I have heard people ask many times, “How do I get rid of my back fat and love handles? Is it even possible?” The answer? Yes! It is very possible to get rid of back fat. But let’s cut the BS. You cannot lose back fat alone as you may have heard from a so called ‘fitness guru’. It is simply not possible to lose fat in a specific area of your body. In order to lose back fat, you will need to lose body fat throughout your entire body. Which is actually great news I’d say! You will reap the benefits of losing body fat not only in your troublesome area, but in all areas of your body as well.
So what’s the best way to lose fat on your back and love handles?
Lets start with the basics. Losing fat on your body comes by doing one thing and one thing only — burning more calories than you are consuming. There are many diet claims out there that seem to over look this fact. But it’s true and is backed by a fair amount of science. However, the macronutrients of the foods you are eating do have an impact on your body composition, physical performance, cholesterol, and many other factors. So some calories are better than others when it comes to physiological factors.
When it comes to LOSING weight (for example), a calorie is in fact a calorie. Say you have two groups of two people who both keep a calorie intake of 2200 cals per day (both are on a 400 calorie deficit). Group 1 gets their calories from ice cream, pizza, french fries, donuts, etc. Group 2 gets their calories from chicken breast, egg whites, oatmeal, rice, etc. Both groups WILL lose weight. However, Because group 2 has higher protein and healthier macronutrient profile, they will have a better body composition since they will maintain muscle mass as opposed to losing muscle mass as well as have other vital nutrients that support the body’s needs.
Here is the best approach:
- Hit your protein and fat requirements.
- Follow a diet which has highly nutritious foods that are enjoyable for you to eat.
- Have your cheat snacks and meals if needed.
- Exercise on consistent basis (whatever that is for you to reach your goals).
- Overall healthy lifestyle choices.
So if you already have healthy eating habits and a high protein diet, you can eat junk food sparingly and still see results. However, it is VERY important to maintain a calorie deficit if you are trying to lose fat.
So you might be now be asking yourself this question: How do I find out the amount of calories I need to lose fat? First, you need to calculate what is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) (see bmr calculator). Your BMR is the amount of calories your body burns with no activity at all. So this number would be a fairly accurate measurement of the amount of calories burned if you were to sleep all day. Once you find out your BMR, you can plug it into the Harris Benedict Formula. This formula will factor in your activity level. It looks like this: BMR x Activity Level. So if your BMR is 1900 and your activity level is 1.2, you will need to eat 2,280 calories in order to maintain your current weight. So if you wanted to lose weight, you would need to eat something like 2000-2100 calories per day. Now, this will give you a pretty good indication of how many calories you can eat to lose weight. It is up to you to tweak the amount based on the progress you are getting. Not seeing any weight lose after a couple of weeks? Try cutting your calories by another 100 or so and monitor the results.
A Few Excellent Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles
Cardio exercise is a great way to burn some extra calories (and take away some inches on your love handles as well). However, you should consider adding some back exercises with weights into your workout program. So pick a day out of the week to focus on working your back muscles. This will not only lead to more weight loss (weight lifting actually burns more calories as your muscle repairs), it will also help tone your back muscles and make the fat a little less apparent. So this would benefit you in two ways – 1. losing back fat and 2. Toning back muscles
Here are a couple of very effective back exercises:
1. Lat Pull Downs/ Pull Ups
This back exercise will target your Latissimus dorsi muscle. Now, many people struggle to do a pull up unassisted. No problem! You can do lat pull downs in your gym or get some resistance bands if you would like to try doing it at home. Start with a weight that you can complete at least 8 full and controlled repetitions on, then gradually increase the weight at a steady pace.
2. Seated Rows
Seated rows target your back as the primary muscle. It also involves your biceps and traps. The motion is much like the one used when rowing a canoe or a kayak. It just might be a bit heavier! Just remember to squeeze your back muscles as you pull the weight back. Avoid jerking the weight and incorporate a nice fluid motion.
An excellent way to get rid of back fat (lots of calories burned), the deadlift is probably one of the most famous weight lifting exercises. It is very important to have the correct form to prevent injury. This exercise will involve just about every muscle in your body. So be prepared to have some sore muscles in the days following!
Here is how to perform a deadlift properly: (You can practice with a broom and maybe have someone look over your form)
You may be thinking, “Isn’t this a leg exercise? I want to get rid of back fat, not leg fat!” Trust me on this, this exercise greatly involves your back since your back is supporting a good amount of weight throughout the movement. Doing compound movement like the squat is a great way to burn calories since you are involving many muscles throughout your entire body (more muscles repairing=more calories burned).
Here’s a great video showing proper form for a low bar squat:
These exercises will give you a solid foundation to build a great program for yourself that will allow you to achieve your goal on losing back fat.
Please note: With the exception of squats and dead lifts, these exercises are primarily for the back only. You should incorporate other exercises into your program to target other parts of your body.
Learning how to get rid of back fat fast is just step one. The next step is to take action and accomplish your goals!