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Blog » Fitness » Workouts » Back workouts » Lower Back Fat: Lifestyle Changes To Help You Get Rid Of This Unsightly Extra Fat

Lower Back Fat: Lifestyle Changes To Help You Get Rid Of This Unsightly Extra Fat

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Do you see the fat that spills over the top of your pants in the back? That is the lower back fat, the focus of this article. Also referred to as love handles, lower back is the skin area that extends outwards from the hips (7). Another kind is upper back fat which spills over the back of the bra strap, while mid-back fat folds near the back of the waist (11). The unappealing fat on your lower back may make you feel uncomfortable and lower your self-esteem; therefore, you may think that it is time to get rid of them once and for all, using safe, affordable, and effective ways.

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Do you have lower back fat and are looking for ways to get rid of it? Now that you have identified that your issue is your lower back fat, it is time to find the best solution. The lower back is made up of the erector spinae muscle, while the upper one has trapezius and rhomboids, and the middle one latissimus dorsi (2). You can get rid of lower back fat using non-surgical methods that will bear great results in the long run.

Causes Of Back Fat

To get rid of something, you need to understand its root cause. Back fat is caused by several factors, such as the atrophy of back muscles (loss of strength and muscle tone) and excess fat, resulting from poor nutrition and lack of physical activity (2). Excess body fat plus weak and non-toned muscles contribute to the accumulation of excess fat tissue around the back, hence back flab appearance, which causes the muffin top appearance when the region affected is the lower and side back. Other than fat retention, lower back fat may be caused by (7)

  • Age- The older you get, the more the belly fat accumulates
  • Hormones, for example, too much cortisol
  • Not engaging in physical activity
  • Sleep deprivation (1)
  • Health conditions that have not been diagnosed or treated, which slows down your metabolism, for example, hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) that makes it hard for the body to burn extra fat (5

Although love handles are not dangerous, they may be an indicator or underlying risk factor for chronic diseases such as hypertension, heart diseases, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, stroke, cancer (particularly breast and colon), sleep apnea and other breathing conditions, osteoarthritis, and liver diseases (7).

Read More: Band Back Exercises To Work Your Back Muscles On A Whole New Level

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Best Way To Lose Lower Back Fat

When searching for how to lose lower back fat, exercises and diet come first because you can only get rid of extra body fat by consuming fewer calories than those you burn. Although you may not be able to eliminate the lower back fat due to genetic reasons completely, you can change how your lower, middle, and upper back appears by eating right and engaging in appropriate workouts. Other lifestyle changes such as managing stress and getting enough rest may also contribute to an appealing lower back. Here is how to get rid of lower back fat.

Lower Back Fat Workouts

Calories are best burnt through workouts; however, if you want to target lower back fat, that may be unattainable because spot-reduction is a myth, meaning that losing body fat only in one area is almost impossible. Nevertheless, some exercises target specific parts of the body, and identifying the effective exercises for the back may help get rid of the love handles as you shed extra fat in other regions. Building muscles along the torso and spine may help reshape your back, therefore, focus on all muscles around the back for a well rounded and proportioned body shape. Here are some exercises for lower back fat and love handles. 

  • Resistance training involving dumbbells, machines, and other body weights-Increasing resistance training, also known as weight or strength training, will help get rid of this unwanted fat. Try to engage in a minimum of 2 half-hour resistance training exercises every week. These include planks, squats, lunges, and bicycle crunches, among others. 
  • Cardio- Increase the duration and intensity for maximum results, as recommended by your trainer. Include high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your cardio plan to prevent too much stress in the body and increase cortisol that may be caused by daily long-distance, moderate-high intensity cardio (4).
  • Strengthening exercise -This helps shape the upper, middle, and lower back muscles (11). Slouching makes the back fat to be more noticeable; therefore, stand taller and encourage better posture. Engage in lower back workouts that will strengthen the core.
  • Aerobic activities such as bike riding, swimming, and walking-They lead to gradual fat loss and weight maintenance (7). 

For optimum outcome, combine cardiovascular workouts with weight lifting and targeted movements. Note that resistance and strengthening exercises help tone the muscles and enhance flexibility but do not shrink fat cells. Healthline recommends up to 5 hours of moderate workout every week to lose overall body fat (7).

Examples Of Specific Workouts Targeting Abs, Back, And Hip Regions 

Eat This, Not That! recommends planks, weighted rows, lats, yoga, push-ups, and side crunches. Here is how to correctly perform some of these workouts as guided by Healthline (7)

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Bicycle Crunches

To properly perform this, move slowly and in a controlled manner. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Place hands behind the head, and bend your knees.
  3. Lift head and shoulders off the ground while engaging the abs; as you lift your feet off the ground, knees should be bent to make the shins parallel to the floor.
  4. Slowly move your left elbow towards the right knee. The left leg should be straight out in front as you make this body twist.
  5. Switch to the right elbow and twist your body as above, this time extending the right leg out in front.
  6. Repeat 15-30 times.

