How to Lose Stubborn Fat

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A look at the three hormones you MUST address for fat loss.

You’ve probably experienced this most frustrating of fat loss phenomena before.

You exercise, eat healthier and lose weight… and then your success suddenly stands still.

Your solution? You exercise more, diet harder, or combine the two and expect to bust through your plateau. Only nothing happens.

The reason: At some point, just thinking about “calories in versus calories out” isn’t enough.

Your better-body goals are dependent on the type of deficit you create.

You see, once you’ve hit a fat loss plateau or when you’re trying to lose the last few pounds, fat loss becomes a game of hormonal balance. And if you’re not taking the right approach, your metabolism slows and it becomes harder for you to transform your body.

That’s why I created Final Phase Fat Loss. It’s an inside look at what really plagues “real” people’s bodies, while making sure you’re never on a diet that’s so severe that you halt your progress.

Your hormones can cripple your physique. They don’t just determine if you gain fat—they determine where you gain it and whether you’re able to lose if from those areas.

This is why “problem” areas exist. They are a result of your hormonal environment, and they can force your body into particular fat storage patterns.

Consider this your guide to understanding why you store fat in certain areas, and the hormones that are to blame.



Without question, the most common type of regional fat storage is belly fat. Obviously, your diet and overall body fat level contribute to it, but outside of that, it’s all hormones.

The villain: Cortisol, oftentimes referred to as the stress hormone. When your body is under any type of stress—whether emotional or physical—your body produces cortisol, which encourages the storage of belly fat. That means while drinking less or sleeping more can help, it’s not the end-all solution that crushes your belly fat.

What you really need is resistance training… but any type of exercise won’t do.

The trouble with cortisol is that it’s produced by stress, and exercise is actually a form of physical stress—so it’s one of the primary ways your body will produce this sneaky little hormone. And more specifically, long-duration cardio and extended lifting sessions are what produces the most cortisol. It’s the reason why so many runners end up looking “skinny fat.” Sure, they lose weight—but their cortisol remains elevated and they still look fat.

Instead, short, intense training sessions will help to counteract the effects of cortisol; both the muscle-wasting effect and the cortisol related belly fat storage. The result: You’ll not only lose weight, but also melt body fat in record time.


One of the most common types of fat storage that we see in women is the “pear shape” – fairly thin on top but heavy on the bottom (and in the bottom). This type of fat storage is also heavily dependent on the female sex hormone estrogen.

High levels of estrogen are awesome for enjoying the Vampire Diaries and makin’ babies, but terrible for fat loss, which is why women usually have more trouble losing fat than men. However, anyone—male or female—with high estrogen levels will have trouble losing fat, especially from areas in the lower body like the hips and thighs.

And yes, it IS possible for men to have high estrogen levels. Unfortunately, outside of having to deal with a declined rate of fat loss and lower body fat, these guys also have to deal with the ignominy of man-boobs.

Fortunately, you can offset the negative impact of estrogen with certain types of training. In addition to helping you lose fat stored in the lower body, these specifically designed workouts will also be great for fat loss in general. Essentially, they’re great for burning calories and for shedding lower body fat through estrogen management. Combine the two and the result is rapid fat loss, with a heavy concentration on lower body fat stores.


Probably my least favorite incarnation of regional fat storage is love handles and lower back fat. Even when I am in lean condition—I’m talking shredded pretty much everywhere else—I store some fat in my love handles and lower back.

The reason I tend to store fat this way is because of how my body reacts to certain hormones, and because of the effect those hormones have on fat storage. The degree to which you are able to process and respond to glucose (sugar) in your body is called insulin sensitivity. The higher this is, the easier and more efficiently your body utilizes carbohydrates for energy, and the less likely you are to store carbs as fat.

On the other hand, insulin resistance is the opposite; you don’t deal well with carbs. And anything other than a low carb diet pretty much means you’re going to store more fat.

