T Nation

Fat Loss in Low Abs/Hips/Thighs


Hello - i'm fairly new and have been heavy lifting for 5 weeks under my muscle head husband... my goals were to lose 20 lbs- instead, i've plateaued at 157 and gone from 26% body fat down to 19% body fat in 5 weeks... i've had great gains in back/arms/chest/abs... but i cannot seem to lose the fat layer on my lower abs, hips and thighs! what can i do... i weight train 2 hours a day and cardio circuit for strength about 2 hours a day - i'm exhausted and need to get rid of the fat that won't go away- how can i lose the 'female' fat and not accept that it is just finally middle age? i'm 5'7" and at 157 like i said... what will step up a full body work out to lose the female fat? i've got a great squat & lunges & abs routine - but no avail... not working!


its not possible to "spot reduce" fat

where your body stores fat depends on genetics and cannot be altered through training

i don't know if i read that right but you do 2 hours of lifting and 2 hours of cardio every day ?!

i would advice you to

1)read as much up on nutrition as possible, your diet has a much greater effect on your bodyfat% than your workout

2)if possible, revise your goals, 19%BF is between normal and low for a healthy female, those figure competitors you see online do not look like that the whole year, they peak at that condition for a contest/photo shoot

3)Here http://www.T-Nation.com/tmagnum/category.jsp?categoryID=24&pageNo=1&s=forumsSidebar

and http://www.musclewithattitude.com/ has lots of female-specific training information :slightly_smiling:

4)when it comes to training and working out, less is often more


My diet is strict... at 1250 kcal all lean protein and vegetables... worse things i eat are whole grain oats in AM and peanut butter... the natural low sodium kind... i also have sugar free red bull x 2 a day... i don't know what else to do- i know spot training won't work... i just want better results in my lower abs, legs, and hips... what are the best lifting methods for those areas?

maybe I can at least cut out some of the cellulite... i can't take it... i am trying very hard to get it conditioned and lose the roll i didn't have until this year... it's like a deflated balloon! is trying to attain 15% body fat too low for a 36 - 27 year old female? How can I do it?


I'll be interested to hear from someone that knows a lot more about nutrition than I do respond, but in the meantime...my gut is telling me...

1250Cal is too LOW

With 2hrs of weights it's WAY too low

With an additional 2hrs of cardio it's WAY WAY too low.

It's great you have the focus and will power to be strict, and I think if you were to apply that strength to a really good nutrition program....you'll get the results you've been looking for.

Since I've been trying to GAIN weight I don't know much about the diets on this site...so I'll let someone else point you in the direction of which are the better (or more suitable) diets for ya.

In the meantime I'd do lots of reading about nutrition in all the great articles on this site!

Hope that helps! Good luck!


Wow, you need to be eating more. Read the info in the muscle sorority forums. To much cardio and to much lifting.


It seems counterintuitive but you need to eat enough to lose weight. Your high volume of training and low calorie intake is driving your body into starvation mode. Your metabolism is taking a shit kicking.

You probably need about another 1000 calories for a maintenance diet and should limit your weight training to 3-4 hours a week and your cardio to 3-4 hours a week. Try that, see where you stabilize and gradually reduce by 250 cal at a time only until you have small losses. Stick to heavy compound exercises for efficiency.


ull never see ur abs if u dont have low body fat. ditch all those weights. do tabata work outs first thing in the morning after u wake up before breakfast. do 20s of sprint, then 10s rest and thats 1 set, and do 8 of those. if ucant handle the intensity, start off with 15s of 70% sprint. eat lean meat, dont eat butter/cheese, just drink milk. ive had great fat loss results. i do weights first then tabata on bike.


Don't tell someone not to lift here. You're asking to be lynched.


Don't tell her not to lift because its detrimental to her goals and we are not living in the 60's anymore, we know better.


her goal is to lose fat around certain areas. the only way to do that is lower overall body fat. clearly lifting weight isnt ideal for her, maybe she could try something new that i have mentioned?

also watch ur diet, becuz u can work till ur face is blue and wont see result becuz u still eating the same stuff u have been eating for years. do more "intensive" cardio and forget about burgers, cheese, butter, cream..


the way a body gets more fit, with less bodyfat is no by eating less,

its actually by eating more, and burning more

the more calories you can ingest and then burn in a day, the more you will become in shape. think of your body as a food processing factory where productivity = success


Dont be afraid to build and preserve muscle aka Lean Body Mass, the more the merrier as it helps burn fat at rest...Get someone to measure you to get a baseline on where you are at vis' bodyfat percentage to help track your progress...Look at the following post of our MWA member Shawn Tan. Here is the "before" pic...You are ahead of where she stared already, so know that you can do it!....


Shawn Tan now...Hard to believe she was once over 300 pounds! You can do it!!!


You're wrong. Heavy weight training, a strict diet, and high-intensity energy systems work [such as Tabata or sprints] is the best way to lose fat. Weights are important. You drop them, you've lost an important fat loss tool


I am eating like in training- i mean, I rarely cheat - the worst i've had in 6 weeks was a 1x2.5" square of lasagna!

