscle, cardio exercises shouldn't be your main focus. Prioritize strength training and throw in some cardio, like walking or HIIT workouts, in the mix occasionally.
So, what are the best exercises for back fat?
We'll be giving you five of our favorite and the best exercises for back fat. And don't worry if you're new to strength training because these exercises are beginner-friendly and can be done with weights or long resistance bands! The last one is a bit more advanced, but it's a good one that you should aim to work up to.
1. Bent-over rows
If you want to tackle upper back fat, this is your go-to exercise! This exercise specifically targets the muscles in your upper and middle back. Choose the free weights to use based on your fitness levels. You can use dumbbells, a barbell, or a long resistance band.
For this example, we'll be giving directions for bent-over dumbbell rows.
- Grab 2 dumbbells and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend slightly at the hips, keeping your back straight, and pull the dumbbells up into your chest.
- Hold for a second and bring the dumbbells back to the starting position.
2. Lat pulldowns (or resistance band pull downs)
Lat pulldowns are an excellent exercise that targets the middle back area where the lat muscles are located. The great thing about this exercise is that it's a good way to train your way up to doing a pull-up! You can either do these on a lat pulldown machine at the gym or a long resistance band.
For those using a resistance band, attach the band on a door hook, squat rack, or wherever you can just make sure it's high, and follow the directions below.
- Start by sitting on the machine, placing your knees under the provided pads.
- Grab the lat bar with a shoulder-width grip.
- Stick your chest out, breathe out, and pull the bar down to your upper chest. Focus on using the lats to pull the bar, not your biceps.
- Hold for a few seconds then slowly reverse the movement back to the starting position.
3. Bent-over dumbbell flyes
This exercise is also known as the reverse fly and it targets the posterior deltoids (shoulder muscles), and major upper back muscles. There is a machine for this at most gyms, but you can easily do it with a pair of dumbbells or a long resistance band.
- Hold dumbbells at your sides and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Hinge from the hips until your body is almost parallel to the floor.
- Allow the arms to hang straight down from the shoulders with a neutral grip.
- Take a deep breath and pull the dumbbells towards the ceiling using the rear deltoids
- Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position under control.
4. Back extension
This exercise is also known as the superman because it looks like you are flying through the sky... Except you're laying on the ground. Not only does it target your lower back muscles, but it also hits your lower body (glutes, hips), and shoulders. This is also a great exercise for home workouts since it requires no equipment!
- Lie face down on an exercise mat with arms fully extended in front of you.
- Simultaneously raise your arms, legs, and chest off of the floor, making sure you squeeze the lower back.
- Hold this contraction for two seconds.
- Slowly begin to lower your arms, legs, and chest back down while inhaling.
5. Plank with dumbbell row
This is an advanced compound exercise that works your core muscles and your entire back. It's extra challenging since your body is working to remain stable, so work your way up to this one.
- Place your hands on a pair of dumbbells and get into a push-up or plank position.
- Make sure that your arms are completely straight with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and your palms facing each other. Your body should form a straight line.
- Keeping your core tight and elbows close to your body, row one dumbbell off of the floor, pulling your elbow as high as you can while you squeeze your shoulder blade back.
- Return the dumbbell to the floor.
- Repeat with the other arm.
For those who want more of a challenge, use a heavier weight, or try different, more difficult variations of these exercises! These are just five exercises, of many, that you can include in your workout routine to build muscle in your back and entire upper body! But if you need more ideas for back exercises, check out our Tips and Exercises To Help You Strengthen Your Back.
In summary, back fat is not something to be embarrassed or insecure about. Having fat is natural, but if you want to improve your health, weight loss goals aside, then make the necessary changes needed to get you there. These exercises are great at sculpting and toning the back, but remember, it's all about balance - Eat a healthy, nutritious diet, get plenty of sleep, manage your stress levels, and exercise regularly.