While it may seem boring, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is key for those looking to get rid of lower back fat. Although this plan of attack is more of a marathon than a sprint, it can help those looking to sculpt their mid-section. Follow the tips below for a toned lower back.
While you can't spot-reduce fat in your lower back, maintaining a healthy diet and getting enough exercise can help you burn fat overall.
Forget About Spot Reduction
It may seem counterintuitive, but just because you are working the muscles in a particular area doesn't mean you are targeting the fat in that region. Instead, as the American Council on Exercise explains, working out can help you lose fat overall.
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When you work out at high intensity or for a long time, your body breaks down your fat deposits into glycerol and free fatty acids. These substances enter your bloodstream and act as fuel for the body to continue the exercise. Unfortunately for those looking to get rid of lower back fat, this breakdown can occur anywhere in the body, not just in the arms, legs, back or other specific areas.
Read more: Carb Cycling for Fat Loss
Furthermore, it's important to keep the number of calories you burn while working out in mind. The Mayo Clinic states that one pound of fat is roughly equal to 3,500 calories.
While it may be tempting to increase the number of sit-ups and crunches you are doing to tone your lower back, this isn't enough to burn massive calories. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and cardiovascular exercise torch more calories and hence are more effective for fat loss.
Incorporating strength training, HIIT and cardio workouts into your day and cleaning up your diet can help reduce body fat mass.
Watch Your Diet
Before you make any changes to your workout regimen, it's important to get your diet in check first. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 98 percent of people who have been able to lose weight and keep the fat off changed their eating habits.
Tracking what you eat is an important part of being able to get rid of lower back fat. To avoid mindless (and often unhealthy) eating, try writing down your meals and snacks in a food journal or use a food diary app. This helps you better understand what you take in each day.
The AHA suggests keeping a close eye on your portion sizes to make sure you're not overeating during breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also recommend avoiding junk food when snacking between meals and choosing healthy options like fruits, vegetables and whole grains instead.
As the Cleveland Clinic explains, losing weight is all about burning more calories than you take in. Because of this, focusing solely on exercise without addressing the foods you eat isn't a good strategy. Instead, small dietary changes can make a big difference when you're trying to tone your lower back and burn fat.
Increase Your Activity Level
Once your diet is in check, turn your attention to your daily activity. To get rid of lower back fat, it's crucial to get an appropriate amount of exercise each day. Basically, if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more calories through exercise than you take in through your diet.
To do this, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggests striving to get at least 150 to 250 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. This may include exercises like brisk walking, biking or using the elliptical. Your total time spent working out should be spread out throughout the week.
Read more: The Fat Loss From Long Cardio vs. HIIT
People looking to tone their lower back can also choose to participate in 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. This includes workouts like quick swimming, challenging fitness classes, jogging or sprinting. Note that these guidelines represent the minimum recommended weekly amount of activity. Completing more than this may lead to additional fat being burned.
Remember to Strengthen Your Muscles
When you think about losing weight and eliminating fat in your midsection, sometimes cardio exercise gets all the attention. However, it's just as important to incorporate strength training into your workouts if you want to sculpt your lower back.
According to a July-August 2012 review published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, adding resistance training exercises into your routine can have numerous benefits. People who perform this type of exercise saw improvements in their resting metabolism. This occurs because the increased size of their muscles requires additional fuel and energy from the body to maintain the tissue.
Additionally, people who engaged in strength training regularly lost body fat overall. This type of exercise appears to be particularly effective at reducing fat in the abdominal and waist areas. Thus, it may benefit those looking to get rid of lower back fat.
To harness these fat-burning benefits, the HHS recommends performing resistance training workouts that target the major muscle groups at least twice per week. Strength exercises should be done at a moderate or higher intensity and may incorporate free weights, resistance bands or gym machines. You may also do bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups and chin-ups.
Try High-Intensity Interval Training
One other strategy you may be able to use when trying to lose lower back fat is interval training. This type of workout involves short periods of high-intensity exercise, with rest breaks interspersed in between. At your local gym, it may be offered in the form of HIIT, boot camp, or kickboxing-style fitness classes.
According to an April 2017 research paper featured in Obesity Reviews, both moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and high-intensity interval training can be effective for fat loss. Subjects who used these training methods saw significant decreases in whole-body fat mass and weight circumference.
For those people who are struggling to reach the amount of activity time recommended by the HHS, high-intensity interval training may be particularly appealing. In general, this workout method yields better results in less time, making it suitable for those with a busy lifestyle.
- American Heart Association: “5 Steps to Lose Weight and Keep it Off”
- Department of Health and Human Services: “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans”
- Current Sports Medicine Reports: “Resistance Training is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health”
- The Mayo Clinic: "Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight Loss Basics"
- American Council on Exercise: "Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Weight Loss: Can You Do It With Exercise Alone?"
- Obesity Reviews: "The Effects of High‐Intensity Interval Training Vs. Moderate‐Intensity Continuous Training On Body Composition In OverWeight and Obese Adults: a Systematic Review and Meta‐Analysis"