Let’s be honest… there’s not a whole lot to love about love handles. They don’t fit into your skinny jeans, and they can be pretty challenging to get rid of. Why, you ask? Since love handle fat sits on the side of the abdominal area, lots of people think that a typical ab workout will blast it away. This isn’t the case. Love handles lie on top of the obliques, which are a very specific group of abdominal muscles. In order to really work those suckers, you have to target them precisely.
Step 1. Eat lean. Eat clean.
Step 2. Add in a 30-minute cardio session every other day. If you’re feeling really hardcore, beef it up to 6 days a week. A Duke University study found that people who walked for about 30 minutes 6 days a week gained hardly any abdominal fat over an 8-month period.
Step 3. Try the following 10-minute love handle workout. It hits the obliques hard, while also working the rest of your core. Trust me, it’ll give those love handles a run for their money!
A 10-Minute Love Handle Workout
40 Woodchoppers (20 on each side)
“Using one hand weight, stand with your feet hip-width apart with your weight on your left leg. Start by holding the weight in both hands up by your left shoulder.
Next, twist to make a chopping motion down towards your right hip. Allow your feet and knees to pivot with the twist. Raise the weight back up to your left shoulder and repeat for 20 reps. Next, work your right side.“
50 Russian Twists
“Sit on your butt with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your torso should be leaning back at a 45 angle to the floor. Hold a dumbbell with both hands. Lift your feet from the ground, crossing them at the ankles and balancing on your butt. From this position, twist your torso to the right and touch your dumbbell to the ground next to your body.
Next, twist back over to the left touching the weight to the left side of your body. Repeat back and forth, all while balancing with your legs and torso raised off of the ground.”
30 Side Plank Hip Lifts (15 on each side)
“Get into side plank position with your elbow on the ground and your legs and hips resting on the ground. Engaging your abs and keeping your body in a straight line, raise the lower half of your body up off the ground into a straight plank position. Lower again and repeat. Do 15 on your right side, and then 15 on your left side.“
30 Bicycle Crunches
“Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Do not clasp your hands together. Engage your abs, lifting your shoulders and upper back off of the ground.
At the same time, move your right elbow toward your left knee so that they meet in the middle of your body. Next, switch your position by bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Continue as quickly as possible while still keeping your torso raised up off the ground.“
The Real Secret to Get Rid of Love Handles? Ditch Sugar
When 24 adults did seven abdominal exercises, five days a week for six weeks, they did not lose any belly fat, or fat anywhere on their bodies, for that matter. This is because about 80 percent of your ability to reduce excess body fat is determined by what you eat, with the other 20 percent related to fat-burning exercise and other healthy lifestyle habits.
If your diet is based on sugar/fructose and processed junk food, your chances of getting rid of your love handles in favor of flat, ripped abs are quite slim — even if you work out religiously. You simply will not see defined abs unless you reduce your overall body fat, and a poor diet will cause your body to hold on to excess fat, despite all your exercise efforts. Two of the most important dietary factors are:
- Reducing or eliminating sugar from your diet. This includes ALL forms of sugar and fructose, whether refined or “all-natural” such as agave or honey, as well as all grains (including organic ones), as they quickly break down to sugar in your body
- Increasing healthful fats in your diet, such as coconut oil and animal-based omega-3s
One of the most pernicious dietary influences on your weight loss goals is fructose, which hides in so many processed foods and beverages, it can be near impossible to avoid unless you alter your shopping and cooking habits. By avoiding processed foods in general, and focusing instead on whole, preferably locally grown organic foods, cooked at home, you can circumvent one of the greatest dietary obstacles there is today.
The good news is once you make the change, the cravings for the foods you have removed will fade away. This is especially true with intermittent fasting, which is one of the most profoundly effective ways to lose body fat. For more details, I suggest you review my optimized Nutrition Plan, which is a comprehensive and step-by-step guide to help you make health-promoting, fat-busting food and lifestyle choices.