My diet is around 800-1300 Kcal a day- i can't seem to up it unless i ate a lot more protein- i can't put anything else in me besides protein without feeling GUILTY-- my diet is NO butter, cream, or fast food - nothing sweet or sugary - all whole grains, lean protein & vegetables... i have tried to up my calories, but I can't overeat in the morn/midmorn - i eat cup oatmeal (NOT the sugary kind) and fat free yogurt sweetened w/splenda - i eat for lunch tuna in water or chicken breast or egg and fat free cottage cheese - snacks are fruit like green apples or bosc pears - dinner lean meat like fish/chick breast & probably 2 cups vegetables like spinach, broc, bok choy, zucchini & mushrooms - i eat 2 tbs olive oil a day if that - the only other fat i get is from 1% milk in the morning in coffee - and again, 2 sugar free red bulls...

from my low belly/hips to my knees is an extreme layer of fat - i mean, i have to really move around to find the muscles! My upper body is emaciated by comparison- my bones don't stick out anymore but i mean, it's LEAN except for little under arm fat layer that's receding...

i don't know- i need a better leg/lower ab work out-- squats, lunges, dead lifts are NOT cutting the fat out but i am building muscle-

i went from 26% body fat to 19% body fat in 5 weeks... i want the next few weeks to cut it down to at least 17% then to 15%...

Realistic lifting and fat burning suggestions - and I cannot stop lifting!


You need to read up on the nutrition articles. It sounds like you are too worried about what you are eating. Currently, you are doing well on the food choices but you are limiting the amount you are eating. You need a bit more fat in the diet and you can do with increasing the calories.

Take a deep breath, relax, and start doing some reading. You will get through that plateau if you take the time to learn a bit more.


Read :


You have been given some good advise. Keep the lifting and cardio but make sure it's reasonable. 2 hours a day is too much. Excessive lifting causes and increase in cortisol which causes fat to accumulate around your abs. Excessive worrying does the same. You might want to investigate som stress reduction techniques. The excessive exercise can be catabolic as well and may limit your muscle growth and eventually will lead to overtraining.

You probably need a lot more fat in your diet.

Take a fish oil supplement. I know you get some Omega 3 in tuna but not a lot. Olive oil is good but you probably need more monounsaturates. Try a handful of nuts each day. Almonds, cashews and walnuts are great but even peanuts are good. Watch the salt and added oils in some brands. Get them from the baking section or a health food store.

A person your size and activity level probably needs about 2500 calories/day for maintenance. A level of 2000 should allow you to lose weight without going into starvation mode.

Better yet would be to zig-zag your diet.

Every time you cut calories below your maintenance level, it's never long before your body recognizes the deficit and adjusts your fat burning thermostat so fewer calories are burned. The larger the drop in calories and the longer the drop is maintained, the bigger the drop will be in metabolism.


In the first place, your diet just isn't working. Anyone doing intense exercise regularly needs to ingest plenty of "energy" calories: either carbohydrates or fats. Most of the leading edge nutritional advice suggests that getting your energy calories from fats is the way to go.

In the second place, although it's counter intuitive, maintaining a long term hypocaloric diet actually slows the metabolism and prevents weight loss, because your body senses it's in a starvation mode and makes the necessary hormonal changes to resist, or even prevent, further weight loss.

You therefore have two choices: (a) eat your low calorie diet on a daily basis and once a week eat many more calories to "reassure" the body that you're not in starvation or (b) eat sufficent calories on a daily basis.

In my experience, provided you have the diet dialed in perfectly and don't insist on an otherwise totally sedentary lifestyle, practically anyone can get a very hard, very lean body with just two one-hour weight-training sessions and an half-hour of cardio sprints/intervals on a third day.

Such a minimalist routine requires, though, dietary mastery and the ability to work hard enough at the proper exercises (that is, mental toughness and knowledge). Most folks, to make up for a shortage of one or the other, will require more exercise for the look they want, but I think it's inspiring nonetheless to be aware of the possibilities.

You are already aware that your present knowledge set isn't sufficent to take you where you want to go, so where do you go from here? This woman ( http://skwigg.tripod.com/blog/ Oct. 15 entry ) , from a similar starting point, has already accomplished what you hope to do and she has a lot of good, experiential advice (personally, I do think she's a bit on the skinny side and her exercise reccomendations could be safely halved; but that's me).

This guy ( http://www.arthurdevany.com/ ) is arrogant, annoying and frustrating to read; nevertheless, bar none, I think he has the healthiest and most rational approach to fitness/nutrition of anyone I've come across anywhere. You'll have to slog through many entries of his blog to piece together his philosophy and put together a practical program, but it would be time well spent.

If you want a brilliant, workable, scientific program which is easily accessible and uncomplicated, check out Berardi's precisionnutrition.com He's already answered any possible question you could have about nutrition or fitness and designed an excellent program that delivers, so that means you'll have to pay something to make use of it.

But it's certainly worth it, if you don't have the time or confidence to do your own research. Good luck.


You might want to read this.