The only way to get rid of back rolls is to lose fat from all over your body. Regular exercise burns calories and builds lean mass, which can make your back firmer and more defined. But not all types of exercise are created equal.
Burning Calories to Lose Weight
Trying to get rid of back rolls? Then you need to get leaner overall. Fat loss requires an energy deficit, meaning that you have to burn more calories than you take in, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It's not as easy as it sounds, though — even if you work out a lot, you can eat enough to replace all the calories you've burned.
Read more: How to Get Rid of Lower Back Fat
The best approach to losing weight involves both diet and exercise. Choose the right kind of exercise, and you'll burn more calories. Shift your diet to be more calorie-conscious and reduce your energy intake.
When you burn more calories than you take in, you're in a state of "negative energy balance," according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. This state allows your body to lose fat. If you take in the same number of calories as you burn, you'll maintain your weight. If you eat more than you burn, you'll end up putting on pounds.
Get Rid of Back Rolls
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has some exercise recommendations that can help you get started with your workouts. They outline two different types of exercise: aerobic and resistance training.
For aerobic training, there are two different kinds that the CDC recommends. The first is moderate-intensity aerobic training, such as brisk walking. The other type is vigorous-intensity training, which encompasses exercises running or jumping rope.
As far as moderate-intensity exercise goes, try to get at least 150 minutes per week. When it comes to vigorous-intensity workouts, aim for 75 minutes or more. Depending on your schedule, you can do 30 minutes per day, five times per week, or 50 minutes per day, three times per week.
Resistance training is also recommended at least two times each week. For best results, try to work most, if not all, of the major muscle groups. That means your legs, back, chest, hips, shoulders, arms and abs should each be involved at least twice per week.
Aerobic or Interval Training?
For your aerobic training, you can choose moderate-intensity training, vigorous exercise or both. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and rowing. The intensity is relative to your fitness level, so if you're in good shape, your workout will be more difficult than that of someone new to training.
Interval training, sometimes referred to as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), involves periods of all-out effort followed by rest. This training method puts more stress on your body, increasing the calorie burn. Your heart rate will go higher than it will during steady-state training.
Examples of HIIT training include circuit-style workouts and sports like boxing, where you stop and then start all over. You can even include body-weight exercises like burpees, push-ups, triceps dips and mountain climbers into your HIIT routine. That's a good choice for at-home workouts.
The American Council on Exercise points out that HIIT training is time-efficient. While jogging and other types of steady-state training can take an hour or longer to complete, interval workouts can be 30 minutes or shorter, depending on how hard you work.
Does HIIT Really Work?
There isn't a big difference between HIIT and steady-state training in terms of fat loss, according to a May 2017 review published in Obesity Reviews. Researchers looked over multiple studies comparing interval training and steady-state training. HIIT and sprint interval training yielded similar results to moderate-intensity training.
Keep in mind that the researchers weren't looking at how long each workout took. Instead, they assessed how much body fat was lost with each style of training. However, they did find that HIIT training might not actually be more time-efficient than steady-state training.
As the scientists note, there wasn't a significant amount of body fat lost in either group. This is important because it shows that your workouts might not be enough to get you to lose fat and get rid of back rolls.
Other studies indicate the opposite. For example, a May 2019 research paper in the British Journal of Sports Medicine indicates that both interval training and moderate-intensity continuous training facilitate fat loss, but the former is more effective.
Resistance Training to Lose Fat
For further benefits, incorporate resistance training into your workouts. This form of exercise can be performed with equipment like dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, cable machines and resistance bands. A small study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in May 2019 suggests that combining aerobic and strength training is effective for fat loss.
Don't focus on just one body part, such as your back muscles. If you do so, you may experience improvements in muscle tone, but you may not necessarily lose fat. Your body cannot burn fat in one specific area.
Spot reduction is based on the idea that you can do specific exercises to get rid of back fat and bra overhang by only targeting the back muscles. The same goes for belly fat. Unfortunately, this approach doesn't work. Fat loss occurs all over the body, not just in one spot.
Therefore, it's important to create a well-rounded workout routine that targets all of the major muscles. Add HIIT or cardio to the mix to burn more calories and fat.
Nutrition to Lose Back Fat
If you're having trouble burning fat from exercise, you should take a look at your diet. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has some recommendations for healthy eating to lose fat or maintain a healthy weight.
Start by choosing whole grains over refined carbohydrates, such as breakfast cereals. This means you should eat oatmeal or whole-grain bread instead of sugary cereals or white bread.
Fill up on vegetables. Spinach, kale, cucumbers and other veggies are high in water and fiber, keeping you full longer. Lean meats like seafood and poultry are recommended too due to their high protein content, which promotes satiety. In general, try to stay away from sugary foods like desserts and soft drinks.
Read more: The DOs and DON'Ts of Clean Eating
The key to fat loss is to consume fewer calories. However, meeting your nutritional needs is just as important. Reach for whole and minimally processed foods, watch your portions and avoid hidden sugars.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Health Tips for Adults"
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: "Effects of 12-Week Concurrent High-Intensity Interval Strength and Endurance Training Program on Physical Performance in Healthy Older People"
- Obesity Reviews: "A Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis of Interval Training Versus Moderate‐Intensity Continuous Training on Body Adiposity"
- American Council on Exercise: "Steady State Vs. Interval Training: Which One is Best for Your Clients?"
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?"
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: "Balance Food and Activity"
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: "Exercise and Activity for Weight Loss"
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: "Is Interval Training the Magic Bullet for Fat Loss? a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Comparing Moderate-Intensity Continuous Training With High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)"