Everybody’s got some amount of back fat. But if you have some extra back fat that you’d like to shed, we’ve got your back (and the fat that comes with it).
Here’s how to get rid of back fat the healthy way with diet and exercise.
Body fat is actually essential for a bunch of things like regulating your body temp, storing energy, and aiding in digestion. So, having fat doesn’t mean you’re unhealthy right off the bat. You actually need it to ya know, survive.
Without enough fat, you might have to deal with issues like vitamin deficiencies, hormone probs, or nervous system damage.
Keep in mind that according to the American Council on Exercise, most healthy women should have about 21 to 35 percent body fat. Healthy men should have about 8 to 24 percent.
Excess upper, middle, and lower back fat builds up for the same reason any other fat does: due to genetics, a lack of exercise, a sedentary lifestyle, or certain health conditions.
With age, fat also tends to accumulate more around your belly area, which can also lead to so-called “love handles” on your lower back.
Losing fat typically requires a combo of eating healthy, working out regularly, and reducing calories. Doing exercises that build muscle in your upper and lower back can also tone up your back muscles.
Psst… Here’s the deal with spot reduction
Repeat after us: Localized fat loss 👏 does 👏 NOT 👏 work! You can’t just lose fat in one area of your bod — including your back. Instead, you have to lose weight all over to notice a difference.
1. Cut cals to create a deficit
You’ve prob heard this one before: Cutting calories is key to fat loss. It takes about 3,500 calories to equal 1 pound of fat. So, if you reduce your calories by about 300 to 500 calories per day, you can lose 1 to 2 pounds each week.
The healthy intake for adults ranges from 1,400 to 3,200 calories per day. The number of calories per day you’ll need depends on numerous factors, including age, sex, height, weight and your level of physical activity.
2. Watch sodium intake
When you’re feeling a little more bloated than usual, fat might not even be to blame — it could be water weight. Regularly munching on salty foods can cause you to retain excess water that adds to stomach and back bloat.
You know that feeling you get after eating a cup of noodles? Yeah, that’s what sodium does to you. To get back on track, cut down on processed and restaurant foods, which are often super salty.
3. Munch on fiber-rich foods
You don’t have to meticulously count calories to eat better. Instead, opt for healthful, fiber-rich and low sodium foods like avocados, eggs, nuts, leafy greens and veggies, fish, and lean chicken breast.
Eating fiber-rich, nutrient dense foods will keep your digestive system regular, lower bad cholesterol levels, and help you maintain a healthy weight.
4. Keep tabs on carbs and starches
High carb and starchy foods are delicious. But unfortunately, they’re usually full of sugars and empty calories. Cutting back on foods like white bread, crackers, chips, and cookies can have a major impact on weight loss as well as your overall health.
Remember: Everything in moderation. You don’t have to skip out on your fave Sunday morning croissant to be healthy and feel amaze.
5. Sip on more H2O
Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re actually just thirsty. Stay hydrated and feel more satiated by sipping on more water throughout the day.
Most adults lose about 2.5 to 3 liters of water per day, which is about how much you need to gulp down to stay healthy.
Can you get rid of back fat fast?
Like with most things, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss. One research review found that rapid-fire weight loss leads to more muscle loss than slow, long-term weight loss.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy weight loss is at a pace of about 1 to 2 pounds a week. Any faster, and you could face adverse effects like nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, and headaches.
1. Reverse hip raise with exercise ball
In case you didn’t already know, an exercise ball is the ultimate quarantine accessory.
- To pull off this back-busting move, lie on your stomach on the ball, your palms flat on the floor, your eyes looking down.
- Squeeze your glutes to balance on the ball. Press your legs up while keeping the ball from rocking.
- Hold for several seconds, lower, and repeat for 15 reps.
2. Side plank crunch
- Start in a side elbow plank with your left elbow on the floor and your right hand behind your head.
- Lift your hips and squeeze your core.
- Bring your right leg up toward your shoulder and give your right elbow a little tap.
- Lengthen your leg to return to the starting position and take it from the top.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
3. Kneeling side leg lift
- Start on your right arm in a kneeling side plank. Extend your left leg up and out by squeezing your lower back, legs and glutes. Your arm and knee should support your weight.