The good news is that insulin resistance (and the resulting regional fatness) can be mitigated with certain types of training. With careful planning and workout progressions, you can start to whittle away at your love handles and lower back fat while you increase insulin sensitivity.



While this knowledge alone can arm you for combat and allow you to get incredible fat loss results, there are even more specific information that you can use to take your results to the next level.

These tactics and strategies are based in science so new and so radical that it may seem pretty “out there”–but it’s in fact is the kind of cutting edge science I live for. That’s why I’ve laid it all out in the next part of this post, “How to Fight Bad Hormones With Good Hormones” – check it out here!

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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  • pranav

    how long is the short intense training sessions supposed to be? 10 mins? or 30 mins?

  • Molly

    I have the FLF program so…do I need to get FPFL or are the workouts on FLF the same thing?

  • George

    Hey Andrew or John

    What kind of diet were you on during this.  I have an active life style where I travel for work a lot and I have to eat on the road.  I still hit the gym everyday.  I did drop 3% BF during this program and still cant lose the last few inches on my waist but everywhere else is ripped.


  • Well Awesome job Roman I appreciate that and I think your All the Programs are Great and I like that the way as you guys are running anyhow I don’t know why your FPFL link in the post isn’t working properly.

  • Sam

    This looks promising. I never know that stress and emotions can make you fat. I think opposite though.

  • Keith

    I’m in love with you bud..but hey No peanut Butter, stuff is poison

  • AH

    Hi Roman, can you only use the FPFL programme as a final phase or can it be used when one is just starting out?  I have not been in the gym for 3 months, been very bad on the nutrition side too, so need to get started again… which programme is the best to start on?

  • Quinn Carissa

    I was wondering where is hot rox on the nsupps link from fpfl ? Is it not so good? Thanks !

  • Jan

    Does your programme work on us oldies who want to get trim and fit ?????????

  • KH

    Hi Roman,  If I’m looking to lose ~10 lb of fat from my lower body (I’m a girl), and I can only afford one of your programs, would you recommend FPFL or Fat Loss Forever program?  Thanks! 

    • KH

      oops, that’s ~10 lb total (but I do tend to store more fat in my lower body)

  • Laurie

    My apologies for most recent post. Was reading all the materials from Roman, had several of his Blogs open on my computer and hit post for the wrong blog. Last comment was related to why I NEEDED his new Fat Loss Forever program and why it would be such a good fit for me.  Still all true, just in the wrong place!! All the posts/comments here are great too for getting my learning curve even further along. Thanks for all the insights everyone and especially Roman!!

    • Scott

       Laurie (Roman? anyone!?), can you please point me to the FLF blog.  I had my first workout today and have been playing with IF for a couple of weeks.  So far so good – though the first density workout kicked my butt!

      Anyway, I love Roman’s programs and writing style, but, am a newbie to his site and can’t find the FLF BLOG.


  • Laurie

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    Hi Dan & Roman,

    Love your material. Posted just a little while ago stating
    why I would like/need a copy of FLF.  Besides those reasons of wanting and
    needing to try it firsthand so I can share, recommend to others from personal
    success…. I NEED it to fight the Battle of the Belly Bulge. Can lose
    everything but and your lessons have helped me start to realize why. The
    missing pieces to the puzzle to put it altogether.  The hormonal balance
    or imbalances, how they happen, what to do in general. But now I NEED the SPECIFICS
    on how to actually put it all together for success in losing the Belly
    Bulge! To become healthier, to do it the right way. I have gone along with
    the frequent meals/snacks concepts (or misconcepts) of it supposedly helping
    increase the metabolism and now can see how off that is. I have a great desire
    and need to learn more.  To put it
    into action asap. This is the perfect fit for me because I feel my belly bulge
    is definitely a hormonal imbalance program and want to learn even more about
    leptin, cortisol, gherlin, insulin, estrogen, intermittent fasting, etc. I want
    and NEED ALL the details that you’ve
    enticed and fascinated me with in all your posts and reports so far.  I WANT and NEED MORE!!!  Especially of your program that has NO
    weaknesses, that has been tested out so well.



