One of the areas of the body that people are often most self-conscious about is their middle – either their belly and/or their hips.
The buildup of fat in this area is generally referred to as 'love handles'. Love handles can be stubborn and difficult to get rid of, but once you do then you will feel a lot more confident in yourself, and you will notice that your clothes fit better.
But how do you get rid of love handles? Which exercises are best to help you lose that stubborn fat around your middle?
We have put together this useful guide to tell you everything you need to know about exercising to get rid of your love handles. Keep reading to find out more.
What Are Love Handles?
Love handles is a phrase that is typically used to refer to the fat that builds up around the abdomen, hips and waist. But why are they there?
If you are consuming more calories than you are using, then your body will need to find somewhere to store the excess fat cells.
These fat cells can accumulate anywhere on your body, but the hips and abdomen are one of the main places that people carry excess weight – especially women!
There are many reasons for this, but it is mainly due to hormones, age, a lack of exercise, and a diet that is high in saturated fat and sugar.
How Can You Get Rid Of Love Handles?
If love handles are caused by consuming more calories than you burn, there are two obvious ways to get rid of your love handles. You can either consume fewer calories, or burn more calories.
The most effective method is to do both at the same time by balancing a healthy diet with a regular exercise routine.
When it comes to your diet, you should be aiming for a balanced diet with plenty of protein and not too much fat.
A fat diet will give you a lower body fat percentage and an overall leaner physique. With your exercise, you should be doing things that burn fat.
This could be cardio, weight and strength training, resistance training, and anything else that burns calories and fat.
If you want to tone your abdominal muscles then there are plenty of movements that you can do, but you need to combine them with fat-burning exercises in order to lose the love handles.
First, let's take a look at the best cardio exercises for burning fat. This will help you to get rid of the excess fat that has accumulated around your abdomen and hips to cause the love handles.
Sprinting is one of the best exercises that you can do to burn fat. It elevates your heart rate quickly and uses explosive power from your muscles.
To begin with, you won't be able to sprint for very long, and you will need to take rests in between. The shorter the rest, the harder your body will work and the faster you will burn fat.
You can sprint on flat paths, up hills, on the treadmill, up the stairs, or on a track. You don't need a lot of space as you can sprint back and forth across a small area.
Make sure you stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, and warm up and cool down with a good stretching routine to help prevent injuries.
High Intensity Interval Training
High intensity interval training, or HIIT, is another great way to burn fat. It is a style of exercise which combines several movements into a workout routine.
The movements are dynamic, often involving jumping and using your body weight as resistance. You complete a certain number of repetitions, then move onto the next exercise. At the end of the round you take a short break, and then you begin again.
There are lots of video tutorials available online for HIIT workouts, or there are classes available at various gyms,
If you have a rowing machine or there is one at your gym then you have the perfect equipment for a fat burning workout. Rowing is gentle on your joints but still provides an all over body workout that will help you to tone your muscles and build up your fitness.
You can change the resistance to suit your fitness level and go at your own pace, but the more speed you build up the more you will sweat and the faster you will lose weight.
Swimming is another all over body workout that is ideal for burning fat. The resistance of the water against your muscles as you push yourself through the water forces you to work hard, elevating your heart rate. It also helps to tone your muscles.
Swimming is great for core strength, as you use your abdominal muscles to support the weight of your body in the water.
There are lots of different kinds of strokes that you can do that will target different muscle groups. You can also have a go at pool running.
Whether you use an indoor bike or an outdoor bike, cycling is a great exercise to help you burn fat and lose the love handles.
You use your legs to push the pedals and gain momentum, you engage your core to keep your body in the right position and to help bring up your knees as you pedal, and you use your upper body to hold the handlebars.
Your heart will have to pump faster to make sure that blood reaches all of these different muscle groups, giving you a great workout.
You can increase or decrease the resistance to customize the workout, and you can build up as much or as little speed as you want to.
You will be surprised at how many muscles you use to keep yourself stable on the bike, as it requires a lot of balance.
You might think that jump rope is just an activity for children, but it is also very beneficial for adults as well. Boxers and fighters use jump rope exercises to increase their stamina and help them to stay in shape.
Jump rope will help you to build strong muscles in your calves and your forearms, as well as getting your heart rate up and making you sweat.
This will burn lots of fat and help you to lose weight quickly. You can jump rope to music to help give you motivation and keep your timing. All you need for this simple exercise is a jump rope and some space.
Now that you know what exercises you need to do to burn the excess fat that makes up your love handles, you need to do some exercises to tone up your abdomen. This will help you to get a trim shape.
There aren't many exercises that are better for toning up your abdomen than sit-ups. Start by lying on your back with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your ears with your elbows bent and pointing forwards.
Engage your core, and bring your chin to your knees. Make sure you are using your core muscles and not your neck or your back.
Bicycle crunches work lots of different muscles in your abdomen. You need to make sure that you complete them in a slow and controlled manner to get the maximum benefit.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head, the same as you would for a sit-up. Engage your abdominal muscles and lift your head and shoulders off the floor, whilst also lifting your feet off the ground.
Keep your knees bent, and slowly rotate your body so that your left elbow points to your right knee, extending the left leg, so it is straight. From this position, rotate your body the other way so that your right elbow points towards your left knee and your right leg is stretched straight out.
Repeat this as many times as you can, maintaining control over your muscles and keeping the right form.
Side planks are a challenging exercise, but they work really well for toning up the muscles down the side of your abdomen, making your waist narrower.
Lie on your left side, using your left arm to keep you propped up. Make sure your body is aligned – elbow in line with shoulder and forearm flat on the ground at a 90-degree angle to your body. Stack one leg on top of the other.
Keep your left knee in contact with the ground and raise your right hip so that it points into the air. Hold this position for around 30 seconds, using your glutes to support you. Then repeat this on the other side.
Love handles can be stubborn areas of fat that are difficult to get rid of. In order to get rid of your handles you should do a combination of cardio and muscle toning exercises.