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Out of all of the places on the body that are stubborn when it comes to losing fat, the neck is one of the most troublesome.
Not only does neck fat make one feel self-conscious, but it also has negative health effects. It can cause sleep apnea, which impairs breathing and disrupts sleep. (1)
Also, fat is usually deposited in other areas of the body first. Developing neck fat is usually linked to health issues. Neck fat can be caused by being overweight or obese, which is usually due to poor eating habits and not getting enough physical activity. (2)
No one exercise can eliminate fat in one part of the body, but regular exercise, in general, reduces overall fat. Over time, neck fat will be reduced as well.
However, there are exercises, posture techniques, and lifestyle changes that can help tone up and speed up the process. Here’s what you can do to reduce neck fat.
1. Reduce Calorie Intake
The number one reason behind neck fat is obesity, and the main way to combat obesity is to reduce calorie intake. Reducing calorie intake involves avoiding overeating, which in turn will help decrease body fat. (3)
Some easy ways to reduce calorie intake include:
- Switch out high-calorie foods (high-fat meats, baked goods, etc.) for low-calorie, high-fiber foods (lean meats, veggies, fruits, legumes, etc.).
- Eat better sources of carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes and whole grains, instead of refined grains, such as white rice and white bread.
- Avoid cooking with high-calorie fats such as butter and lard.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day, as staying hydrated keeps you from feeling hungry.
- If you find yourself snacking in between meals, choose fruits, nuts, seeds, and veggies to crunch on.
- Take your time and eat a bit slower during meals, even if you take only 5 more minutes than usual, the extra time can help you feel fuller.
- Eat lean proteins to help with satiety.
2. Weight Train to Melt Body Fat
Other than adhering to a healthy diet, performing weight training will blast body fat away. The reason is, weight training usually focuses on large, compound movements that target multiple muscle groups at the same time, burning more calories.
You get more bang for your buck from these types of workouts, especially when it comes to fat loss. Not only will weight training aid in the battle against body fat, but it will slim down the neck area as well.
Note: Although you cannot spot-reduce fat, you can burn fat in general. Slimming down the entire body will eventually get rid of neck fat.
Weight training does not mean traditional free weights, either. You can get the same effects from body weight, banded, or machine movements. The main idea is to perform some type of resistance exercise that challenges your muscles.
For best results, aim for two or three, 45-minute challenging full-body strength training sessions per week to burn and tone that extra flab.
3. Work Your Heart to Speed Up Fat Loss
Performing regular cardiovascular exercise is a great way to not only strengthen your heart and lungs but also burn extra calories.
With those extra calories gone, your body has to get the energy from something, that something being excess adipose (fat) tissue. If you have some extra neck fat tissue, doing regular cardio will help immensely.
Aim for a 30-minute moderate-intensity session about five times a week. A few fun ways to do this include:
- Go for a brisk walk outside, walk up and down a hill to make it harder.
- Ride a bike with a friend or family member.
- Go for a jog with your dog.
- Join a local gym that has a pool and swim laps.
4. Perform Specific Neck Exercises
While adhering to a healthy diet and proper exercise routine will give you great results, there are specific movements that you can do, that will strengthen the neck muscles, therefore giving more shape and tone to that area.
a. Side Resistance Exercise
The side resistance exercise is a great equipment-free exercise that only requires your hands. It targets the muscles in the neck and helps tone and shape them. This exercise may also help with headaches, migraines, and posture.
How to perform the exercise:
- Standing tall with good posture, place one hand on the side of the head.
- Begin the movement by pushing the head toward the hand.
- As you push the head toward the hand, push against the head with the hand (acting as resistance).
- Return to the starting position.
- Do 10-12 repetitions, two to three times daily.
b. Neck Rotation Exercise
Neck rotation is another great exercise that gets the neck muscles working.
How to perform the exercise:
- Stand tall with good posture.
- Turn your neck to the left, and then return to the center.
- Turn your neck to the right, and then return to the center.
- Do 10-12 repetitions each side, two to three times daily.
5. Practice Good Posture
Practicing good posture can also help with getting rid of that neck flab.
When you slouch – which many people do – because of a sedentary lifestyle, using the phone or watching TV, you force your neck into a forward jutting position, which can exacerbate neck pain.
Sitting tall without slouching can ease the tension on the neck, as well as strengthen and shape the supporting musculature.
- Drinking green tea can help boost your metabolism, due to the action of the antioxidants and various minerals it contains.
- Stay hydrated! Drink enough water (generally 8-10 glasses per day) based on your weight and activity level.
Reducing calorie intake can help reduce overall body fat, which in turn can decrease neck fat. Perform full-body strength training workouts to burn more calories and build a better body composition.
Try direct neck exercises, which can help tone and shape the muscles of the neck. Fixing your posture can help take the pressure and strain off the neck and strengthen the muscles as well.