Ditching processed foods for complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and brown rice, getting your hormones checked and doing targeted exercises are vital if you want to shed back fat, a leading personal trainer has claimed.
Rachael Attard, from Sydney, said while you might think it sounds too good to be true, it is possible to create a more defined physique by doing a few things.
‘Back fat can be difficult to treat because it accumulates slowly,’ Rachael told Daily Mail Australia.
She said it’s caused by eating too much sugar and salt, high cortisol levels, not moving enough and the natural ageing process.
Rachael Attard (pictured), from Sydney, said while you might think it sounds too good to be true to drop back fat for good, it is possible to create a more defined physique
Back fat is stubborn and caused by a range of factors, including not exercising enough, eating too much and too much sugar and salt (one of Rachael’s clients pictured)
What causes back fat?
What are the three areas where you get back fat?
* UPPER BACK: This is excess fat around your bra strap area. If you struggle with this area, make sure you’re wearing a bra that fits you properly. This can help with rolls and your posture.
* MIDDLE BACK: This is excess fat located by your waist. Poor posture can really emphasise the extra fat in this area.
* LOWER BACK: Fat in this area often feels like pockets of fat. It can spill over the top of your pants and can feel super hard to control. High cortisol levels and other hormone imbalances cause fat storage here.
The first step to identifying how to treat your back fat is recognising what causes it.
‘Back fat is stubborn and caused by lots of different factors,’ Rachael said.
‘The most common include not moving or exercising enough, eating too much, consuming too much sugar and salt, high cortisol levels and the natural ageing process.’
But the personal trainer explained that poor posture can further exacerbate back fat, and make it more prominent.
‘People typically gain back fat in three areas,’ Rachael said.
‘The upper back, which is excess fat around your bra area; the middle back, which is excess fat located by your waist; and the lower back, which can spill over the top of your pants and feel like pocket fat.’
She added: ‘High cortisol levels and other hormone imbalances cause fat storage in the lower back, and this can make it very difficult to get rid of until you balance these hormones.’
Rachael said that while having some degree of back fat is healthy, if you think yours is getting out of hand, you might want to do something about it.
There are some foods that lead to a bra-strap bulge more than others, including muffins, sugar-heavy desserts, tomato sauce, cereals and granola bars (client transformation pictured)
How to get rid of back fat
1. Ditch ultra-processed foods in favour of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and an array of colourful fruit and vegetables.
2. Consult with a medical professional as to whether you have any hormonal imbalances or problems, such as insulin resistance, high cortisol, high testosterone, and PCOS. Then, limit the inflammatory foods that are personal to you.
3. Try targeted exercises for your back that work the lat muscles that cover the width of the middle and lower back. Things that work well here include upper body and core work with dumbells, Pilates moves such as overhead rows and resistance work.
4. You also need to do some cardio to get rid of your back fat, and Rachael recommends walking for this, as this helps to remove the overall fat in your body. She said it’s an excellent way to burn calories and keep your body in the fat-burning zone, without over exerting yourself.
5. Think about your posture and walk about as much as possible at work as this will activate your core muscles and give you time away from your desk. Often, back fat comes about as a result of poor posture.
What foods contribute to back fat?
What foods lead to back fat?
2. Tomato sauce
3. Sugar-heavy desserts
5. Cereal or granola bars
6. Hot chips
Like other types of weight gain, Rachael said back fat appears when you consume more calories than you expend.
But there are some foods that are more likely to lead to a bra-strap bulge than others.
These are processed foods like muffins, sugar-heavy desserts, tomato sauce, sugary cereals and granola bars, chips, burgers, fries and pizza.
‘Fast food and other processed foods are high in calories without providing many (if any) benefits for your health, and they often make you crave more and more food,’ Rachael said.
Try to limit these as much as possible, and instead replace them with lean protein, complex carbohydrates like sweet potato and brown rice and plenty of fruit and veg.
How can you get rid of back fat?
1. Eat a clean diet
The first – and most important – thing to do for the fat on your back is clean up your diet.
‘In general, carbs aren’t terrible for you (unless you have special dietary needs). But white carbs (like white bread, rice, and pasta) and sugar can contribute to weight gain, especially when eaten in excess (which is so easy to do!),’ Rachael said.
‘If you know there are certain foods that cause inflammation for you (like dairy or gluten), you should try to avoid those too.’
Back fat is associated with some hormonal problems, such as insulin resistance, high cortisol, high testosterone, and PCOS, Rachael said.
Because of this, you should quit foods that might cause inflammation in your body and consult a medical professional or GP if you’re not quite sure what does and doesn’t work.
While Rachael (pictured) said it’s impossible to spot reduce fat in any area, you can work on losing it from all areas of your body, which will also help with your back
Rachael recommends a combination of cardio like walking or running and resistance work targeting your upper body and core to deal with your back (a client transformation pictured)
2. Exercise well
Secondly, while Rachael said it’s impossible to spot reduce fat in any area, you can work on losing it from all areas of your body, which will also help with your back.
‘Try to do a mix of cardio and resistance training,’ the PT said.
‘I love walking as a form of cardio because it is an excellent way to burn calories and keep your body in the fat-burning zone, without over exerting yourself.’
When it comes to the type of resistance training you should be doing, Rachael said you should focus on your upper body and core by working your lat muscles with dumbbells.
‘Bodyweight resistance training, boxing, Pilates, and yoga are some great workouts to strengthen your back and core and improve your posture,’ she said.
What are the different body types and their characteristics?
This system breaks down all of the body types into three unique stereotypes: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs (pictured)
Ectomorph body types are very tall and slim. They don’t have much muscle and find it difficult to put on muscle or any weight in general.
The mesomorph is between the ectomorph and the endomorph, and they are defined by a muscular frame and broader shoulders than their waist.
An endomorph body type is usually a larger curvier figure. They are quite commonly a stocky build and their bodies hold onto fat well and find it hard to lose.
Once you’ve slimmed your back, the PT said you should look to keep it by doing several things including following a clean diet (client transformation pictured)
Finally, Rachael (pictured) said you should get your hormones checked so you know what the personal trigger foods are for your back, and then be careful about your posture
How can you keep a perfect back?
Once you’ve slimmed your back, the PT said you should look to keep it by doing several things.
‘Continue with your clean diet as much as possible and limit foods that cause inflammation,’ she said.
You should also exercise regularly, especially with a mix of cardio and bodyweight resistance training.
Finally, Rachael said you should get your hormones checked so you know what the personal trigger foods are for your back, and then be careful about your posture.
‘Try to avoid looking down at a computer or phone too much (it is hard, I know), take regular breaks to stretch out, and activate your core muscles when you’re out walking,’ she said.
To find out more about Rachael Attard, you can visit her website here.