How To Lose Back Fat? Unlocking The Secrets To A Toned Back

By Karen Smit

Updated On

Back fat is something almost all of us are struggling with thanks to our sedentary lifestyle and work where we spend 9 to 5 in front of a screen. We barely get to move around and stretch, and don’t even if we can. And the result is those perky bulges here and there, all over the body. We are all for body positivity and curves that make one look appealing. But sometimes, it can get unhealthy and then it’s not cool. In this article, we are going to analyze all about back fat, the reasons for it, and how to effectively say good riddance to it.

What causes back fat?

Accumulation of fat in the posterior area of the body can be due to a combination of a lot of factors. A major reason for back fat is our sedentary lifestyle which does not require us to sweat much. Poor nutrition, hormonal changes, lack of exercise, genetics, etc are other reasons. Let’s analyze each of these factors and see how they contribute to backfat.

Poor diet

Poor dietary choices are a major reason for the accumulation of back fat. When you ingest food that is higher in calories than the calories that you burn off, fat deposition occurs. Foods that are high in sugar and sodium, i.e., desserts, sweetened beverages, fast food, etc are major reasons for fat deposition in our body, especially around the belly and back.

Lack of exercise

Lack of cardio and aerobic exercises like cycling, swimming, and walking has a big impact on our body composition. Without adequate movement, fat tends to deposit in the mid-section of the body making us look bulky and untoned.

Poor posture

Poor posture is a lesser-known but definite cause of fat deposition around the back area. Slouching at work desk for hours straight and being couch potatoes at home, are all examples of bad posture. Staying in this curved posture for a long can cause muscle imbalances and strain the spine. This creates an environment conducive to easy fat deposition and retention.


Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels which can lead to increased fat deposition around the abdomen.


Having said all that, our genetic predisposition can play a really big role in determining our body type, and at times, no amount of healthy diet or workout can alter that. Evolutionarily speaking, our ancestors used to store fat around their waistlines due to many reasons and we might have inherited that.

How to lose back fat?

Fat around our back and belly can be quite stubborn and is the hardest to shed through workouts. Through a healthy diet and workout, it is possible to get into shape and lose those extra pounds. However, there is no single magical workout specifically designed to lose back fat. In this section, let us look at a few realistic ways to go about losing back fat.

Follow a calorie-deficit diet

You cannot shed fat if you consume more calories than you burn. Therefore, consuming meals rich in protein and less in carbs and unhealthy fats is really important when it comes to fat loss. Consuming food rich in fiber and low in sodium can also help a lot in losing water weight and fat in your back area. Some of the nutrient-dense foods that you can include in your diet for fat loss include avocados, salmon, tuna, lean chicken breast, broccoli, hard-boiled eggs, and sweet potatoes.

By reducing your calorie intake by 300-500 calories per day, you can shed 1-2 pounds every week. Cutting out sugary beverages, desserts, and processed foods can be a good place to start. Coupling your calorie-deficit diet with a workout that can burn 300-500 calories per day will enhance the results when it comes to fat loss.

Through proper exercise

While cardio helps weight loss, resistance training is the best when it comes to fat loss. Besides, adding HIIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) to your workout routine by focusing on the upper and lower back muscles could fetch you the desired results. Let’s look at some exercises that would help in toning your upper, mid, and lower back.

Exercises to tone the upper back

Lateral raises with dumbbells
Speed bag
Renegade rows
Resistance band pull-down

Exercises to tone the mid-back

Back extension
Cat-cow stretch
Cobra pose

Exercises to tone the lower back

Reverse hip raise with exercise ball
Side jackknife
Bridge position
Side leg lift

Although these workouts combined with a nutrient-dense and calorie-deficit diet can reduce your overall body fat, spot-reducing fat on any specific area of the body is not possible. What we should aim for is a gradual reduction in fat through sustainable means which can yield lasting results.

Get enough sleep

Besides following a good diet and workout, it is also important that you are well-rested. According to studies, individuals who get less than five hours of sleep are prone to obesity and weight gain, contributing to the accumulation of back fat. Lack of enough sleep leads to an increase in the level of cortisol which causes fat accumulation.


Fat accumulation around various parts of the body is a gradual process and there are various reasons for the same. Although a fair share of the cause can be attributed to unhealthy diet and our sedentary lifestyle, genetics also play a big part. It is possible to tone your body and get into shape by following a balanced diet and workout routine. However, spot-reducing fat in a specific body part is not an option. When your whole body burns fat as part of the calorie-deficit diet and workout, your back fat also sheds. Nevertheless, by focusing on area-specific workouts you can reach your goal at a faster pace.


Q: Can I lose back fat by running?

A: Running, swimming, skipping, etc will help lose overall fat in the body when followed by a calorie-deficit diet.

Q: Which hormone causes fat gain?

A: Elevated levels of cortisol due to stress or lack of sleep can lead to fat deposition around the body.

Q: How long does it take to lose back fat?

A: It depends on the extent of your calorie cut. In some cases, you can see visible results in as little as three months.

Q: Which body part loses fat at first?

A: Losing fat is an internal process. At first, you lose the hard fat surrounding the internal organs like the kidney, liver, etc which makes you healthier and stronger. Later it leads to fat reduction around the waistline, thighs, etc.

Q: Can back fat be removed surgically?

A: Surgical removal of back fat is possible through back liposuction which removes excess fat from the back using small cannulas that extract fat from the stubborn fat deposits.

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