Everyone stores fat a little differently. Some people complain of thunder thighs or a muffin top, while others suffer with a pudgy back. These areas are labeled as "trouble spots" for a reason — they stubbornly stay chubby, despite your efforts to slim them. Fat loss doesn't work like a point and shoot; you can't direct your body to lose stored fat from one particular part of your body. So, to slim down your back, you're going to have to take a comprehensive fat-loss approach.
Your back is fat partly because you are carrying extra body fat. You'll also notice the fat more because the muscles of your back are not as developed as they could be. Take a two-pronged approach to get rid of your back fat: Change your body composition, and strengthen your back muscles.
Build That Muscle
Muscle-building occurs not through cardio, but through resistance training. As you lose fat all over, including your back, you reveal the tone of your muscles. Fat cannot be toned. The lean, carved-out look you're after comes from developed muscles that have little fat covering them.
So, while you're working on your diet and cardio to lose fat, work out with weights to sculpt your back. Easy weight exercises you can do at home with a set of dumbbells acquired from your local sporting goods store include:
- bent-over rows
- rear deltoid flyes
If you don't have or want a set of dumbbells, reach for a heavy household substitute. A heavy box of cat litter or laundry detergent, water bottles and jugs of milk are possible options. Rubber resistance tubing is another option for these exercises, and it's easily stored in a drawer, out of sight. Other exercises that don't require weights but benefit your back by building muscle and function include pull-ups, supermans and bird dogs.
Plan to do these exercises about three times per week, working up to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions, and choosing a heavier weight when those 12 reps becomes easy.
Your back may be your focus, but it'll benefit if you include these moves along with other total-body exercises, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, chest presses, shoulder raises and biceps curls.
Easy Cardio at Home
The next part of the fat-loss equation is cardio exercise. Simply moving more helps you burn calories and contributes to the calorie deficit necessary to help change your body composition and lose back fat. Easy cardio at home includes taking a walk around the neighborhood or dusting your bike off and taking a ride. If you're more of a home body, dance to your favorite tunes, do a set of calisthenics, such as jumping jacks and high knee lifts, or climb your stairs multiple times.
The American College of Sports Medicine says that to noticeably lose fat, you'll have to commit to 250 minutes of this type of exercise each week — that's about 50 minutes a day, Monday through Friday.
As you lose fat, some of it will come from your back. If this has always been a problem area for you, you might find it's the last place to reduce. While this is extraordinarily frustrating and not the answer you want, it's reality. To lose those last trouble spots you'll probably find that you have to be exceptionally diligent with your diet and cardio.
Losing Body Fat
Back fat can be hard to budge, but you can lose it with patience and hard work. You'll have to face the reality that you'll unlikely lose that fat with exercise alone. Yes, exercise is part of the fat loss equation, but not the only part.
You must rein in your diet, so that you're consuming fewer calories than your burn daily. Create a 500-calorie deficit daily to lose a pound per week. The calories you do eat should consist of mostly the foods you think of as "healthy" — lean proteins (fish, chicken, flank steak), fresh green vegetables and whole grains. If you've already lost weight and your back fat is holding on, you may have to be even more diligent in your diet and restrict white grains and sugar.