  • gloria

    I have our 20 year college get together coming up in 2 months and I have to look my absolute best.  I need this program right now….

  • With me, massaging problems areas after workout helps. However, when you stop it the fat comes back. Will your program address this problem?

  • 0732926664

    Heya Roman I wanted to know  if the FPFL could be used to help target
    weaker body parts to grow while eliminating fat from other  areas of the body , I am not sure if I should
    get as lean as possible (low body fat 6-8%) and then eat in surplus  and change programs to add some lean mass to
    weaker parts  while not going over 10 -13
    % body fat

  • Bjbeetlebabe

    I am also a trainer and have been working in the fitness field for 30 years. I am female, menopausal and “desperate” for something outside of what I have already been doing to help get rid of the 30+ lbs that have “overnight” attached themselves to my body. I am not taking any HRTs, just supplements, but stress level is high with work, 2 kids with college tuition, 1 more to go in another year, death of parents, etc etc etc. Let me know if you believe your program will work for me. THANKS!

  • JohnP


    Love all your stuff, I just finished a few weeks of BodyComp Blitz and am just starting week 2 of FPFL. It’s a fantastic program and I recommend it highly even though it’s kicking my ass! I have never seen myself get noticeably leaner in a weeks time  before now. 

    One quick question. In addition to FPFL, I have currently been experimenting with various IF protocols for my diet, based on studying all of the information out there from you and others. What I’m currently doing incorporates a Cheat Day with a 36-hour fast the following day, once a week (Sun/Mon). In FPFL, you have listed a 4-day a week “rotating” schedule as being “optimal”. Instead of sticking to the rotating schedule, I am doing each week’s Density Training session on my Cheat Day (Sun), with the corresponding Lactic Acid session the following day (Mon) during the fast. I then have the Dynamic session on Wed and Strength on Fri, with both days being a 16/8 IF (Wed is moderate carb, Fri is low carb). I’m still tweaking it, I am planning to get my HIIT (bike) session in on Monday evenings and (depending on how my joints hold up) a cardio-style barbell complex session on one of the off days.

    I know you mention in FPFL that having a dynamic/rotating schedule is optimal in your opinion, but I feel like scheduling the workouts to correspond optimally to the diet cycle is probably worth doing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Thanks in advance!

  • Dustin

       Just read FPFL and plan on starting in about a week…Unless I missed something, I didn’t see anything on building a diet (other than BBD) and proper timing of recommended supplements…any advice on this?

  • Loved the lactic acid and density training the most.  It was a fun program to do.  I recommend it.  I followed Roman’s suggested tweak–fast day plus lactic acid training.  Some of the most productive workouts I’ve had.  

    Now I’m doing Occam’s Protocol from the 4 Hour Body.  After the 5-workout-a-day of FPFL, working out twice a week is insanely weird.  The Lactic Acid training was nice preparation for the 5 up/5 down in Occam’s.  

  • PTS, Ex Nutr Consultant

    You wrote: “The degree to which you are able to process and respond to glucose (sugar) in your body is called insulin sensitivity. The higher this is, the easier and more efficiently your body utilizes carbohydrates for energy, and the less likely you are to store carbs as fat.”  
    This is more or less false.Insulin is a “storage stimulating” hormone. When you become insulin resistant, more glucose stays in your blood and does not get stored as efficiently either as glycogen or fat. High blood sugar [chronic] leads to CVD and Diabetes. What causes Insulin resistance syndrome?  Being obese, hormone imbalances, aging, lack of exercise, high levels of inflammation[via diet or stress,etc] and a diet excessive in carbohydrates. 

