For some, there’s no greater pinnacle of achievement than building a body worthy of being forever immortalized in Ancient Greece. Among the many challenges to obtaining that body, getting rid of those godforsaken love handles is one of the most frustrating. Not sure where the name came from, but I’m pretty sure no one has ever appreciated their partner grabbing their love handles as an act of intimacy.
Love handles are that stubborn region of fat just above the belt. They are composed of subcutaneous fat which sits between the skin and muscle. The good news is that they aren’t a health risk as opposed to the insidious visceral fat underneath the muscles which surround your organs. That type of fat can lead to all sorts of health issues. But if you’re determined to be rid of those pesky love handles once and for all, here’s a quick plan to get you started:
Don’t Overdo it on Cardio
Jogging will only get you so far. Steady-state cardio may be great for a cool-down, but it won’t do much to deflate your spare tire. In fact, cardio just turns you into a smaller version of yourself. A better option is interval training.
Pick your favorite cardio type (elliptical, cycling, jump rope) and start with 7 rounds of 30 seconds of sprinting, followed by 90 seconds of recovery. Just make those 30 seconds count. To paraphrase Britney: When it’s time to work, you better work, bitch.
Don’t Spot-Reduce Fat
Regardless of what you’ve heard before, it is physiologically impossible to lose fat in one specific area, whether it’s your belly or triceps. Therefore the only way to get rid of those love handles is to reduce your overall body fat.
The abdominals are a tiny muscle group and therefore burn small amounts of energy. Focus on larger muscle groups like legs and back which will burn more calories and help strip away the fat faster than any ab exercise will.
Create an Optical Illusion
Most folks don’t have enough muscle in the first place. Getting rid of love handles is a game of illusion. Muscles on your shoulder, back, and chest pull the focus away from excess fat lower on the body.
Try two to three full-body workouts per week with five exercises, each hitting a major muscle group: legs, chest, shoulders, back, and legs. No, that’s not a typo. Hit your legs twice because they are the largest muscle group and will burn the most calories.
Rethink Core Exercises
Ab exercises are generally a waste of time since most only work the muscles around your lower spine. Thus they only burn a small amount of energy.
Truth is that you’ll still work your core muscles while exercising every other part of your body. Abdominals are there to support so every time you lift a weight and need to keep your body from swinging, you’re also working your core.
If you are dead set on ab exercises, try ones that focus on spinal stability like planks, windmills or high-to-low chops. These moves not only engage your entire core but also translate into real-world activities.
The Best Diet EVER for Losing Your Love Handles
… is the one that you can stick to most days. Change doesn’t happen overnight so it’s important to remain consistent with whatever healthier choices you make. Reducing processed carbohydrates, eating more nuts, fruits and vegetables all while adding more protein are great goals. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you can regularly adhere to every day.