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Side Planks

To perform a basic side plank:

  1. Lie on your side.
  2. Place the elbow in line with the shoulder and the forearm flat against the floor and at a right angle to your body to prop yourself up on one arm.
  3. Make your body form a straight line from the head to the hip by stacking your legs, one on top of the other. 
  4. Knees still touching the ground, raise the hips.
  5. Squeeze your glutes and hold on to this position for 30-60 seconds. Concentrate on keeping the abs tight to help support your body.
  6. Switch sides and repeat the steps above.

You may try raising your knees off the ground so that only the side of the foot and the forearm are the only parts touching the ground to challenge yourself more. You may include hip dips, whereby you slowly lower the hips an inch or 2, then slowly lift it back up while on a side-plank position. Repeat the move for 30-60 seconds.

Russian Twists

The steps involved are:

  1. Sit on the floor. Your feet should be flat on the ground and knees bent.  
  2. Tighten your abdomen as you lean the torso back for your body to make about a 45-degrees angle to the floor.
  3. Clasp your hands together.
  4. Knees still bent, lift your feet from the floor to balance on your butt. You may cross your ankles if you require extra support. 
  5. Twist the torso to the right, bringing the clasped hands to the right side.
  6. Similarly, twist to the left.
  7. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.

When you get used to doing this seated workout without weights, you can further modify it by adding hand weight, for example, a filled water bottle to increase the resistance. Instead of clasping hands in step 3, you will hold the weight in your hands, just above the abdomen.

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Bridge

This is one of the exercises for lower back fat that also works the glutes. The steps involved are:

  1. Lie on the back, arms at the sides, knees bent, and palms flat against the floor.
  2. Lift your butt and lower back off the ground, slowly. Doing so will create a straight line from the knees to the shoulders. You may lift a foot off the floor as you lift the hips to make it more challenging, and every time you repeat the move, switch your leg.
  3. Squeeze the glutes together and maintain this position for 30 seconds or until you feel glutes and abs sagging.
  4. Release the muscles slowly, then lower yourself back down to the floor. 
  5. Repeat 10 times.

Mountain Climber

Steps are:

  1. Take a plank position by lying flat on the floor with your face down (the body should be straight from head to toes), then place your hands under your shoulders, arms straight but not locked, and curl the toes to press into the floor. Push up.
  2. Abs tight, lift the right foot off the floor and pull the right knee towards the left elbow.
  3. Maintain this position briefly, then return the foot to the original position before repeating on the other side.
  4. Repeat the steps for 30-60 seconds. 

As you get stronger, increase the speed and extend the time. Mountain climbers may increase heart rate and strengthen muscles.

Note that focus should not be on the type of exercise only, but also on those that motivate and encourage you to exercise. Select workouts that will not make you bored or burn out. Variation in the workout routine is key. 

Read More: Types Of Workouts For Weight Loss: Understanding The Difference For Better Results

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Diet

As mentioned earlier, body fat is shed by working out and eating right, among other lifestyle changes. Since weight gain or loss depends on the calories you consume and burn; poor eating will sabotage your workout effects; therefore, it is important to control your calorie intake. Dietary changes and controlling the portions you eat will go a long way in helping you get your dream body (7).

Consume:

  • Foods rich in minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients.
  • Plenty of lean protein, for example, fish, eggs, and white-meat poultry. They promote muscle growth, resulting in strong back muscles, which help enhance posture and make you look taller and thinner (11).
  • Plant-based foods, for example, dark leafy greens, whole grains, and berries. They offer essential nutrients without additional fat and calories (7).
  • Legumes and beans may make you feel full, reducing the quantity of food that you eat.
  • Drink up because taking enough water every day helps the muscles to recover (2). It also flushes toxins from the body and makes you feel full; therefore, you will eat less. 

Avoid:

  • Processed foods, sugar, and carbohydrates, for example, pasta, white bread, sodas, candies, and commercial baked goods. These have little nutrition, are high in sugars, and slow down your body. A 2016 study published in the Nutrition Reviews journal confirms that processed sugar increases visceral fat (8).
  • Too much alcohol. According to expert opinion on WebMD, drinking alcohol makes your liver burn off the drink instead of fat during and after consumption, which may result in “beer belly ” (13). You may also easily overdo it on calories when drinking; therefore, your alcohol consumption should be limited for you to get rid of excess lower back fat. 
  •  Too much sodium intake. It should be below 2300 milligrams daily milligrams to prevent hypertension and fluid retention that can worsen the lower back fat (7).

