Today’s topic: stubborn fat loss. Questions I get very frequently about the process of losing stubborn body fat. First of all, let’s discuss what is stubborn body fat. Most people’s definition of stubborn body fat is the areas of their body where, even when they lose weight, the body fat in that area does not change. For men, this is going to be generally the love handles or lower abdominal. For women, it’s going to be the thighs, the buttocks, hip area. These are just areas that predominantly store more body fat.
Now, how do we get rid of stubborn body fat? There’s been a lot of things written over the years, books, things like that, on the process of losing stubborn body fat, and in my experience, there’s really only one way to get rid of stubborn body fat. Those areas that predominantly store body fat, for you to get rid of them, you need to reach a body fat level where your body determines “Okay, I’ve removed all the fat from these other areas of the body.”
For those that have dieted before, you’ll notice that when you lose weight, for a few weeks, you’ll notice changes in where the shoulders become more detailed, the chest becomes more detailed, the legs, the calves, all over the place. For me, when I start dieting, personally, for myself, I notice all the fat on my back comes off first. Literally, all the details in my back come out that are hiding under a layer of fat. All the way down. I’m talking like 15 pounds or so. I’ve never noticed that about myself until I started working with a coach. The reason I started noticing when I worked with a coach because I had to turn in pictures. In the past, when I would diet, I would always see myself in the front in the mirror, and I would think “Man, I’ve lost 15 pounds, but I don’t look that much different.” Yeah, I look a little different, but when I started seeing the changes that was going on in the back side, the love handle area, the posterior chain, it became more motivating.
That’s an important takeaway: to stay motivated and to stay working toward these stubborn fat goals, it’s really good to document things. Even if you just want to do it for yourself. Even if it’s just helpful for you because, like I said, I couldn’t see my back. Most people don’t see their legs, they don’t see their butt, they don’t see their hamstrings when they’re dieting, and there is a lot of fat that comes off on those areas. For me personally, the back is where a lot of the fat would come off, and finding that out was a huge relief.
For anyone else, stubborn body fat areas are going to generally be something that’s always bugged you. I find a lot of people who grew up with a great six-pack, they’re like, “Oh, no, I have great abs. I don’t worry about body fat on my abs. I worry about the body fat on my chest.” But for someone then who doesn’t have a great six-pack, they’re more focused on that particular part of the area. So whatever part of your body is always lean, you’re not worried about it. That’s just a fact of life.
How Do We Do It?
So what can we do to actually get rid of stubborn body fat? The most important thing you can do is give yourself enough time to diet properly. If you tell yourself you have an eight-week, six-week, twelve-week, sixteen-week diet to reach your goal, and things aren’t moving as fast as you’d like to, and you have to get really aggressive with your dieting, what’s going to happen is you’re going to hit more plateaus, you’re going to hit more stalls, you’re going to be overly aggressive, you’re going to get burnt out, you’re going to lose the will power to diet.
One of the benefits of choosing a competition when you’re dieting is that you have a set date, you have a timeline. Every day, staring you in the face is that goal. For those people that don’t do competitions and just set a goal to look better, the will power to push through some of those really tough days isn’t necessarily going to be there because “Hey, I don’t really have a deadline. I can just do it when I’m ready. Next week will be a perfect week.” That’s very common.
Get A Coach!
When someone hires me, and they’re not planning to compete, and they’re working on fat loss, I think that’s an added motivator. Not just particularly me, but any coach that you hire, you’re holding yourself accountable much like a competition would. You know you’re going to be turning in an update, you’re going to be turning in pictures, or whatever method you use with your coach, taking measurements. So the performance that you put in during the week is going to show up on the update. Make the commitment to change yourself today and get coaching! (more about this at the end of this post)
Let’s talk what do we do to get very, very lean. There are a few things that you can do to make sure you are able to sustain fat loss long enough to get the stubborn body fat off. Part of that is having a high quality resistance training program. Most of the people that are following my content, I would consider you guys to be doing some high volume training routines, some high intensity-training. You’re focused on physique goals, so you’re actually focused on putting on some muscle, being the strongest person you can be. That’s going to have a lot of benefit when it comes to fat loss. There’s been a lot of studies done where individuals who just did diet and cardio versus diet, cardio, and resistance training, always when resistance training is involved, fat loss is better.
The other part when it comes to stubborn fat loss is just grinding. It’s going to get difficult. When your body fat gets below a set point level, your energy levels are going to be lower, your focus is going to be lower, your hunger is going to be higher. You’re never going to feel full. When you eat a meal, it’s going to make you hungrier. When you go to sleep, you’re going to wake up earlier. You are going to have very short energy during the day.
I, personally, get very short-tempered when I am very low body fat. I find that I am more apt to snap at someone or make a comment that I wouldn’t normally make, and I’m a fairly level-headed guy. I think my emotional intelligence is very high when my body fat is higher, but when I get lean, I start to notice some things about myself that I do not like, and that’s part of the mental game. It’s getting to that body fat level that is so admired and so revered. The truth behind that is it’s not a great place to be. Maybe for some people … I’ve seen people that are stage lean and seem to be doing fine. This is, again, a genetic thing. Person to person it’s going to be different. But for most people, myself certainly included, and likely yourself included, when you get to these areas of body fat, your body and your mind are going to begin to fight you.
So this is where it’s important to be on a type of diet, a cardio, and a training routine that’s sustainable. So this is where flexible dieting becomes a huge benefit because it’s much more sustainable than eating the same thing every single day. With that said, I do believe flexible dieting and contest prep, you should be planning ahead, and planning your meals, and being very consistent with your food choices. But just the idea of not having to eat the same thing every day is going to make the long term process more sustainable.
Do and Enjoy Your Cardio!
Same thing with cardio. I highly believe in cardio protocols which are more enjoyable. If someone hates riding a bike, I’m not going to make them ride a bike. If your goal is to lose stubborn body fat, and you’re making yourself do things that you know you don’t like, when push comes to shove and the going gets tough, and you’re not quite to your goal and you need to keep going, if you don’t like what you’re doing, that’s just one more reason your brain will help you check out. So choose things you enjoy. I’ve even done cardio on a basketball court before. Any type of activity that you can enjoy and turn into some cardio activity. I actually had fun last year dieting using the Butcher or the Prowler.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I don’t want to give anything specific because I don’t really believe there’s anything specific that you need to do to lose stubborn body fat. It’s such a wide range of types of people that I can’t give specific advice. The one piece of advice that I will give you, the one piece, it’s give yourself enough time. It’s not going to happen the way you want it to. Body fat loss is not going to be liner. It’s not going to go like this. It’s going to go like this, like this, like this, like this. It’s going to happen over time. There’s going to little drops here and there. But that’s it: time, consistency, and having a goal in mind.
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