Most guys have problem areas and one of those for many guys is the lower back. No, we’re not talking pain, but fat. Lower back fat or as they are often affectionately called “love handles”. There’s no love lost here though, most men want them gone for good and while you can reduce your calories to lose the chub unfortunately our genetics determine where we lose body fat so what else can you do to help lose the love handles?
The first step is realizing that everyone has a problem zone, an area that they struggle with. For women it tends to be the hips and thighs, for guys it’s belly and back fat. You could do all the sit ups, side bends and bicycle crunches in the world but they aren’t going to help because you cannot spot reduce. It’s a myth that you can “whittle your waist with 6 easy moves” or “lose the love handles in three weeks”. Those are headlines made to sell magazines, and they work because men want quick fixes.
The reality is your body sometimes works against you, and what you want. While it might seem like feeling the burn in the core is the key to getting rid of back fat the real key is simply burning more calories while you exercise with metabolic conditioning. This form of training used multi-joint movements to train the body harder, but it also produces the hormone IGF-1 which is the body’s way of combatting insulin resistance, which could be a factor for many guys stubborn back fat.
Metabolic conditioning is hard work and whilst it should work every muscle in your body it also combines agility, stability, mobility and more. One of the most common ways to incorporate metabolic training into a resistance workout is to alternate upper and lower body exercises in what is called peripheral heart action training. The heart pumps blood to the upper body as you perform push-ups, then it diverts the blood to the legs as you move onto squats. This alternating of extremities puts more pressure on the circulatory system causing a metabolic response.
This form of training is also seen in CrossFit style workouts, pushing weight and reps for time. How many times do you see guys in the gym doing a set of bicep curls then chatting to a cute girl for 10 minutes between sets? Hardly spiking the IGF-1 hormone right?
To really zap the back fat you need to workout harder. Not necessarily talking about lifting more weight, but perhaps pushing more reps, decreasing rest, changing up the exercise order, or adding in some boxing or jump rope movements between sets. Combined with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains will really help whittle away the love handles.