Obtaining all the required nutrients energizes you and prepares you for the workouts. According to EverydayHealth, know the number of calories you require daily, then subtract 500 from that amount to lose 1 pound a week (3). 

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Get Enough Rest

Other than lifestyle change involving healthy dieting and exercise routine, rest is equally important when it comes to how to lose lower back fat for guys and ladies. For example, if you are worn out, you may not be able to work out and might get injured. According to Muscle and Fitness, you need about 6-8 hours of sleep every night for your mind and body to perform optimally (2). A 2010 study shows that poor sleep and sleep loss inhibits fat loss, and after a bad night’s sleep, you tend to eat more (9). Therefore, get that beauty sleep that will eventually contribute to your desired lower back appearance. 

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Manage Stress

Are you aware that stress hormones slow down the body’s ability to burn fat (2)? Stress raises the hormone cortisol, which causes visceral fat and increased body weight (10). Therefore, it is important to take care of your mental health in the same way you care of your physical body in order to shed off unwanted pounds. Take regular breaks to relax your mind and soul so that stressful situations don’t weigh you down completely and hinder your weight loss journey, among many other side effects.

Note:

  • Wearing tight clothes make love handles be more pronounced (7). You may want to change your wardrobe and include clothes, such as underwear and pants, that will not exaggerate this body fat. Go for pants that fit the waist instead of the hips to help reduce the constriction around the hips that emphasizes love handles (7).
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Ladies are not the only ones who are sensitive to love handles. Men, too, have issues with their lower back fat and can follow the above tips, which provide solutions on how to get rid of lower back fat male. Work hard to lose that muffin top-always step up your game, and if possible, get an accountability partner and personal trainer to push you towards attaining your goals. If combining the above options does not work, go get your blood and stool tested to check your gut health because you may be dealing with insulin resistance, hidden inflammation, or other hormonal imbalance.

Several surgical and nonsurgical procedures target the lower back fat, for example, liposuction (11). Healthline recommends considering such extreme measures if your BMI is above 40, or more than 35 combined with other related health conditions (7). These medical procedures have side effects and are costly, so carefully weigh your options before trying them, and they should be conducted strictly after consulting a board- certified surgeon or dermatologist.

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Final Thought

Getting rid of the lower back fat requires a commitment to recommended lifestyle changes and hard work in implementing them. Understand your body and what works for you before jumping into any weight loss routine. Generally, combining a healthy eating plan and appropriate workouts, plus enough sleep and managing stress, will yield results in the long run and boost your overall health. However, even though these methods are safe, it is necessary to consult the relevant experts before trying them.

Check out this 20-min Full Body Workout at Home.

DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

Reviewed by: Inga Grebeniuk-Gillyer

SOURCES:

  1. 7 Ways Sleep Can Help You Lose Weight (2017, healthline.com)
  2. 11 REASONS WHY YOU CAN’T LOSE YOUR BACK FAT (n.d, muscleandfitness.com)
  3. A Scientifically Proven Way to Lose 1 Pound of Weight (2020, everydayhealth.com)
  4. Comparable Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Prolonged Continuous Exercise Training on Abdominal Visceral Fat Reduction in Obese Young Women (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  5. Everything You Need to Know About Hypothyroidism (2020, healthline.com)
  6. How to Get Rid of Back Fat: Exercises, Foods, and Lifestyle Changes (2019, eatthis.com)
  7. Love Handles: What Causes Them, and How Do You Get Rid of Them?(2020, healthline.com)
  8. Potential link between excess added sugar intake and ectopic fat: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  9. Sleep loss limits fat loss (2010, sciencedaily.com)
  10. Stress-induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women (1994, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  11. The 3 Best Ways to Lose Back Fat (2020,.verywellfit.com)
  12. The Real Reasons You Can’t Shed Lower Back Fat (and How You Can Trim Your Waistline) (2018,cheatsheet.com)
  13. The Truth About Beer and Your Belly (n.d, webmd.com)
J. Tabalia

J. Tabalia

Jedidah is a passionate writer with over 5 years of experience in researching and providing content on healthy eating habits, specifically in relation to nutritious dieting, exercising, and weight loss that contribute to a person's overall well-being. She injects her go-getter mentality and can-do attitude into every article because she believes that happiness begins with good health, so the more people she inspires to embark on a healthy journey, the better. Jedidah provides tailored, evidence-based content that will ensure her readers that fitting healthy diets and workouts into their hectic lifestyles is not only possible, but easy and affordable.
She believes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step and a steadfast commitment to a healthy lifestyle is bound to pay off.

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