While some of us have trouble making our belly fat disappear, other people can’t rid their bodies of back fat no matter how hard they try. Also referred to as a “bra bulge”, back fat is that that annoying band of chub that clings to the back muscles and creates a fold of skin above the waistline or a bulge that peeks out of a bra band.
#1 Weight training
The USDA may recommend an hour of cardio five times a week for optimal heart health, but jogging alone won’t help you lose your back fat. “You need a combination of both weight training and cardio to get fat off your body,” Mike Duffy, CPT, explains, adding, “Cardio alone will only train one type of muscle fiber and you’ll only be building one part of your fat-burning furnace. I see many people doing tons of cardio every day and not lifting weights. They never change the way they look.”
Adding HIIT and weight training sessions to your workout a few times a week will also put “you in oxygen debt, so your body will have to play ‘catch up’ after the workout is done. This increases the rate of metabolism to tap into more fat loss during and after the workout,” Duffy explains.
To work your core muscles and stabilize your back to get rid of fat, try this no-gym workout:
- Place two dumbbells on the floor and assume a push-up position, with your hands on the dumbbells about shoulder-width apart. Your body should be as stiff and straight as a plank, forming a straight line from head to toe. There’s an added degree of difficulty as you work to prevent the dumbbells from rolling out from under you.
- Hold the position for 30 seconds.
- If you want to further target the back area, lift one arm at a time to shoulder height and hold it for a few seconds.
Sick of the bulge that pokes out around your shoulder blades? Well, stop stressing! Studies show that stress tends to increase levels of cortisol, the hormone that donates those extra pounds to your backside. De-stressing can be as simple as taking up a weekly yoga class and relishing every second of savasana. Plus, holding and breathing through poses such as warrior 3 and half-moon can help strengthen and tone your back and core muscles.
#4 Eat more sweet potatoes.
Think you can lose back fat if you’re a carbaholic? Think again! Sweet potatoes are digested slowly and keep you feeling fuller and energized longer than many other carbs. They’re also loaded with satiating fiber and carotenoids, antioxidants that stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat.
#5 Hydrate with H2O.
Sometimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just dehydrated. And that’s why we recommend gulping down the daily recommended eight to ten glasses of water. It can fill you up without setting you back a single calorie! Not a fan of plain plain H2O? Slicing up whole citrus fruits contributes d-limonene (an antioxidant found in the peels) to your cup, which can help your body excrete toxins and fat. So prep a pitcher of detox water and enjoy sipping your way slim.
Brew a cup of green tea.
By now, we’ve all probably heard of green tea’s fat-busting effects. But, make way for its far more powerful cousin, matcha. According to Kristen Carlucci, RD, matcha green tea has more EGCG (a powerful antioxidant that increases levels of the hunger-banishing hormone CCK) than standard green tea. “One study found that drinking the stuff after exercise can increase your fat burn by up to 25 percent,” says Carlucci. So follow up those bent-over dumbbell rows with a matcha protein shake to trim the fat off your upper and lower back.
Cut back on sodium.
Although salt may seem innocent, flavoring even the blandest foods without any additional calories, it can actually cause rapid weight gain and bloating that can contribute to your unsightly bra bulge. Consuming more than the daily recommended 2,300 milligrams per day (1,500 mg if you have high blood pressure) can spike cravings and cause you to eat more. “The biggest moment-to-moment benefit of reducing salt intake is that you won’t be carrying that extra fluid on your body,” explains Jessica Crandall, RD, of VitalRD. So if you need a quick fix to de-bloat fast, stay away from the salt shaker.