How to Get Rid of Back Fat to Fit a Wedding Dress

By Nicole Vulcan

So long as you have a few months to spare, you should make significant progress in getting rid of back fat that's making your wedding dress too snug. Take a well-rounded approach that includes aerobic exercise, strength training and a healthy diet to have the best chance of success.

The Spot Reduction Myth

First of all, it's important to note that so called "spot reduction" is a fallacy, reminds In other words, you can't simply "work" your back in order to lose fat in that area. Specific exercises can target the back area, but they will serve to tone the muscles of your back and won't necessarily target the fat there. To get rid of fat, you have to eat well and do exercises that burn overall body fat; that's why the well-rounded approach is best.

Healthy Eating

A couple is unloading healthy foods from grocery bags.

A big part of weight loss lies in what you eat. To burn fat and lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you're burning. Use an online calorie counter or a smartphone app that factors in your age, gender and current weight to determine how many calories you should consume in order to lose your targeted number of pounds. Trackers such as MyPlate or MyFitnessPal will help you create a calorie goal for losing 1 or 2 pounds a week; any more than that is unhealthy weight loss. You might start with the 1-pound-a-week goal, and if you're getting close to wedding day and that dress is still not fitting, increase to a 2-pound-a-week goal. Each day, enter the foods you've eaten and the portion sizes, and the trackers will calculate your daily totals. If you're eating too many calories, look for healthier alternatives. Cut out fried foods, rich desserts and simple carbohydrates that don't offer much in the way of nutrition. Eat more fruits and vegetables, and switch from red meat to chicken or fish. Don't fall below the recommended number of calories though, as it will put your body into starvation and you won't lose weight. If you need help planning meals, consult with a nutritionist.

Cardio for Burning Calories

Two women are riding stationary bikes at the gym.

You should also be doing regular aerobic exercise at a moderate intensity on a regular basis. If you're currently inactive, start with 15 minutes, three days a week and add five minutes to your time each week, so that you don't get burned out. Ideally, you should be doing at least 30 minutes of exercise such as walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or aerobic dancing five days a week. Cardio machines including the rowing or "erg" machine, as well as the elliptical trainer, will also get the muscles of the back involved and help you tone that area. Add the physical activities you're doing into your calorie tracker, as exercise will burn calories and allow you to consume more -- just be sure the calories you're consuming are still from nutritious sources. Give yourself one day off from aerobic exercise to allow your body time to rest and recover. Try that dress on once every two weeks or so and you'll probably notice that it's fitting a lot better -- though don't try it on more often or you might not notice the difference from one week to the next.

Strength Training for the Back

A woman is doing pullups outdoors.

Strength-training exercises will tone and tighten the back muscles. What's more, strength training zaps a lot of calories. Your routine should cover all the major muscle groups, but also focus specifically on the back. Pullups are great, but if you can't do them, step onto a stool, grasp the pullup bar with both hands, hoist yourself up so your chin is above the bar, and hold as long as you can. Then slowly lower yourself down. This "negative" pullup is beneficial for strengthening the back, as you still have to recruit your back muscles to lower down slowly. Do the upright row by pulling a pair of dumbbells from a position near your thighs upward to near your armpits. Do dumbbell bent-over rows by slightly bending your knees, bending at the waist until your back is parallel with the floor, and then allowing your arms -- hands holding dumbbells -- to hang toward the floor. Then pull the dumbbells toward your armpits. Start with one set of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise, and then add a second set after two weeks. The third week, lift weights that are 1 or 2 lbs. heavier and start again with one set.


About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

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