FUPA is the slang term for belly fat, with the acronym standing for “fat upper pubic area.” Some people may find fat around the belly the most difficult type of fat to lose.
The scientific word for FUPA is panniculus, which refers to a growth of dense, fatty tissue on the lower abdomen that sometimes hangs over the pubis and genitals.
This article explains what FUPA is, what causes it, and how a person can reduce it.
It is not possible to lose weight only in one area of the body. No exercise or diet will have this effect. As a person loses weight, it will reduce fairly proportionally all over the body.
However, certain exercises and dietary changes can help a person reduce body fat.
If a person wants to reduce fat in the upper pubic area specifically, they can consider a surgical or nonsurgical procedure.
Workouts targeting the lower abdominal muscles (abs) will help work and strengthen the deeper core muscles.
Below are some exercises that focus on and strengthen the lower abs.
People may initially find this position challenging, but with practice, they can extend the length of time they hold this pose.
- Start on all fours in the tabletop posture, with the wrists directly under the shoulders and the knees under the hips.
- Straighten the legs back behind, one leg at a time.
- While holding the posture, actively press away from the floor, drawing the shoulders away from the ears and down the back. Pull the lower belly toward the spine while adding a slight pelvic tilt to brace the core.
- Hold this pose for 30 seconds or longer, if possible.
People new to abs exercises may wish to start by performing this move with one leg at a time.
- Lie on the floor with the arms extended by the sides and the legs up over the hips, with the feet pointing toward the ceiling.
- Draw the navel in toward the spine and press the lower back down into the floor.
- Slowly lower both legs down toward the ground, stopping once the lower back begins to lift away from the floor.
- From there, slowly lift the legs back up toward the ceiling.
This exercise also requires an exercise ball.
- Set up in high plank with the tops of the feet on the exercise ball.
- Bend and pull the knees in toward the chest, dragging the ball across the floor. Focus on drawing the lower belly in toward the spine.
- Slowly extend the legs back out to plank position.
- Repeat 10 times.
The hundred is a classic Pilates exercise.
- Start by lying flat on the back.
- Lift the chin to the chest and feel the lower abs engage. Put the arms straight at the sides, locking the elbows.
- Raise the legs to a 45-degree angle. Move the arms up and down while holding the legs out. Remember to keep breathing in and out.
- Aim to move the arms up and down a total of 100 times.
Those who find this too challenging can try the bent-knee version instead:
- Lie flat on the back with the arms down by the sides.
- Curl up the head, neck, and shoulders and lift the arms off the floor.
- Bend the knees, keeping the 45-degree angle of the thighs but holding the shins parallel to the ground.
- Begin to vigorously move the arms up and down 100 times while taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on drawing the navel in toward the spine.
A person will need an exercise ball to perform pike rollouts. These are available to use in many gyms.
- Set up in a high plank with the tops of the feet on an exercise ball.
- Pull the lower belly in while lifting the hips toward the ceiling, positioning them above the shoulders.
- Slowly lower back down to plank position.
- Aim for 10 repetitions.
Performing this exercise might be more comfortable on an exercise mat.
- Start by lying flat on the back with the legs extended and pressed together and the arms by the sides.
- Bring the feet over the hips, pointing them to the ceiling.
- Using only the abs, lift the butt and hips an inch off the ground, pressing into the arms and hands for stability if necessary.
- Repeat as many times as possible in 30 seconds.
People can take other steps to reduce their body fat, including the FUPA.
There are many myths about cardio for fat burning.
Others state that a moderate cardio level that someone can sustain for longer periods will keep them in the fat-burn zone.
However, most research in this area has shown that exercise type does not have a significant effect on fat loss.
In a 2017 study comparing HIIT with moderate intensity training, all of the participants lost weight, but the difference was negligible between the two exercise groups.
As there may be little difference between the fat burning capabilities of different types of exercise, a person should choose the cardio exercise that they most enjoy. Options include walking briskly, running, cycling, and joining a group exercise class, among many others.
A common saying states that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.
Losing the FUPA is the same. Even those who start working out intensely and regularly will likely also need to change their diet to see a significant difference in their belly.
If a person cuts 500–1,000 calories a day from their typical diet, they may lose about 1–2 pounds (lb) a week. Eating healthful foods, such as nuts, lean protein, and vegetables, while avoiding sugary or processed foods will make it easier to create a calorie deficit.
The only way to remove fat from a specific area of the body is with a medical procedure. These can be surgical or noninvasive.
These medical procedures do not require any surgery, anesthesia, or recovery time.
CoolSculpting is one such option. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have approved this method, which uses ultracold temperatures to freeze fat cells through the skin. The freezing destroys the cells, which the body removes in the urine over the next few weeks.
CoolSculpting might be a good option for those looking to tighten and tone small pockets of fat.
Surgical procedures will produce more dramatic and rapid results in a specific area of the body.
Some surgical options to reduce the FUPA include:
Having a moderate amount of fat in the upper pubic area is normal and natural, despite what popular culture may sometimes suggest.
Fat in this area may develop during puberty as a natural part of body growth. Female bodies generally have a higher percentage of body fat than male bodies and distribute a greater proportion of it around the hip area.
Several factors can cause a FUPA to increase in size, including weight gain and body fat distribution changes.
Aging and increased visceral fat
As a person ages, it is common for the body to start holding more fat around the stomach than in other areas of the body. Certain life changes, such as menopause, are associated with weight gain and changes in body fat distribution.
Adults in the United States gain an average of 1–2 lb of body weight per year. This rate of weight gain may lead people to develop overweight or obesity as they age. Obesity comes with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, among other health conditions.
People can classify belly fat as either subcutaneous or visceral, depending on where the body stores it. Subcutaneous fat sits right under the skin all over the body, and a person can pinch it. Meanwhile, visceral fat is located in the abdominal cavity between the organs.
Studies have linked visceral fat to an increased risk of several diseases. This fat releases more detrimental hormones and proteins into the body than fat elsewhere. These substances can trigger low level inflammation, which is a risk factor for heart disease, and cause blood vessels to constrict and blood pressure to rise.
In a FUPA, the fat is just under the skin, so it is subcutaneous fat rather than harmful visceral fat. However, developing a larger FUPA may indicate general weight gain, which could include visceral fat. The presence of visceral fat may also cause the lower belly area to protrude, making a FUPA appear more prominent.
It is important to accept that the body will naturally change with age. However, people should be aware of these changes and, if necessary, make adjustments to their diet and exercise to avoid the health risks associated with excess weight gain.
The FUPA is an accumulation of fat right above the pubic bone.
The best way to lose it is to focus on losing weight across the body as a whole by consuming a healthful diet and increasing cardio workouts to create an overall calorie deficit.
While it is not possible to lose weight only in a specific area, there are ways to strengthen certain parts of the body with exercise. Lower abdominal exercises will help tighten and tone the area above the pubis.
People who only want to remove fat from their lower abdomen can consider a few surgical and nonsurgical procedures.