"Hey Jared, I’ve been dieting for awhile now and I just can’t get rid of my love handles. Do you have any suggestions for stubborn fat?"
Thanks for the great question, I know stubborn body fat is a struggle for many people and something I worked on specifically while I was training through my company 316fit.
Stubborn fat is tough because it is highly genetic. Some are more prone to holding fat in certain areas than others, and those areas are going to be holding onto fat for far longer than the others areas of your body. That being said, there are definitely approaches and variables to consider when it comes to stubborn fat.
Before we get to that, we need to make sure we’re on the same page.
Is it stubborn yet or just waiting to be utilized?
First, you need to look at how lean you are. If you’re still needing to lose quite a bit of fat from other areas of your body that are not the ‘stubborn’ areas, you still have a ways to go before you worry too much about stubborn fat. It is entirely possible the areas will be utilized later in your fat loss cycle and are not be prioritized at the moment by your body. Some areas of your body will be easier to tap into than others.
For example, you may notice when you diet that one area leans out first before anything else. For women, more often that is their stomachs and back. Women generally don’t tend to hold a lot of fat on their stomachs or backs and hold most of it in their lower half. Men, on the other hand, will find most of their stubborn areas in their midsection and lower back while their legs and arms will be the first to lean out.
Those areas that hold more fat and are slower to move are ‘stubborn’ to some degree, but it does not mean they won’t be utilized when necessary. Some stubborn fat is like my six year old son and can be coaxed into doing what needs to be done. Other stubborn fat will dig its heels in like my nine year old son and figuratively give you the middle finger and do the opposite of what you want. Luckily, just like my nine year old, that fat can be forced into submission.
So if you need to lose more weight it may just be a matter of time before you lean out in those areas.
Why Stubborn Fat Is Stubborn
There are a lot of factors at play in your particular body, and hormones are a big unforeseen possibility. Unfortunately that is a discussion with too many variables to bring into what we will go through here. Let's go through the things we do have control over.
Lack Of Direct Stimulation
Stubborn body fat can be stimulated for fat loss through the muscle beneath it in some instances. Unfortunately most of the major problem areas like abdominals and lower back are not able to be stimulated with exercise and will rely solely on your diet and supplement strategies. If you are reading this and you are a woman, yes you can stimulate fat loss in your legs through exercise but exercise can only begin the process and it is relatively slow and inconsequential in the overall scheme of things.
It’s time to stop doing the side crunches, sit ups, and planks for fat loss in your waist and only do those for the muscle building benefits.
Lack Of Blood Flow
Another reason stubborn fat is so obstinate is due to a lack of blood flow in that specific area. You may notice if you feel around normally on your body that the areas with the stubborn fat are colder than the rest of your body. This lessened blood flow to the area also means less transportation and utilization of the fat that has been stored there.
Abundance of Fat-Blocking Receptors
There are two types of receptors (adrenoreceptors) that control fat metabolism and blood flow to and from the fat cell: beta-receptors and alpha-receptors. Beta-receptors are the helpful receptors, increasing blood flow and fat loss. Alpha-receptors do the opposite, stopping fat loss and slowing blood flow. In stubborn body fat we see a much larger amount of alpha-2 receptors (fat blockers) than we see beta-2 receptors (fat burners) - sometimes up to 9x as many fat blocking receptors as the fat burning receptors. No wonder stubborn fat is such a pain to lose in certain areas.
What Can You Do?
As mentioned earlier, sometimes it is just a matter of time before stubborn fat is utilized as an energy source. Regardless of our ability to tap into it easily, we will ultimately tap into it at some point if we continue through the diet. Like you, that answer didn't accomplish what I wanted with my clients. Luckily based on the information we have here, there are a few ways we can attack fat loss more aggressively.
So let’s look at what we know before we make a plan of attack.
1. Fat loss in specific areas DOES occur based on stimulation in the area, albeit at a very slow pace (and not in the waist).
2. Stubborn fat has lower blood flow than other fat cells in your body.
3. Alpha-2 receptors block fat loss in the stubborn areas and decrease blood flow to the area.
Stubborn Fat Solution
Based on the information we see above, there’s a few things we can do to counteract them. For instance, there may be ways to increase blood flow to adipose tissue (fat), reduce the activity of the alpha-2 receptors, and stimulate fat metabolism in specific areas. If we can do that, the fat is no longer as stubborn as it used to be. At that point it is more similar to the rest of the fat on your body, just waiting to be utilized as an energy source when needed.
