If you want to strengthen your back, you probably know that there are a lot of benefits that come with it. It can improve your posture, reduce your risk of injury, eliminate back pain and strengthen your core. If you’re worried about how this area looks (which is understandable!), you might be wondering how to get rid of back fat while reaping all these health benefits through your diet and exercise routine.
However, you should know that back fat is completely normal. “Genetics and lifestyle habits play a role in how our body stores fat, and no matter how much we’d like to, it’s nearly impossible to treat back fat,” says Jordan Farrell, an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer.
This is true in general and also applies to other parts of the body such as legs and hands. “When it comes to losing fat and building muscle, unfortunately we can’t decide where the fat loss comes from. It’s best to focus on overall fat loss through exercise and diet. Over time, this will help reduce fat in that area,” adds Farrell.
A few exercises along with healthy eating habits can help you achieve overall results and build back muscles. Read on for expert advice on all things fitness and nutrition for a stronger, supportive back.
Meet the experts: Jordan Farrell is an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer. Amy Gorin is a registered dietitian specializing in plant-based diets and the owner of Plant Based with Amy. Helen Tieu is a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator in Vancouver, Canada.
1. Include the right weights in your training.
Using weights during training plays a big role in shedding back fat. But it’s just as important to use the right scales.
“Make sure you choose an appropriate load that allows your reps to be completed through a full range of motion for each exercise,” says Farrell. “You should also be able to complete each rep with control. If you’re just starting to use weights, he recommends eight to 12 repetitions in two to three sets.
2. Don’t neglect your core.
A strong back supports a strong core and vice versa. By targeting your core, you’ll provide a foundation for other activities in and out of the gym. Some exercises for building core strength include dead bugs, bridges, plank variations, bird dogs and supermans, according to Farrell.
3. Make sleep a priority.
Your recovery process is just as important as your training and eating plan. Getting the right amount of sleep will keep you energized and more likely to stay on track to your goals. Something to note: You also burn calories while you sleep.
Your body and mind endure a lot during the day, and your nervous system is constantly trying to find the best way to handle all the stress, which means elevated cortisol levels. When you give your body rest, you can also recover by lowering your cortisol levels and digesting your food.
4. Keep up with your cardio.
Cardio takes a long time if you want to gain muscle and lose weight. “Steady-state cardio like walking, low-impact aerobics, rowing and cycling are great for fat loss because they allow you to train at a lower intensity for longer periods of time, which is also great for your heart,” Farrell explains. . In other words, embrace those hot girl walks.
5. Don’t be afraid to mix it up in your routine.
There are plenty of machines at the gym that target your back muscles, and you can try some new moves on the ones you already know. “You can use a TRX suspension trainer for inverted rows, a cable machine for rows or lateral pull-downs, and kettlebells or dumbbells for unilateral (one-sided) work,” suggests Farrell.
6. Track your calorie intake.
To lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. You can eat a nutritious diet and still gain weight if you don’t watch your portions and overall intake.
“I always recommend that your diet consist of at least 80 percent minimally processed foods,” says Helen Tieu, RD, a nutritionist and certified diabetes educator in Vancouver, Canada.
7. Stay hydrated.
Ideally, you want to aim for 11.5 cups of water per day, according to the Mayo Clinic. Water helps flush out toxins and helps with performance during training. In addition, our bodies are made up of approximately 60 percent water. So when you don’t hydrate properly, your body will store whatever water you have in your system to help maintain your water, sodium, and electrolyte balance, leading to increased water weight.
8. Include more fish in your diet.
The more quality protein you eat, the better. Opting for fish like salmon, which is high in omega-3s, can help reduce body fat, according to a 2012 study. Nutrition and metabolism.
“You can bake salmon and pair it with brown rice and roasted vegetables for a quick dinner, or you can even make salmon bacon,” says Amy Gorin, RD, a plant-based nutritionist.
9. Load up on fiber.
Fiber from all foods fills you up and can help with weight loss, but Gorin specifically recommends adding chickpeas to your diet. Eating foods like chickpeas and lentils a day can cause you to lose about one pound in about six weeks, according to a 2016 study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. “I like to add chickpeas to my rice bowls, and I also make crispy chickpeas for a nutritious snack,” adds Gorin.
10. Limit alcohol.
“Alcohol slows down the body’s ability to process sugar,” Farrell says. It can also have an impact on your appetites and dietary decisions. “If you’re a social drinker, it probably leads you to make different food choices than you would in sober day-to-day life if they were alone,” he adds.
11. Don’t rush the process.
No matter what your fitness goal is, consistency is key. This means managing expectations is a must. “Usually within the first three to six weeks we can start to see some changes, and it really depends on how your body is genetically made and how it adapts to exercise,” notes Farrell. “So it’s really just about giving yourself grace.
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