Love handles, spare tire or muffin top -- all of these terms are used to describe the fat that spans your waistband and sometimes gathers in the lower back. To lose back fat, use traditional weight-loss tactics of diet and exercise. Despite what fitness marketers tell you, targeting the lower back with specific exercises or supplements will not burn off the fat in that one area.
You Cannot Spot Reduce
Side bends, cobras, deadlifts and twists can be part of a total-body strengthening routine to help you build muscle and lose weight. Independently, though, they will not melt fat from your lower back region. Fat is lost when your calorie burn rate exceeds your calorie intake; you cannot melt, rub, massage or wish it away.
To lose the fat at your lower back, reduce your overall body fat percentage. Increase your daily calorie burn with more physical activity and decrease your calorie intake. It takes a 3,500-calorie deficit to burn 1 pound of fat, so a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day for a week will cause you to lose 1 to 2 pounds in seven days.
Diet to Lose Back Fat
Although you can't spot reduce, fat located in the lower back responds to traditional diet and exercise. Cut out refined grains, sugar, alcohol, processed foods and saturated fats to reduce your calorie intake. Fill your plate at each meal with lean protein, whole grains, fresh vegetables and unsaturated fats instead. A typical meal might be a grilled chicken breast with sliced avocado, brown rice and steamed broccoli. For snacks, seek out unsweetened yogurt, raw nuts, cut-up veggies and bean dip, low-fat cheese or fresh fruit. The amount you eat depends on how many calories you determine you need daily. Find an online calorie calculator or talk to a dietitian about the right number for you to lose weight.
Exercise Your Whole Body
Strength training helps you lose weight and create a leaner frame. A body with a greater amount of muscle mass burns more calories at rest. Include lower-back specific exercises if you like, but prioritize full-body, multi-joint movements like squats, pull-ups, push-ups and deadlifts to get the most muscle-developing benefits.
Cardiovascular exercise boosts your daily calorie burn, making it easier for you to create a calorie deficit. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio per week. Longer durations will lead to more significant weight loss, though. Try for at least 250 minutes per week to see notable weight loss, says the American College of Sports Medicine.
De-Stress to Lose Visceral Fat
Living in a constant state of stress can cause fat to accumulate deep in your midsection and collect around her organs. Stress causes you to pump out the hormone cortisol, and high amounts of this hormone correlate with increased storage of visceral fat. To address cortisol levels, eat regularly -- your body perceives skipped meals as stress. Plan to sleep a healthy seven to nine hours per night. Adopt stress-relieving techniques such as yoga and meditation. Take note if you tend to overeat when stressed. Find alternative releases, such as calling a friend, or taking a long walk or a hot bath.
- Forbes: Why Love Handles and Belly Fat Are So Dangerous To Your Health
- American Council on Exercise: Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn
- Shape: Ask the Celebrity Trainer: How Can I Get Rid of Love Handles?
- American College of Sports Medicine: ACSM Position Stand on Physical Activity and Weight Loss