How to Lose Love Handles When All Else Fails

Once you reach a certain age, you begin to notice that love handles are as common in your age group as earthworms on a rainy day sidewalk. This is especially true for men, who genetically have a greater tendency to store fat in both the love handles and front belly than women do.

If you’re obsessed with fixing this, good; the benefits of losing your love handles and reducing fat in the belly go beyond vanity. When you begin to lose love handles and belly fat it also means that you’re reducing the risk of problems like diabetes and heart disease. These are evils that abdominal fat brings that make it a direr problem than fat on the thighs and hips.

The question is: How to lose love handles and excess belly fat that seems to have taken up permanent residence?

Unfortunately, you can’t simply do a number of targeted exercises each day and expect to lose your love handles. If you don’t believe this, think about it this way: How many people have you met in your life that have fat thighs, butts, chins, and flabby arms, but perfectly toned love handles? Such a creature doesn’t exist, at least not in this world.

For many people, the abdominal area is the first place fat is stored, and therefore the last place it will leave. This is the reason the desire to lose love handles is such a common and frustrating problem. This article will make you smarter as to how to lose the love handles naturally, so you don’t waste time walking the path to frustration, as so many others do.

You may have already heard before that targeted exercises (spot reduction) don’t work. This applies to the love handles, belly, hips, thighs and any other single region of the body. Now I’m going to tell you exactly why.

The way fat-burning works is that when you begin to burn fat from your body, it’s only after burning off glycogen stores first. Glycogen is the storage of carbohydrates built up in the body, and it’s only after these are depleted that the fat stores will begin to be used as energy. This is why aerobic exercise is always touted as the number one essential to lose fat. 10 minutes of continuous exercise will not get you beyond those glycogen stores. You need to hit the 20-minute mark and beyond for this to happen.

Exercises like crunches, on the other hand, are anaerobic. They do not allow you to expend continuous energy for such a prolonged period of time. They will build the muscle underneath, but not adequately burn the fat that makes up the love handles and ‘beer belly’ so that those muscles are visible.

This does not mean that resistance training (muscle-building) exercises are useless, even at the beginning. It’s a good idea to target this area to keep your mind on your ultimate goal. Just expect that you need to do more direct fat-burning exercise in addition. If you do both, you will find yourself at a place where you begin to see the muscle that you’ve built as the fat-laden love handles burn away.

The other reason that resistance training exercises are useful to you is that when you build muscle, you increase your metabolism, which allows you to burn more calories at rest. It would be a good idea to include exercises targeting the love handles into a broader weight-training program.

One of the most effective of the targeted love handle exercises that you can start right now and do anywhere is the Twist Crunch. Besides engaging the love handles, this exercise also warms up the spine, which helps to relieve stress. It is done by lying on the floor, feet hip-width apart. Place your head in your hands, bring your elbows in slightly, and as you exhale bring your head, neck and shoulders up and towards the left. Hold for a few seconds, and move back to start. Do the same to the right side, and alternate until the point of muscle failure.

Exercises such as these should be part of a broader weight training schedule as you persist in shedding the love handles. Get a hold of some free weights and spend a 20 to 30 minutes a day for 2 or 3 days a week doing sets of lunges, squats, presses, etc to increase lean body mass and get that metabolism roaring.

When starting an aerobic exercise plan, the most effective are generally running and spinning, but ultimately what’s going to work best is a method that both burns fat effectively and is enjoyable for you. Elliptical machines, stationary bikes, cross-country ski machines, rowing machines, stair climbers, treadmills are all effective methods of gaining aerobic benefits. If you aren’t able to join a gym, jogging and swimming may still be options open to, or you may find a more enjoyable means at a local community center, such as a Jazzercise or Tae Bo class.

Finally, it’s crucial to head more incoming fat off at the pass by not letting it, uh, come in. This means minimizing foods like chips, ice cream, pastries and meats that are loaded with saturated fat and replacing them with lean proteins (like fish and chicken), complex carbohydrates (vegetables, whole wheat breads, oatmeal, potatoes, yams) and unsaturated fats, such as are present in nuts, fish, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados.

If you want to lose your love handles, there is little choice but to follow the above principles, and you can either resist this and get minimal results or take comfort in the idea that you now have a clear goal in front of you that gives you a bit more of a reason to get up in the morning.

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