T Nation

Trouble Losing Weight in Specific Areas


Hi there,
for the past 3 months I've been working out, playing hockey, dieting and conditioning very hard. (Lift 4 times a week, cardio 3 times a week, hockey 2 times a week, Sunday off) I've gained the amount of muscle I wanted and have lost some fat but I am still having trouble losing fat in certain areas. These areas are: upper arms, lower abdomen, love handles and lower back.

Right now I'm using a very low carb protein mix and Xenadrine weight loss supplements.
Does anyone have any suggestions on a way to rid of these "problem areas"? Is there something I can do to make this process go faster?

Thank you,


What's your current height and weight?

Exactly how are you training with weights (days, exercises, sets, and reps)?

What are you doing for cardio (days, method, duration)?

How long are your hockey practices/games?

What does this mean? Are you at a certain bodyweight that you can't/don't want to exceed?

What exactly did you eat yesterday?

What's your general eating plan on days when you have two training sessions (weights/cardio, weights/hockey, or cardio/hockey. From the schedule you listed before, there have to be a few days where you're training two sessions per day.)

Keep doing what you've been doing (pretty much. Your program might need some tweaks). You need to build more muscle and drop more fat. It's a simple point of still having more fat on your body.

There really is no way to just tell your body, "Mike's Body, you gotta burn more of that fat from the love handles, arms, and low back. Get to it!" (Relevant side note: the lower abs rarely show up unless you're bodyfat is super-low.)


Hey thanks for the reply.

220 lbs.

My lifts usually consist of 2 days of major exercises: bench, chin ups, cleans, squat, snatch, military press, deadlift. And then 2 days of somewhat accessory work: calf raises, dips, curls, rows, as well as some hockey drills. I do some sort of core every day, usually back and side core on lower days and front core on upper days.
Cardio is usually 1 of 3 things: jogging around neighbourhood for about 15 mins, using elliptical machine for 20 mins (have somewhat bad knees for running) and biking for 20 mins (using peak cardio training). I do cardio on non hockey days.

I play hockey 2 times a week. One is for an hour the other is for 1.5 hours. Both are games so are fairly uptempo.

I currently hover between about 218-220lbs. I wouldnt mind staying at this weight or even shedding a few more pounds to the 210-215 range. I obviously want to keep getting stronger but do not at all want to become BUFF or monstrous in anyway. Cutting is my main goal right now.

Everyday is fairly similar for eating. In the morning i have a shake consisting of: 1 scoop of Isowhey (20g of protein), 2 raw egg whites, 1 teaspoon of natural peanut butter, skim milk, ice and sometimes a banana. Lunch is usually small for me, including tuna with veggies, grilled chicken breast or salmon. Dinner usually involves some sort of steak, more chicken, fish with sometimes getting in a potatoe, rice or pasta in there. Usually i tend to eat starches on hockey days, so I have fuel to burn during the game. I drink either water or skim milk during the day.

I do have one problem i have been working on and that is eating late at night. Its not very heavy, it usually includes a glass of skim milk, a few slices of cheese and a fruit of some sort. I usually eat this an hour before i fall asleep.

Thanks for the input,


you can't lose weight in specific areas. your body has spots it likes to store its fat, and you can't change that. the best thing you can do is to just continue dropping fat until you are satisfied.


yeah dude you cant spot reduce fat, it's like all the people doing 1000's of crunches trying to get a 6 pack it just doesn't work. how much fat have you lost so far?


x3, when I lost fat, the first place I lost it was my knees, of all places, then my arms, then my face. I've still got it on the stomach (and I still need to lose more overall).

If you're still losing weight, then consider that progress and keep doing what you're doing.

Diet is the most important thing here. (like 80% of the problem) If you're not losing, then you need to quantify your daily maintenance calorie level, and try to quantify how many calories you're eating in your diet. It's a pain tracking the diet, but you might have to break down and do it just to put a number on things.

Then you need to figure out what to do to achieve a daily caloric defict (the old rule of thumb is 500cal a day -> 3500 cal a week -> 1 pound of fat). You may have some fairly easy ways to trim from the diet, including peanut butter, pasta, and late night snack (the late night stack is not inherently evil, a late night bodybuilding snack is cottage cheese so there's protein in your system while asleep)


Thanks for the input, I really appreciate it.
I haven't exactly tracked how much fat I lost, but 3 months ago i weighed in at 225. As mentioned I lift 4 times a week and have gained significant amount of muscle and have moved down now to about 218. So I assume that I've lost a decent amount of fat weight.

EasyRhino: You mentioned that 500cal/day thing to the 3500cal/week. Where did you come up with this number? I was just wondering since its an old rule of thumb if you knew of any reading material I could look up on.



So how long have you been using this current diet/workout routine and how much weight/body fat have you lost since you started? Could it just be a matter of being patient? Also, maybe you could pick a late-night snack with less carbs in it, that may help, too.


Well, I still have no idea what you're actually doing, but it sounds like you have two days of "good" training, and two days of smaller detail stuff. That's a waste of time and effort. I'd rather see you with two or three better-designed days, each starting with a big lift and wrapping up with some accessory work.

A simple upper/lower or push/pull split would be great for this (two workouts, alternated every time you step in the gym). I wouldn't suggest full body training, because the frequent leg work might impair your hockey work.

You could also consider switching everything you're doing (weights and cardio plan) to something along the lines of Thibaudeau's Renaissance Body Development template:

Hey, great thing you're jogging sometimes then. (Please denote heavy sarcasm)

I'm not sure what the "peak cardio training" is, presuming it's one of the programs on the bike. But 15-20 minutes of cardio isn't very efficient for fat loss unless it's high intensity interval-type work.

Again, I don't know if your hockey is on the same days as your weight training, the same as your cardio, or if they're by themselves. Whenever you have two-a-day sessions, you can afford to take in more calories (and a few more carbs), but on the days you're just training once, I'd scale the carbs back in general.

Yes, because muscular hockey players are a bad thing. :wink: Just remember that a leaner, stronger athlete is a better athlete.

There's a problem right there. If you don't train on some days, train once other days, and train twice on other days, everyday's nutrition plan should not be the same. It's more to plan, but the results are worth the effort.

Dr. Clay's recent article explained this idea very well.

Your breakfast shake sounds pretty small, maybe 500-600 calories. That sucks, even for a cutting diet. Breakfast should be big, regardless of the goal. Lunch sounds fine. Dinner... surprise... I'd scale back the carbs.

If you're buckling down for fat loss, even if you trained and had hockey that day, carbs later in the day aren't as necessary. At night , go more veggies, less grains.

Do you eat anything aside from those three meals? A post-workout shake (before, during, or after training?) I'd have a protein-carb shake after the weights, and maybe during the hockey if that's an option.

Depending on what time of day the games are, you could possibly justify slightly higher carbs before the game, but afterwards, you should hop back on the low carb bus.

You could be very easily adding a few hundred calories per day with the milk. Go with just water, flavored with non-calorie stuff if necessary.

If your goal is fat loss, fruit should not be on the menu for a pre-bed meal. You want to limit the carbs later in the day, and focus on a primarily fat/protein meal before bed. The cheese is probably fine, but I'd even consider swapping the skim milk for just a scoop of protein in water.

And again, watch the size of the meal. You don't need much at all before bed, because really, how intense is tossing and turning? I'd say more than 20-30 grams of protein and a few grams of fat are overkill.