- Lower your left toes to the floor and squeeze those muscles to bring it back up.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps on each side.
- Clark Kent who? Lie down with your arms and legs outstretched, your forehead on the floor.
- Slowly lift your head, arms, legs, and upper back off the floor.
- Hold for several seconds, lower back down, and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
5. Dumbbell (or kettlebell) swing
- Dumbbell or kettlebell handy? Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees slightly, thrust your hips back, and move the weight between your legs in a swinging motion.
- Swing it back to chest level, pause, and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
This classic yoga pose helps improve your posture and build muscle. (When your spine’s straight and tall, you might not find much of an issue with your back fat, after all.)
- Start on all fours, your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Drop your stomach and lift your chin and tailbone upward.
- Now arch in the opposite direction, sucking your stomach inward and tucking your tailbone.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat about 15 to 20 times. Whatever feels good!
Don’t forget the cardio!
Moving your body with cardio and strength training gets you closer to not only a healthy lifestyle, but it can help you melt away fat.
One study showed that just 20 to 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous cardio per day can help you burn fat and boost your metabolism.
Not much of a jogger or spinning enthusiast? No prob. Simply walking more can burn enough calories to lead to weight loss. Try trekking more on foot to reap the benefits.
1. Lateral raises with dumbbells
- Start with a dumbbell in each hand, your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly raise the weights until your arms are outstretched, parallel with the floor.
- Then slowly bring your arms back to your sides.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
2. Bent-over dumbbell rows
- Stand shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand. Hinge at the hips until your back’s flat and your chest is parallel with the floor.
- Lower the dumbbells toward the floor until your arms straighten.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together, bring your belly button toward your spine, and bring the dumbbells back toward your hips.
- Take it from the top and repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
- Start in forearm plank position: elbows on the floor under your shoulders, your feet hip-width apart. Keep your back flat and your head and neck neutral.
- Squeeze your back, quads, glutes, and core for 60 seconds.
- Repeat 2 or 3 more times. You can also break it down into 30 seconds.
4. Wide grip resistance band lat pull-down
- Have a resistance band handy? You’ll need to secure it to a stable surface like a pull-up bar above your head. Just make sure it’s very secure before attempting.
- While holding onto the straps, walk away from the bar until you feel some resistance in the band.
- Facing the bar, slightly hinge your hips back and straighten your arms in front of you slightly above your head with your palms facing down.
- Bend your elbows and pull them downward toward your mid-back while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Pause at the bottom before straightening your arms again. Resistance can be changed by moving closer to or farther away from the bar.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times.
5. Reverse dumbbell fly
- Grab your dumbbells and stand shoulder-width apart.
- Hinge your hips back at a 45-degree angle and hang your arms straight down.
- With your eyes on the floor, squeeze your shoulders and lift your arms up and outward.
- Repeat for 10 to 15 reps.
You don’t have to be a gym enthusiast or clean-eating fan to cut back on some back fat. Over time, small lifestyle changes can lead to major changes. Here are a few tips to move toward a healthier you:
- Yoga: You don’t need to attend a fancy class to implement some yoga into your life — just grab a mat, pull up a YouTube video, and downward dog your way into better physical fitness.
- Sleep: Sleeping for weight loss sounds too good to be true… right? Not exactly. One research review found a link between poor sleep quality and obesity in adolescents. Even if you’re not a kid, scientists think that a lack of sleep may negatively impact your metabolism.
- Posture: Constantly being hunched over a laptop can quickly lead to poor posture. Straightening the spine causes weight to distribute differently on the body, which often lends a slimmer appearance around the core and back.
Sorry, but spot-fat reduction for back fat just isn’t a thing. You can only lose back fat by losing fat all-over on your bod. You can also tone the area by targeting back muscles.
Creating a calorie deficit, eating healthy, and exercising regularly are the keys to the weight loss needed to target back fat.
Remember that some degree of back fat is healthy and totally normal! Give yourself a pat (on the back 😉 ) for working on your physical fitness, but try not to impose unrealistic standards on yourself. Let’s be real: You don’t deserve that ish.