  • Butch

    Hey Roman,
    I need to ask a question you’ve likely answerned again and again.  Does FPFL work well for those with quite a bit of fat to lose as opposed to “those last 10-15 pounds”?  More specifically I’ve done a lot of popular workout programs (both at the gym and at home) and have no problem putting on mucle.  While my diet isnt always perfect, it is light years better than it used to be.  I have enough muscle to be a ripped 245 pounds (I’m 6’4″).  The problem is I am 290.  Despite having a solid muscle foundation I carry those extra 45 lbs of fatty nastiness on my chest and gut and I can’t seem to do anything about it.  Nothing ruins walking by the mirror more than the sight of man boobs!  My last hope is possibly some kind of hormone manipulation thru exercise.  What do you think? 

  • eric c.

    Roman, what about the diet aspect of the workout?? Do you address that anywhere?? Would this not be one of the most important part of this program?? I admit im very interested in what you offer but i need more clarity.

    • Nutrition is addressed in some of the add ons.  But, this is a workout program, and can be done alongside any diet you like.

  • Suneet_SFS

    Hey Roman….

    Is this your theory or does it have some scientific evidence to back it up?

    If so then please post it here

    •  Hi Suneet,

      It is my theory, formulated from looking at scientific evidence.  My single method–that is, the FPFL program–has not been tested in clinical settings, obviously. 

  • eric c.

    John please answer me this: By doing this program will i lose muscle weight as well?? or will just target fat? I work very hard to put on muscle and I dont want it to melt away like the last time i tryed to get ripped like a unicorn! please let me know.


    • Eric. I actually gained muscle as 1 day a week is devoted to heavy strength training to prevent muscle loss

      • eric c.

        How do you do a proper strength training for your whole body in just one day?

    • For strength, it’s a full body circuit done with heavy weight – usually 5 exercises, all compound

      • Tenz

        what type of exercise we have to do ???

  • Fondais

    The link worked for me

  • Fondais

    How does this help a medically disabled person, if at all?

    •  Hi Fondais,

      It really wouldn’t and could perhaps be unsafe, depending on the disability. You’d need to check with your doctor.

      • Safway Com Bd

        what type of exercise we have to do ???

  • Hi Guys if you are looking to look freking awesome, I cant recommend this program enough.

    In 8 weeks I  17.5%BF TO 8%bf

    • Paul D

      Andrew, saw your facebook photos, 8% body fat, your shitting me right, I estimate I am at 13% and look a lot fucking leaner than you bro.

      • Tuco

        busted lol

      • I’m not sure what FB pictures you’re looking at–perhaps they’re old–but Andrew is pretty damn lean right now. 

        Regarding being 8%, I rarely trust measurements that I don’t take myself, he’s MUCH leaner than when he started. 

        Also: watch your tone a bit. Critical is fine, being mean is not. And you’re toeing the line.

        Rules is rules =)

      • Hey Paul, fair point, not by best pics on FB, but post FPFL where all in the mirror so they are all pretty douchy (even by Jersey Shore standards) 

        Also i was using a electronic measure so number were a ballpark rather than exact 

      • Paul D

        ok Andrew, i see a real difference there, congratulations and apologies. 

    • Paul D

      sorry dude, real difference is evident, eating a lot of crow, a lot

  • Mark

    I think all of your programs are awesome.  I have FPFL, Superhero, and Body Comp Blitz.  FPFL definitely helps you get ripped.  I have trained all different kinds of ways: traditional weight lifting, MMA training (with professional MMA fighters), long steady-state cardio, HIIT, cross-fit.  You name it, and I’ve done it.  But I think that your training programs are more effective and efficient than all of these at body transformation (i.e., burning fat and building muscle).  I’m currently in week 3 of the Body Comp Blitz, and when I finish that I’m going to do the FPFL program again.  Keep creating these great workout programs.  They kick ass.

  • Jordan

    Hey Roman… the link to FPFL in your post doesn’t work…?