It’s a love-hate relationship. Or a hate-love relationship. We hate our love handles! That extra stomach fat can crop up seemingly out of nowhere, especially if you’ve just had kids or are dealing with menopause. And while you may spend a moment or two analyzing how those love handles got there, you probably spend more time trying to get rid of them. Fortunately, there are plenty of practical things you can do to get rid of belly fat, including the five exercises below. Before we get to the Lose Your Love Handles workout though, let’s run through a few other ways to get rid of extra belly fat.
What Causes Love Handles?
Those extra little pockets that spill out over the waistline of your jeans have been creatively named everything from “love handles” to “muffin-top” or even the lovely title of “spare tire.” Use any clever name you like, it all boils down to one thing: body fat. And, like any other fat (whether on your belly, butt or the back of your arms) you’ll have to deal with it in a holistic way. You can’t “blast it off” with 1000 crunches a day or “melt” it off with a special exercise machine. Body fat removal is a process. On the other hand, strengthening and tightening the specific places that are giving you a hard time is definitely possible, practical and a smart thing to do in addition to losing the fat. So let’s take a look at what you CAN do.
How To Get Rid Of Love Handles
Since Love Handles are made up of basic body fat, don’t pay attention to fad diets, extreme cleanses, or any contraption that promises “6-pack abs” by Sunday. There are plenty of practical ways to burn belly fat that actually work! If you’re hoping to break up with your love handles, make sure that in addition to the workout below you’re also doing these things:
- Get Enough Sleep. When you’re overly tired, you’re more likely to reach for sugary snacks and extra calories to keep you going. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Manage Stress. If you’re always stressed out, there’s a chance stress is contributing to your belly fat. When chronically high levels of cortisol exist in your body, it can increase the amount of visceral fat your body stores—i.e, belly fat. We can’t get rid of stress altogether, but using meditation, yoga, and other relaxation techniques can help you manage your body’s response to it.
- Eat Clean. Your diet matters just as much as what workouts you do when it comes to losing the love handles. Be sure you’re eating nutritious, well-balanced meals that are full of vegetables, protein, and a few complex carbs. If you’re lost on where to start, check out Get Started with Clean Eating.
- Get Your Cardio In. The CDC recommends you get 150 minutes of heart-pumping cardio per week, and I agree! If you want to lose or maintain weight, you’ll need to do cardio in addition to the toning exercises listed below.
- Train Your Whole Core. The love handles might seem to sit off to the side but training your entire core will best results for a tight tummy. While your body sheds lose the fat through the aforementioned clean eating and cardio, the following moves will tighten and strengthen the area around the middle for those REAL RESULTS we’re talking about!
Lose The Love Handles With These 5 Moves
Alright, now that you know the whole picture to whittling your middle, the last part of the equation is this Lose The Love Handles workout! These five toning exercises specifically target the love handles and will have you feeling the burn! Combine this workout with the advice above and you’ll watch those love handles “waist” away.
Each exercise has a number of reps listed. Go through the five exercises as instructed, rest one minute, and repeat the list two more times. Try this workout three times a week for best results! (note: if you don’t have a medicine ball, a dumbbell or other weighted item will work)
Medicine Ball High To Low Chop
A) Stand with feet hip width apart holding ball in two hands up over right shoulder.
B) Bend knees and lower body into squat position as you pull the ball down toward left ankle.
C) As you stand back up, reach the ball back up over right shoulder. Repeat for desired number of repetitions and switch sides.
Perform 12 reps on each side.
A) Start seated with knees bent and feet flat on the floor and holding both hands in front of chest (a dumbbell is optional). Keeping the spine long and the abdominals tight, lean back slightly and lift the feet a few inches off the floor. (To modify, keep the feet on the floor.)
B) Slowly twist the torso to the left and bring the hands beside the left hip. Return to center, and then slowly twist to the right and bring the hands beside the right hip to complete one rotation.
Complete 12 full rotations. (That’s 24 twists!)
Side Plank Lift and Lower
A) Come into a side forearm plank by lying in one long line on one side stacking your elbow under your shoulder and keeping your forearm on mat perpendicular to your body. Stack your feet and stay in one long line as you engage your core and lift your hips up forming a side forearm plank.
B) Dip your hips down towards the mat and lift back up using your obliques and core muscles.
Perform 12 times on the right side and 12 times on the left side.
A) Lie on your stomach with the legs and arms extended. Engage your abdominals so you feel your transverse abdominis contract.
B) Lift your arms and legs off the floor and keep your nose in a hover above the mat. Flutter your arms and legs, moving from the hips and shoulders (not the knees and elbows). Like your swimming. Inhale for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts.
Perform exercise for 30 seconds.
Oblique Crunch with Long Legs
A) Start lying on side in one long line, shoulder stacked over elbow and on forearm. Swing your legs forward and lean back on glutes slightly (like your sitting on the back pocket of your blue jeans) and lift legs off the mat on the diagonal, extend top arm long.
B) Contract your core as you reach your toes up to your hand. Then lower legs and lift arm to return to start. Remember to repeat on the other side.
Perform 12 per side.