How To “Trick” Your Body Into Burning Off Stubborn Lower Body Fat

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Woman with tape measure around stomach

How To “Trick” Your Body Into Burning Off Stubborn Lower Body Fat

How To “Trick” Your Body Into Burning Off Stubborn Lower Body Fat

Woman with tape measure around stomach

You don’t have to be overweight to suffer from cellulite and stubborn female fat.

Many active, lean women have cellulite and annoying pockets of stubborn fat, most commonly stored in such places as their thighs and butt.


Well for a start, you are a woman. Its nature – you see, our bodies were made with procreation in mind. One of the reasons fat is believed to be preferentially stored in these areas is for breastfeeding. We’re built under the assumption that at some point we’ll be responsible for another little human being thus we are genetically programmed to have a backup supply of fat so we can care for our offspring in times of famine.

When women lose fat, typically we lose it from our upper body first. No matter that we may have a lot more fat down below; our body will always take the fat from our upper body first. That’s the pattern of fat loss for most women, and as frustrating as that is, unfortunately we can’t change that.

So, stubborn fat is doubly difficult – it is stored easily, yet is extremely hard to shift once it is stored. Let’s see why…

Adreno what?

Adrenoreceptors are found in all body fat cells; and these adrenoreceptors are able to trigger changes within the fat cell. They control fat cell metabolism as well as blood flow into and out of the fat cell.

Body fat contains two types of adrenoreceptors – beta and alpha. In basic terms, beta receptors promote fat metabolism and alpha receptors block fat metabolism.

Continuing in very basic terms, in the game of fat loss, beta receptors are good, and alpha receptors are bad.

According to research, lower body fat has been found to carry as much as 9 times more of the baddie receptors than the goodie receptors. This doesn’t paint a pretty picture.

So the process of actually losing body fat (normal or stubborn) requires us to first mobilize the fat out of the actual cell and into the blood stream. Lack of blood flow to stubborn areas makes it even more difficult to mobilize the fat out of the cell.

Secondly, the fat has to be burned off once it’s escaped from that darned cell. If it’s not it can simply be shuttled right back into the fat cell again!

One of the BEST ways to mobilize fat out of the fat cell is to perform high intensity exercise. It also has the added fat burning effect of lowering insulin levels (the presence of insulin inhibits fat mobilization) so you’re getting a double whammy in favour of fat loss here.

During high intensity training you are using mostly carbohydrate for energy as opposed to fat. Essentially what these workouts do is prime your body for fat loss by releasing fatty acids from the cells as well as raise your metabolism and fat burning ability for up to 38 hours following your workout (as a result of Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC for short).

Research indicates there is a big surge of fatty acid release into the blood stream, minutes after completing a high intensity exercise session. In other words, when you have completed your high intensity session – your fat is now ready for step 2 – fat burning!

If you neglect this second step, then you are missing out on the ability to obliterate troublesome stubborn fat.

We do this by following up the high intensity workout with some steady state cardio work. This allows your body to burn off the fat that is now circulating in the blood stream. This type of cardio, performed at around 65-70% of your maximum heart rate, is well known as the ‘fat burning zone’. If you train in this zone you will be burning mostly fat for fuel, as compared to carbohydrates.

So if your current exercise program isn’t helping with stubborn fat removal, then stop listening to the naysayers!

While high intensity exercise is the bomb when it comes to increasing metabolism and getting the most ‘bang for your buck (or butt!)”, a few strategically placed steady state cardio sessions can do more for your stubborn fat stores than you ever thought possible! If you have fat that just won’t go away then don’t overlook the benefits of this much maligned training system.

Here’s a simple bodyweight workout designed to bust stubborn fat:

(I’ll presume you’ll warm up prior to performing this workout)


Walking Lunge into Calf Raise x 10 (total of 20 steps)

Mountain Climber x 30-40


Jump Squat x Max


Rest 1 minute

Push Up x Max


Frog Jump x 10 (each side)


Spiderman Exercise x 10 (each side)


Rest 1 minute

Repeat 2-3 more times through

Rest 3-5 minutes, then


Alternate between the following at a heart rate of approximately 65-70% (or a level 3-4 on a Rate of Perceived Exertion chart) for a total of 30 minutes:

  • 5 minutes of slow jogging or fast walking
  • 5 minutes of slow stair climbing, or slow uphill walking

Rate of Perceived Exertion Guidelines:

0 nothing at all
1 very weak
2 weak
3 moderate
4 somewhat strong
5 strong
6-7 very strong
8-9 very, very strong
10 maximum intensity


You don’t have to go crazy on the cardio, more is NOT necessarily better – what matters most is where you program them in your training schedule. And don’t forget – to get that beautiful shapely, toned figure you still need to build or at least maintain your muscle mass so someheavier workouts are also recommended.


From an original article by Sue Heintze

Sue, aged 42, is a Fitness Professional and contributing writer to Australian Oxygen Magazine, Australian Women’s Health & Fitness magazine and Shape Magazine.

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