Grossly misnamed, love handles are those areas of fat on the side of the stomach. If you have them, you most definitely do not love them, especially during the summer months when you want to show off a tight, flat tummy. Fortunately, it is possible to get rid of this unsightly fat. Here is how to get rid of love handles.
It will not happen overnight. The first step is to shed some of your excess fat. Contrary to popular belief, there are no special exercises for love handles that will target only the fat found there. You are going to have to eat healthy and exercise to do that. Then you can use targeted strength training to tone those lateral abdominal muscles that will be visible after the fat is gone. These are all part of the three step love handle busting formula that will get your abs into swimsuit-ready condition.
Step 1: Eat Healthy, Well-Balanced Meals
Do not think of this step as “going on a diet.” You should think of it as changing the way you eat to gain a lifetime of health. Not only will you lose weight and keep it off, but you will also find you have more energy and feel better than you have in years.
- Drink plenty of water. Not only will it create a feeling of fullness, but it also helps flush out toxins built up in your body.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables.
- Eat fruits instead of sugary snacks. Instead of reaching for a candy bar between meals, try eating an apple or orange. The sweet taste will curb your craving. It will also give you a healthy energy boost full of vitamins and minerals.
Step 2: Burn Calories with Cardiovascular Exercises
Cardiovascular exercises are beneficial to your body in so many ways. Not only do they burn calories, but they also strengthen your heart and lungs. They also help strengthen the muscles and joints. And another added bonus is the release of endorphins, those natural feel-good hormones that make you feel happy and pumped-up for hours.
There are many different cardiovascular exercises. The following are a few suggestions, although this not an exhaustive list.
- Walking or running for 20 minutes or more
- Aerobic DVDs
- Playing sports such as basketball or softball
Step 3: Strength Train With Love Handle Exercises
Now that you have lost some of the fat, its time to sculpt those muscles into a tummy worth showing off. While there are many love handle workouts available online and on DVD, below are a few exercises that will help you get started on toning and firming your stomach.
- Bicycle crunches – Lie on your back and lift your legs off the floor. Pretend you are riding a bicycle in the air, while alternating your elbows to alternate knees. Perform this exercise for 30 seconds to start. This exercise strengthens the entire abdominal region, but most especially the lateral muscles.
- Swimming on land – Lie on your stomach and lift your legs and arms off the floor. Flutter both as if your were swimming. Perform this exercise for 30 seconds to start. This exercise strengthens the lateral and back muscles.
- Side bends – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly move your arm down one side, bending deliberately at your waist. Then, slowly move back up. Add a 3- or 5-pound weight to add more resistance, increasing the weight once it becomes too easy. Perform this exercise for 15 repetitions for each side, repeating one more time to start. This exercise strengthens the lateral muscles.
By incorporating a healthy diet, cardio and strength training, you rid yourself of those unattractive love handles. With a little hard work, you can have a tummy that will be turning heads this summer.