The issue of stubborn body fat is a common one among people who are trying to get in shape. You have initial success shifting plenty of fat but then reach a plateau where you can’t lose any more, and this can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you are putting in hard work to achieve these goals.
Burning this stubborn body fat is often the difference between reaching the body of your dreams and giving up completely. The most common areas to stay longer than others are usually the lower belly and back region, as well as the bum and chest, and once you do find a way of breaking past that, you can drastically change the overall look of your body.
So, how do you do it? What are the key considerations for shifting body fat for good?
Many people fall into the trap of looking for ways to target stubborn fat but become frustrated when their hard work does not get rewarded. But this does not necessarily mean that they are not making progress. The reason stubborn fat does not initially go is down to your genetics, which means that you can’t target certain areas of your body because it chooses which areas to burn fat from first. So, for example, it may choose to burn fat from your shoulder and arms first and you will find that you become very lean in that area but still hold plenty of fat on your belly.
Another huge mistake many people make is overdoing cardio and not performing enough or any resistance training sessions. Building muscle is essential for fat loss because, aside from adding a better structure and overall look to your body, your body requires a lot of energy to maintain the muscle that you have gained. This means that your Basal Metabolic Rate (the number of calories you burn every day without doing anything) goes up and your body’s calorie-burning efficiency increases. So, your exercise routine needs to be based around resistance training, with a sustainable, low-intensity form of cardio alongside that.
Consistent Calorie Deficit
To lose any type of fat, you must be in a consistent calorie deficit, which means that you are burning more calories than consuming, over a long period of time. So, when you do reach those areas, the same fundamental principles apply
Prioritise Resistance Training
A trap that many people fall into is thinking is that to lose fat, you need to ramp up your cardio output and use that as your sole source of exercise. Although cardio does indeed burn plenty of calories, the more efficient you become at cardio, the fewer calories you are going to burn from it. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, too much cardio will lead to a ‘skinny fat’ physique, where you do not have a proper structure and shape to your body and you instead have a much smaller frame, with some fat still hanging on.
By consistently doing resistance training as your primary source of exercise, you are going to build muscle (tone up), which will not only add a better overall look to your body, but also increase your fat-burning process because the body requires lots of energy (calories) to maintain lean muscle tissue. Also, resistance training sessions burn a lot of calories themselves but do not make the mistake of thinking that you have to do as many reps as possible with light weights to burn fat.
Training And Calorie Fluctuations
During your journey, there will be times when you will have to adjust your training and nutrition plan. By not doing this and sticking to the same plan, you could be hindering your progress. When it comes to training, your sessions will have to be advanced in line with your progress. For example, increasing the weight lifted, adding in more advanced exercises or training systems, putting in an extra session during the week, limiting rest periods. These are all ways to step up your training, which will increase your calorie output and provide the perfect stimulus for muscle growth.
The same goes for nutrition. At some point, you will likely have to adjust your calorie intake, whether that be an increase or decrease, based on a number of variables that will change as you go along. For example, if your calorie deficit is too aggressive, your fat loss will stagnate due to a slow metabolism. So, ensure that you are making the right adjustments during your journey to maximise results.
Another common mistake is very much a psychological one. Many people expect to see dramatic results in two to three weeks and get upset when they don’t see instant results, which can lead to them giving up. The reality is that, provided you are consistently doing the right things, losing body fat and improving your body composition (how you look) is going to take time. Like most things, success does not happen overnight and it instead requires consistency over a sustained period of time before results start to appear.
Your rate of fat loss in the first few weeks will be the quickest because it is easy for the body to use the required energy from fat storage when you have plenty of body fat, to begin with. The longer you stay in a calorie deficit and the less body fat you have, however, the harder it then becomes for your body to burn more fat and therefore the rate of fat loss will decrease, especially when you get below levels of 15% body fat. Patience and consistently sticking to the right plan are going to be essential to you getting your body fat levels down. So, follow a good plan and consistently do what is required over a sustained period, and you will start to see great results.
So, if you are looking to shift your stubborn body fat as you head into summer, there are some simple strategies you can implement to hit this goal. These include understanding genetics, maintaining a consistent calorie deficit, prioritising resistance training, fluctuating calories, and being patient. Implementing these into your weekly routine will help your body hone in on those last areas of fat to go and ensure that you achieve a lean, well-rounded physique at the end of your journey.
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