T Nation

Body Fat in Concentrated Locations


Hey, CT, I have a question for you I hope you can help me with.

This year I lost about 30lbs, I went from 265 to between 230 and 235 over a 6 month period. I have remained at 235 over the last 3 months, which I am happy about because it indicates my body has readjusted itself to this new weight and my appetite has decreased. I am now ready (after making some big life adjustments -moving to a new city, changing careers, etc) to take another big push to get another 20 to 30lbs off.

I noticed that my body fat is extremely stubborn in two areas: around the lower waist and on the side of my ribs, just below the armpit. Do you have any specific foods, supplements, or exercises that might help accelerate fat loss in these areas?

Also, I read this article which states fat loss is proportional to blood flow and can be ascertained (approximately) based on the local temperature near the fat deposit. Sure enough, these areas of my body are always cold.

Now I know this might sound crazy, but would it be such a bad idea to wear under armor around my lower abdomen (you can buy cheap compression fit clothes at walmart) to keep this are warm?

General information:
BW: 235lbs
Height: 5’9"

Current workout 4 day split following a double progression scheme
Trap Bar Deadlift Day
Overhead Press Day
Yoke Bar Squat Day
Dumbbell Bench Press Day

Each day ends with 10 minutes of cardio unless I am strapped for time.

Diet Stalling at 2000kcals/Day

" Do you have any specific foods, supplements, or exercises that might help accelerate fat loss in these areas?"

No, but there’s a resource called TIME!


True, but Ive read fat depositing in certain locations is indicative of a hormone imbalance. For example, insulin insensitivity might be attributable to fat in the lower abdomen. It is no coincidence I developed fat in this area after taking a medication which had side effects of diabetes. Thank god I got rid of that doctor and got off those meds, which made me balloon to a massive 270lbs.


Do you have pictures? Someone at your fatness level does not have stubborn areas! You’re still carrying a lot of fat generally! And how lean do you want to get?! Stubborn areas are the areas for which one has to suffer to get rid of, not at the point where they still have to lose more than 30 pounds to look leaning, and I don’t even know if that is the amount you need to lose considering you have no picture here. Do you realize what you’ll have to weight to look lean (not ripped) at 5’9" if you’re not muscled like a natural pro bodybuilder?


I dont want to be ripped, Ill never have the genetics for it nor do I want the build. I’d be happy if I had this level of leanness.

I have been lean before: my thinnest was 185 with a 32" waist and not much muscle. I think given my strength levels and build 200lbs would be ideal.

But I want to be thin not for the looks so much as I want to reduce my risk for heart disease and diabetis.


I think there might be some validity that an imbalance in some hormones could have an impact on where fat is deposited… which explains why you can have two people with the same overall body fat percentage but store it in completely different areas.

However I’m not convinced that what you eat or take (natural supplements) can have enough of an influence on your hormones to cause a selective fat loss in some areas. For example the first region you mention (rib cage armpit) would, in theory, indicate low thyroid levels. Thyroid function is highly complex and even with actual hormonal manipulation it’s hard to balance properly. I don’t think there are natural supplements that have a high impact on increasing thyroid levels… yes iodine could increase thyroid levels by providing more raw material but it doesnt mean that your body will produce more of this hormone.

Fat around the waist might be a bit more manageable since it is correlated with both high cortisol and bad insulin sensitivity. So lowering carbs and avoiding excessive training and excessive life stress might help.

But in the grand scheme of things any local fat manipulate will, AT BEST, have a small effect on local loss and most likely people wont notice a difference unless they are super lean and they only have that last part to lose. I believe, like Brick mentioned that it is more about sticking to a solid diet and training regimen over the long haul.


This is likely false.

And I don’t want to split hairs here, but I never said ripped, because that entails going way beyond a sustainable lifestyle and is temporary. And when I picture lean, I do not picture them man shown in the pic, so perhaps I was speaking a bit too strictly. The guy in the pic has a lot of muscle but is a bit chubby, which is fine.

Again, perhaps you and I have different standards in what we consider lean. If you were lean at 185 at 5’9" you would look very big and you would have a lot of muscle! This link shows me in the 180s at 5’10", lean: https://www.instagram.com/p/BJtpm6vgCqA/?taken-by=masmacros

So you being shorter than this at 185# and lean, you would not appear to have little muscle to anyone who knows this stuff.

Stu @The_Mighty_Stu weighed 200 to 205# in his offseason at 5’8" and he was a WNBF pro. When I met him for the first time in that condition I was astonished by how big appear. I thought to myself, “WTF?! So this is what a natural pro looks like in the offseason. This guy is fucking huge!”

Again, I think we have different standards and/or you’re not realizing just how muscled or lean you need to be with the goal of which you speak. Please don’t take this as argumentative.

Do you have pictures to go by?


