The first thing to understand is that there is no magic here. To take care of these areas you have to burn fat. You probably already know that to do this you need to reduce calories. What you may not know is that calorie reduction alone is not enough.
Lowering calories does not equate to burning fat (you could instead be burning a significant amount of muscle or glycogen stores). And if you are reading this article you may have experienced this at some point in your life already. Raise your hand if you have ever cut calories, lost weight or went on one of those marathon training running programs to find you indeed lost weight, but saw little to no change in the hip, butt, and thigh region.
Some women even swear these areas actually get bigger on standard exercise and diet programs. They really don’t. In fact they probably did shrink along with the rest of you, but at a much much slower rate. By the time you finish your diet you end up smaller, but you appear more pronounced in certain areas. For example, if you are a pear shape you will often end up a smaller but more pronounced pear shape (and if you lost muscle a more mushy pear as well 🙁 ).
By the way, as a brief aside and to save you the time of reading further – if you have the idea that you are going to go on a diet that you “finish”, that is your problem right there and you probably should just stop reading this article now and save yourself the hassle.
Either you are in it for the long-term lifestyle change, in which case you will definitely see success, or you are someone who still believes you can lose fat and keep it off by changing what you do for a few months, in which case you will continue losing and regaining the weight ending up fatter each time.
This article is for those who are in it for the long haul and just want a few exercise and diet tips to speed the lower body fat loss along.
Facts about hip, butt and thigh fat
- The fat in this area is different than the fat in your belly and different than the fat of a male. The hormone estrogen makes it so you have about 9 times more fat suppressing receptors in this area (for the science nerds I am referring to the alpha adrenergic receptors that are far more abundant in the subcutaneous fat of the female lower body).
- These receptors, called alpha adrenergic receptors, are very sensitive to the hormone insulin which means by lowering insulin you can reduce their activity.
- Fasting and/or lower carb diets are ways to block these receptors to some degree.
- Fasting overnight for 12 hours before exercise is a great way to take advantage of a lower insulin state in the body and attack these alpha receptors.
- Exercising fasted (i.e. before eating) in the morning will enhance fat release from these areas because these receptors are less sensitive and less active.
- Keeping the workout short and intense and including weight training with the workout should allow you to exercise intensely with little worry of muscle loss.
- Using short, 5 to 10 minute, intervals or sprints at the start of your workout will raise stress hormones that stimulate fat burning (these are called catecholamines). These hormones interact with both fat burning receptors (called beta adrenergic receptors) AND fat suppressing receptors (the alpha adrenergic receptors). But since the alphas are somewhat suppressed in this low insulin state, you have a better opportunity to stimulate the betas.
- By the way, you will still lose fat faster from the upper body, but this will help even things out a bit.
- If you have trouble exercising fasted, due to lack of intensity or fatigue, try coffee and/or BCAA supplements about 30 to 15 minutes before the workout.
- Follow your intense 5-10 minutes of intervals with 20 to 25 minutes of full body weight training. Focus on some good lower body exercise to tighten the hip, butt and thigh area.
- After your intervals and weight training, spend about 30 to 60 minutes doing a nice slow leisure walk. The intense 30 minutes of activity will have released a bunch of fat, but releasing fat is not the same as burning it (for the science types, lipolysis does not equal lipid oxidation).
- This slow walking (not power walking) can be done in the fasted state. It lowers cortisol and assures the fat that was released is indeed burned rather than restored.
- There are some supplements you can use that will bypass the adrenergic receptors. These typically end in “INE”, but they are pointless unless you are going to control insulin through a relatively low carb diet and/or structured fasting regime since they simply do not work otherwise. They would be used before a workout (yohimbine, synephrine, and berberine). **talk to your doctor before playing with these**
- There are other supplements that can bypass these receptors altogether. They too will not work unless you are relatively insulin sensitive. They can be taken anytime during the day. These are green tea extract (GTE) and Coleus Forskohli (Forskolin). **talk do your doctor about supplement changes**
- Two other things to keep in mind…You can’t out train a bad diet. So if you plan on eating whatever you want, don’t even bother with these exercise tips. Next, if you are not going to train with weights, plan on continuing to have a soft back side and less tone legs.
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