Photo credit: womenshealthmagazine.com
Let’s face it. These are two areas that tend to be the hardest places to lose inches and see muscle definition. In our respective weight loss and muscle defining journeys, we often begin to see results, get excited, smile really big when no one is watching, and then BOOM!
Then it happens.
You look in the mirror feeling pretty good about yourself and BAM!
You see it. Or rather you see them–the infamous tummy pouch and fat back.
Wait. Not fat back. I meant back fat.
What should you do to lose those last extra rolls in unwanted places?
I recommend 6 things you can do to begin to say good-bye to the unwanted tummy pouch and back fat.
- Total body exercises – It’s simple. The more physical movement you add to any exercise uses more muscle groups. Moving more muscle groups burns more calories. Burning more calories, burns more fat!
- Hydration – Over two thirds of your body is water. Women should drink a minimum 2.2 L (9 cups) and men should drink a minimum of 3.0 L (13 cups) of water daily. There are several other factors to consider when determining what your daily water intake should be. For example, water lost during perspiration, consuming foods with a high water content, and duration of exercise. Check out this helpful American College of Sports Medicine brochure about Hydration for Fitness.
- Cardio. Cardio. Cardio. – Physical activity in a lower training zone (65-75% of your heart rate max) for an extended duration of time (over 30 minutes) sends signals to your body’s energy systems to use a higher percentage of FAT as a fueling source. This is what you want right? Without getting to scientific on you–your body becomes more and more efficient using oxygen and as a result, it oxidizes fat at a higher rate in your body–this is called beta oxidation. So go ahead, oxidize some fat! And of course, physical activity in a higher training zone (>76% of your heart rate max) is beneficial, too! A key difference is that the duration of your cardio can decrease and yield similar fat and calorie burning benefits. So, if you prefer higher intensity interval training, DO IT!
- Core Exercises – Similar to #1, don’t just do concentrated crunches or a plank on the floor. Jazz it up a bit and involve more of your body. Check out these plank variations you can do at home, work, or the gym!
- Portion Control – This is a no brainer. If you want to lose fat and see greater muscle definition, you must eat healthy and carefully monitor your food portions at every meal. Eat healthy. Eat slowly. Eat without distractions. Drink water. Eat breakfast. The ChooseMyPlate provides great visuals to help you with portion control.
- Rest – Without enough sleep, leptin (hormone) levels decrease and ghrelin (hormone) rises, leading to an increase in appetite. The added fatigue from lack of sleep may also lead you to skipping out on exercising, another set back for reaching weight loss goals.
(NASM, 2014)The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults sleep for 7-9 hours daily. Twenty minute naps are also helpful before the latter half of your day.
A short nap is usually recommended (20-30 minutes) for short-term alertness. This type of nap provides significant benefit for improved alertness and performance without leaving you feeling groggy or interfering with nighttime sleep. (NSF, 2016)
In summary, several research studies (NIH, 2008) have shown a positive correlation between midsection or abdominal circumference and risk for chronic disease. In other words, as your midsection increases in size, so does your risk for chronic diseases (e.g., high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity).
The last time I checked, no one wants a chronic disease that is preventable.
Set some new goals that fall within the parameters listed above and start losing that unwanted tummy pouch and back fat!
Contact us about specific exercise recommendations that target your core and back.