How To Get Rid of Love Handles
Many of us store fat in what is colloquially called our “love handles.” These fleshy fat deposits can sometimes cause the body to look disproportionate, or create the unwanted illusion of a “muffin top.” Not only are love handles hard to get rid of, but they are also often the first to come back when gaining weight.
Most advice on losing the love handles revolves around core exercise -which IS important- but diet also plays a major role. For those who primarily store fat around their belly and sides, a healthy diet is a key to getting rid of the handles for good. Here are three tips that should help shed side fat and tone your body
Work the Obliques: The internal and external oblique muscles are located on the sides of the rectus abdominis (more commonly known as the “six-pack”) and allow lateral motions of the trunk of the body. The specificity principle of exercise states that muscle groups recruited for an exercise will get stronger and develop training adaptations. Therefore, exercises that work out the whole body but that also engage the obliques might help tone the area and improve its appearance.
An added benefit is that oblique exercises will strengthen other core muscles that help the lumbar spine support the weight of the upper body. This will better posture and lower the incidence of low back pain from a weak core.
Up your Cardio: Losing overall body fat is important to get rid of the love handles. Cardio exercises like running, swimming, and biking recruit large muscle groups- this will shed fat all throughout the body. Certain exercise machines such as vasper are engineered to condense the benefits of an hour’s worth of a full-body cardio workout into short 20 minute sessions.
Larger muscle groups consume more energy as they are in charge of moving big parts of the body (gross-motor movement). Examples of large muscle groups include the biceps, triceps, glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. These large muscle groups are used extensively for cardio exercises.
Strengthening muscles throughout the body will promote muscle balance and lower the risk of mechanical dysfunctions in the future. Furthermore, cardio exercises like running also recruit core muscles to keep the body upright and moving.
Watch Your Carbs!: Nowadays simple carbohydrates are found in everything. Examples include white rice, pasta, potatoes, bread, sugary cereals, tortillas, chips, and the list goes on. Why is this important? It is very easy to consume a large number of simple carbohydrates (including sugar) without even knowing. Keeping an eye out for high carb food will help lower energy storage (fat) in the body and lead to better results.
This is especially important for those who immediately store fat in their love handles when gaining weight. When simple carbs are digested, there is a spike in blood glucose and insulin that will lead to its deposition in body tissues like fat and glycogen.
The key here is to focus on foods that are high in fiber and that take longer to digest. These foods will lead to a steadier glucose and insulin release that will keep us feeling fuller for longer and give us time to use the energy we just consumed. Examples include fruits, vegetables, and protein-rich foods like meats and nuts. While it is recommended to cut limit carbohydrate intake, it is not wise to try and completely cut them out altogether. Even the healthiest of foods contain carbs, so consult a nutritionist before embarking on a drastic change in diet!
- “Can a Low-Carb Diet Help You Lose Weight?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 29 Aug. 2017, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831.