One of the biggest problems many people face when trying to change their body shape is getting rid of stubborn fat. Initially, plenty of body fat is lost but when it gets to certain areas, such as the lower back and stomach, it is often very hard to shift. This can be incredibly frustrating after so much hard work and discipline, and it can lead to many people giving up when they don’t see the results that they want.
The issue of stubborn fat has become an increasingly talked about one in the fitness industry, and many people are trying to find the solution to a problem that prvents physiques from going to the next level. So, why does it take so long for it to go? How do you eventually get rid of it?
Why Stubborn Fat Doesn’t Initially Go
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 and the make-up of your body.
When it comes to fat loss, you can’t target certain areas of your body. This is because your body 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 (low levels of fat) in that area but still hold plenty of fat on your belly.
However, once that shoulder and arm fat go, your body will then choose other areas to burn fat from, which could be your face, legs, or chest, for example. You may also see some fat loss on your belly but because your body is burning fat from those areas first, you will still see fat around your lower belly and back.
Once the fat is lost from those areas, your body will then choose another area to burn fat from, before eventually going into the stubborn areas, which are most commonly around your midsection and lower back. This is how the process works. Due to your genetics, your body will target certain areas first. For some people, losing lower belly fat is easy because that is one of the first areas their body targets, but for many others, it is an area that takes a long time to lose fat from.
Consistent Calorie Deficit
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose stubborn fat is ditching the plan that gave them progress in the first place. It is very easy to fall into the trap of giving up when you don’t see progress in the area that you want. However, as mentioned, losing stubborn fat takes time but that does not mean that the process is not working.
Therefore, it is very important that you stay in a moderate calorie deficit (burning more calories than you are consuming every day) of 400-500 consistently for a long period of time. This is the only physical way of losing that extra body fat, so it is vital that you stick to the plan, be patient and eventually that fat will go. The leaner you get, the closer your body is to target those stubborn areas. Stay in your calorie deficit and your stubborn fat will go.
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.
The Myths and The Priorities
There are several myths when it comes to losing stubborn body fat that you should avoid. These include doing lots of intense cardio, dropping your calorie intake drastically, cutting out carbohydrates training every single day and doing specific exercises to burn fat from a particular area of your body. All of these ideas do not accelerate the rate of fat loss when it comes to stubborn areas.
You need to focus on consistently doing the simple things well, such as resistance training 2-4 times per week, maintaining a moderate calorie deficit of 400-500, performing a sustainable form of cardio every day (eg. walking 8-10k steps), eating 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, getting 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep per night, drinking 2-3 litres of water per day, eating foods that you can digest well, and reducing alcohol significantly.
So, the key points to remember when it comes to stubborn fat are these. Your body chooses where to burn fat from first, you can’t target a specific area of fat with certain diets and exercises, that fat will eventually go if you stay in a calorie deficit consistently, you need to prioritise the right things (training, diet, sustainable cardio, sleep, stress, digestion, water intake, reduced alcohol), and be patient!
Fat loss takes time, but if stay consistent and stick to the right process, those stubborn areas of fat will go and you will then find that your physique looks better than ever before.
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