The Best Way To Get Rid Of Back Fat

Back fat is incredibly stubborn. It's also one of the last things many people think of because, as NYC personal trainer Ngo Okafor explained to Men's Health, "people focus on what they see in the mirror." It's part of why most people focus on arms and abs while skipping leg day and, yes, ignoring back fat.

Of course some people start with back fat and work from there. They may be struggling with the hump some people have at the top of their spine. Or maybe they prefer backless tops and want a shapely back to go with it. But whether it's at the top of your list or your last priority, back fat is hard to get rid of. It's possible, but it takes dedication.

An important thing to note about back fat is that, as with all fat deposits, you cannot spot train it away. Yale Scientific explains that this myth likely started with the idea that you burn more fat around muscles that you're using, meaning ab exercises would reduce stomach fat and leg day would trim your thighs. Unfortunately, that's not how it works.

When we exercise, our bodies break down stored fat to use as fuel. But before it can do that, it has to convert the stored fat into a form our muscles can use. Yale likened this to transforming crude oil into gasoline before a car can use it. In our bodies, the conversion results in a generalized fat reduction, rather than a targeted one.

Long-term changes

Spot reduction doesn't work but there is still hope. Back fat is largely caused by the same lifestyle habits that cause belly fat. Women's Health explains that back fat is also linked to the same issues as high concentrations of belly fat such as insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes.

An unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are the biggest culprits, while bad posture makes back fat more pronounced. This means that back fat — like belly fat — is best handled through long-term lifestyle changes. Henry Barratt, a London-based personal trainer to celebrities like Kate Beckinsale, explained it best when speaking to Women's Health in 2021.

"The most gains can be made by changing nutritional habits," he explained.

Barratt went on to say that this doesn't mean people should cut calories. Instead it means that people should be mindful of where their calories come from. Foods high in fiber and protein create a sense of satiety while sugary foods drive up a person's calorie intake without leaving them satisfied or nourished.

If you already have a good handle on nutrition, try changing up your workout routine. Ngo Okafor suggested exercises based on pushing and pulling motions when he spoke to Men's Health. These include rowing, reverse flies with dumbbell weights, and cable pulldowns. These exercises work your back and tone the muscles there. And while this won't burn fat on the spot, it will create more muscle definition while improving your back's overall strength and appearance.

Back fat is stubborn. But with dietary changes and a well-rounded fitness routine, it's more than possible to get the svelte look you want.