185 and 69 in talk is my territory, and I think I’m not lean.


Thanks, Ill stick to my original plan then, 2000-2200kcals/day.


I’ve got pictures but I’m not posting them on here. I could email them to you.

Ill give you credit, your physique is impressive, Ive never been that thin in my life.

And relax, I don’t take things personally on here.

I am speaking from experience regarding my leanness potential. To get to 185lbs, I essentially had to starve myself, writing down every thing I ate, with the exceptions of when I went out and drank, which was once or twice a week.

While I probably could get to your level if I put the time in, realistically it would take me more effort than the average body builder to achieve those results as I have an endomorphic build (based on wrist measurements, chest measurements, etc). I recognize that is area where I simply don’t have the talent to be one of the best, so I wont pursue this competitively. Leanness for me is more about keeping my heart healthy and blood sugar in check.


I’ve known plenty of BBers who need to push through an already ripped torso in irder for their lower halves t catch up. Plenty come close to bailing on their cut because they assume “it will never happen” for some odd reason.

Brick has heard me say plenty over the years that “there are many variables you can play with during a cut, but the one that you can’t control is TIME.”



Yeah and it’s ultimately the most important one from what I’ve learned and experienced! Towards the end of OUR prep, say the last four to six weeks, with the last dietary and cardio adjustments being made, with no lower in calories or upper in activity to go and at that level of leanness, the only damn thing to rely on was time… and it worked!

We couldn’t starve me and we couldn’t do cardio and lifting to the point of collapsing, so the only thing to do was WAIT! That’s why a natural needs four to five months of preparing for a first show when they are starting overly chubby by bodybuilding standards. Once we got past the awkward phase and then past sticking points and there were no more hiccups–partly because I chose to nicely tell those around me to f----g leave me alone from hereon out, though that was not nice when I think about it now–the fat just melted off of me as time went on. I think if we went two more weeks for a second show I wanted to do that I would have had ripped glutes. This is why Dan Duchaine use the term, “go/went the distance”. @Aero51


Thanks. I think you are confusing or misusing the words thin and lean. 185 pounds lean or ripped at 5’10" is not thin. It’s actually heavily muscled.

OK, good.

I think one can get to a somewhat lean, beach-body ready and maintain this so long as they are not heavily muscled. A dude that is heavily muscled and going beyond lean with that composition is essentially a bodybuilder in prep/peak mode. So yes, I am saying, without being self-aggrandizing that I was carrying a lot of muscle in those pics for a dude with a medium frame.

As I said in the post to Stu, that picture shows the time when there were no more hiccups and fat started literally falling off of me and the sleep and mind went to the crapper from the overwork and hunger.

I’m curious what the diet was like when you got to 185. Because if you just got to a just a beach body (less muscle, more fat, not a bodybuilder) 185, it should not have felt like that if done correctly.

Sounds good! And I don’t blame you from a realistic perspective. With the obligations of an adult–with a new one that will hopefully be upon me this coming year–I have no freaking idea if and when I will compete again, which is sort of upsetting considering I earned a natural pro card in my first show and I so badly want to compete against the best. For me, even coming in awesome shape (my best condition that is) and honorably losing to the best would be a thrill! And when I say honorable in the BB sense, I mean coming in cut to ribbons and heavily muscled but simply losing to those that are better than me.

Bodybuilding preparation and getting cut to ribbons is an ultimately unforgiving and merciless process (not kidding). I am not saying the end result is as important as someone putting their life on the line for society but in the context of the endeavor, I believe it is THE most stressful hobby or pastime or passion (or even obsession) out there. (Can we even call it a hobby?) So I don’t blame anyone for not wanting to screw around for this time and emotion consuming endeavor! Its not exactly healthy or absolutely fun either :wink: . It should be done for he love of it ultimately, I personally believe. :@The_Mighty_Stu

So yes, do it for enjoyment and health and SOME cosmetic purpose.


Competeting is always exciting, especially when it is something youre passionate about and good at, and even losing to people who are the best is an honor because, hey, at the very least you got to their level.

I know with my life commitments there is no way I could do something like body building successfully. I am stressed out enough working on my PhD. Now, I wish I got paid more as a student and I would probably be a lot less stressed out.

I actually developed a program that estimates bodyweight gain or loss based on a set of equations I derived. It essentially makes projections into the future. It helped me stay on track over a 105 day period, but it can be adjusted to suit the individual. I tested it on myself and it does a reasonable job of bounding where you will end up if you meet the assumptions the equation uses. I was debating whether or not to license the software to some fitness websites, as it is unique compared to what is on the internet currently.

Actually, if your curious I could send you a print out of what it does and the data I used. Maybe youll know if people will like it since youre well versed in body building and fitness.


I’m interested:)


That sounds interesting. My email is bradleygrunner@gmail.com.