Stubborn fat is like that one last, rudeВ party guest who just refuses to leave. You've done your hosting duties, you've cleaned the kitchen, and it simply won't skedaddle! You begin to wonder if you'll be stuck with it forever. Cue: anxiety.
After all, you're working outВ and eating right, and still, the fatВ just won't budge. What's gives? We posed that exact question to the Directors of Nutrition and Training Methodology at Peak Performance, a cutting-edge gym in New York City. Below, they explain why stubborn weight sticks around-and what you can do about it.
Keep reading to kick those last five pounds to the curb!В
вЂњStubbornВ fat is usually your oldest fat,вЂќ explains Dr. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., Director of Nutrition at Peak Performance. вЂњWe have different distributions of body fat, and our bodies access that fat roughly in reverse order of when it created it. So if you gained a little fat around your abdominal area over the holidays, for example, when you start working out and watching what you eat, that will be the first fat to go," he says. "We call this old fat 'stubbornВ fat' because it seems to take our body a long time to get around to burning it off."В В
We wanted to know why stubborn fat seems to stick around in certain areas in particular, like lower belly, hips, and thighs, and unfortunately the answer there is our old friend вЂњhormones.вЂќ Explains Pat Davidson, M.D., Director of Training Methodology at Peak Performance, вЂњCertain hormones are known to centralize fat, i.e., move fat to the trunk and hips. The primary hormones associated with this partitioning of fat include insulin, estrogen, and cortisol. Estrogen is going to centralize fat in women more than men so that women can support pregnancy; however, the modern-day processed food and hyper-stressful world we live in leads to the accumulation of insulin- and cortisol-based fat deposits,вЂќ he says.
In addition to the вЂњumbilicalвЂќ area (aka, theВ area surrounding the belly button), Davidson explainsВ that specific areas of fat deposits for females tend to be the "loveВ handle" region,В under the armpit (along your rib cage), around your back, where your butt meets the leg, and then the inner thighs-so basically, all over.В Thanks for that, hormones!
Keep reading for what you can do to target that вЂњold,вЂќ stubborn fat.В
Roussell and Davidson agreeВ that to lose stubborn fat you need to be persistent and consistent. But, of course, there's more to it than that.
вЂњIn some, more rare cases, hormonal imbalances can be driving the preferential distribution of fat in a particular area,вЂќ says Davidson. вЂњFor women, this can be excess estrogen that would drive fat storage to, and reduce the liberation ofВ fat, in the hips and thigh area."
Davidson explains that a compound known as DIM, found in cruciferous vegetables (think:В cabbage, broccoli,В brussels sprouts, and kale), can help clear your system of excessive estrogen. Supplements containing the same compound are also available.В вЂњTaking advantage of this compound that aids in estrogen clearance can help with fat loss in hips and thighs,вЂќ he says. Even if you don't have excess estrogen, dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables are exceptionally healthy, and full of fiber to keep you fuller longer.
In addition to eating healthy, your fitness should focusВ on full-body exercise.В вЂњStudies have demonstrated that spot-training is a myth, debunked by research within exercise science,вЂќ says Davidson. вЂњWhat we know is that training abdominals will not lead to burning more fat from your abdominals, for example,вЂќ he says. вЂњTiny exercises like crunches will never provide the punch that total-body exercise will.вЂќВ
Davidson defines total body exercise as workouts that involve large movements, and that move multiple jointsВ with significant force and velocity, repeated with high effort, and with relatively short rest. We know that's a mouthful (we reread it a few times), but makes sense when you think about it, and luckily Davison broke it down for us a bit further.
вЂњThe kind of training program that has the greatest potential to set you up to lose weight and fat trains you in every movement plane and involves activities done at high velocity (jumping and throwing), activities that involve heavy loading (squatting, deadlifting, pressing, pulling), activities that involve repeated high intensity bouts (shuttle sprints, bike sprints), and activities that involve a significant cardiovascular challenge (running).вЂќ Translation: The boot-camp workouts and HIIT workouts at your gym holds are the kind of class you want to enroll in to melt away your oldest and most stubborn fat.
В Keep scrolling for a specific sample set of movements to squash stubborn fat!В
The idea is to incorporate all of these types of movements to constitute aВ full-body fitness routine so no area is neglected:В
2. Hip dominant movements
2. Hip dominant movements
3. Knee dominant movements
4. Horizontal push movements
5. Horizontal pull movements
6. Vertical push movements
7. Vertical pull movements
-Lat pull down
8. Core movements
9. Loaded carry movements
-Farmer's walkВ (hold weights down at your sides like you're carrying buckets of water and walk forward)
-Waiter's carry (hold weights on top of your shoulders like waiters carry trays and walk forward)В