How To Increase Blood Flow To Stubborn Fat
Without proper blood flow it will be hard to transport the fatty acids to be utilized as energy, and in return our body may opt to use a different ‘easier’ fat source for energy. Increasing blood flow is one of the first things we want to accomplish.
Increasing blood flow isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds, all it requires is a little bit of heat. If you think back to sports injuries, the use of heat dilates the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the area. As we add heat to specific body parts we are increasing blood flow to that specific area. So, what we want to do with stubborn fat is increase the heat in the area. We can accomplish that a few different ways.
One option may be to opt for different clothing when exercising or throughout the day. Recently the use of ‘wraps’ during things like cardio and workouts have become more popular. While they are nothing magical by themselves, they do lock heat in the area and consequentially increase blood flow. Most of these wraps are designed for your waist but the same idea could be utilized for other areas of your body. Keep the stubborn fat hot and blood flow should follow the heat.
This option typically works best during workouts and isn’t as realistic for most of us during the work day. Luckily there is another way to stimulate heat in the area itself: warming agents. Warming agents are used to increase heat to a specific area, but they are not created equally.
LipoFlux uses a proprietary warming agent to bring heat to the area without irritating your skin. Capsaicin can work to bring heat to an area, but typically is uncomfortable or irritating to your skin so its best to avoid it. (Side note: in the development of LipoFlux I experienced how terrible some ingredients reacted with my skin, turning it red and irritated. Not something you can put on and handle comfortably. Bringing HEAT to an area does not mean you have to feel uncomfortable or burn your skin.)
As we learned earlier, alpha-2 receptors also reduce blood flow to the area. If we are able to block the alpha-2 receptors, or inhibit the action they are taking (via an antagonist) we may be able to increase blood flow to the area and increase our ability to utilize stubborn fat more easily.
One supplement I have used extensively with my clients is Yohimbine HCl, and for good reason. Yohimbine is an Alpha-2 Antagonist, which means it will help to ‘turn off’ the alpha receptors. Since alpha-2 receptors reduce both blood flow and fat loss, one of our best strategies for tapping into stubborn fat is to turn those receptor sites off as much as possible. If we can use an alpha-2 antagonist (inhibitor) to do this, we may be able to tap into stubborn fat just as easily as the rest of our body fat.
Read that again because I want to make sure it’s clear. With Yohimbine HCl you are not targeting a specific area of your body more than others. It will not burn the fat for you or do the work. What it does is help you to tap into fat evenly across your body (as much so as possible), so you are able to lose weight from your love handles (or abs, hips, thighs, etc) just as easily as you do the rest of your body. All the requirements for fat loss precede Yohimbine HCl, or you’ll be wasting your time and money.
With that being said, there’s still a lot you need to know about Yohimbine HCl:
Yohimbine is a stimulant, so it can amp you up or keep you awake. For a very small percentage of people, it’s intolerable and makes them feel sick to their stomach. It also works best in a fasted state, or one where insulin levels are low (which make Yohimbine HCl very effective when combined with Intermittent Fasting, see our blog post). Yohimbine is also dose-dependent and is something you have to work your way up to.
The fully effective dose of Yohimbine HCl is .2mg/kg or roughly 1mg per 10lbs of bodyweight. If you’re 160lbs, you would need 16mg for the full benefits of Yohimbine HCl. In the grand scheme of things, 16mg of Yohimbine isn’t that much in total dose or volume compared to something like 200mg of caffeine typically found in fat loss or thermogenic products.
Unfortunately, you’re not going to get that dose in any thermogenic product on the market. Too much Yohimbine HCl can give you cold sweats and minor nausea. Yohimbine HCl is something that needs to be dosed up slowly as you adapt to it. Jumping straight to 16mg of Yohimbine (a little over 5 pills of our Yohimbine HCl) would likely make you feel wired, anxious, irritable, and nauseated.
Just as you should do with all stimulants, start with a small dose and work your way up. I designed Yohimbine HCl to be in 3mg increments because it is an amount that shouldn’t cause nausea or issues just adding 3mg. According to Lyle McDonald in his book The Stubborn Fat Solution, Yohimbine HCl should be taken as a bolus dose first thing in the morning before cardio. For the purposes of taking Yohimbine HCl in a fasted state, this makes perfect sense as it is the only time you’re truly fasted. On the other hand if you are practicing Intermittent Fasting you will have a much longer fasted state and could take Yohimbine in smaller doses more frequently throughout the day.
Generally when I take Yohimbine HCl, I will start with 3mg (one pill) and see how it goes. Each day I don’t notice any side effects - I rarely notice anything negative from Yohimbine HCl - I add one pill the next day. So 3mg turns into 6mg, then 9mg, 12mg, etc until I reach my desired dose of .2mg/kg (or 1mg per 10lbs bodyweight) or approximately 23mg of Yohimbine HCl per day (for me personally). While I have taken the full 24mg in a single dose in the morning, I don’t recommend going that way as I have not noticed any lesser results from spreading the dosing out versus taking it all at once.
Yohimbine HCl alone is an incredibly affordable way to start attacking your stubborn body fat.
Signal Mobilization Of Stored Fat
The biggest problem left with stubborn body fat is stimulating it to be utilized preferentially. At this point in time you can increase heat (blood flow) and reduce the behavior of alpha-2 receptors to make stubborn fat less stubborn (Yohimbine HCl), but it will only be utilized by your body in the order it chooses. That is why I created LipoFlux: Topical Lipolysis Formula (product has been discontinued).
“If you could rub a cream on and lose weight everyone would be fit!” - Karen
I will be the first one to concede that you cannot rub in a cream and expect to lose fat. If I had a product of that magnitude I would be lounging around reading a book in one of my seven vacation homes right now. Yet, here I am.
The truth is that no matter what, you cannot lose fat without a caloric deficit. What is possible is to increase activation of the stubborn body fat, transport it as an energy source, and allow your body to burn it off as it would any other source of body fat.
That’s why LipoFlux was developed with a next generation, multifaceted approach to slimming and weight loss. Lipoflux handles adipocytes transition in a unique multi-stage approach: Signaling, Transport, Interruption (STI Complex).
What this means is when you apply LipoFlux to stubborn fat areas, the first thing it does is increase the warmth of that area. We want as much blood flow to the area as possible to utilize stored fat.
Next, a specific form of micro-algae (Tisochrysis lutea) in LipoFlux signals the mitochondria of the fat cell to become more active increasing thermogenesis (fat burning) in all three types of fat cells (white, brown, and beige). This is done specifically through the induction of UCP1 and an increase in beta-oxidation of fatty acids. Simply put, the micro-algae helps to start the fat loss process where it has been applied.
Once we have the fat-burning process started in the area LipoFlux is applied to, it only does us good if we are able to utilize the stored fatty acid. This happens by increasing the transport of triglycerides (fat) to the mitochondria to be burned off as energy. Ingredients such as escin, tripeptide-1, carnitine, caffeine, coenzyme-a, and butchersbroom help to increase the efficiency of transportation and uptake of fatty acids to be burned off as energy. Basically, you’re fueling the fat-burning process that has started in the area you applied LipoFlux to.
Lastly, not all fat that has been transported or released is utilized. These triglycerides are likely to be stored in the same place, or stored in another area of your body. The butchersbroom and ivy extract both help to prevent that fat from redepositing in the same place again, and instead is pushed through other areas of your body to be utilized more easily as energy. If any fat that was transported is not burned off, we want to keep it from redepositing in the same stubborn fat.
Trust me, it was more fun researching this product than it is reading this blog post about it.
Simply put, LipoFlux allows you the opportunity to utilize stubborn fat more easily. It won’t put you in a caloric deficit by itself, and it’s not going to make you hit the gym. You do the hard work, it allows you to tap into stubborn fat storage more easily.
Putting It All Together
This may be a lot of information to go through, so I want to briefly summarize a few of the things you may be able to do to help attack stubborn fat and lose weight more evenly across your body.
In order of importance:
1. Diet slowly and steadily for a longer period of time. It may not be ‘stubborn’ as much as your fat just may not have been used as easily yet. Getting leaner first will help you the most with seeing what is truly stubborn versus what is just holding out a little longer.
2. Block activity at the alpha-2 receptors with Yohimbine HCl allowing you to increase blood flow to the area and lose weight more easily.
3. Increase blood flow to the area by increasing heat to the area. This can be done through wraps as well as creams like LipoFlux.
4. Tap into the extra stubborn fat more easily with the STI Complex found in LipoFlux to utilize more of the stored fat as an energy source.
The most important thing to remember is that you will utilize that fat eventually. It may take longer than you think, and it may seem like the fat is never coming off in the extreme situations - but it will. Keep grinding and you’ll tap into it eventually. Until then, hopefully these tips and tricks help out.