How to lose love handles is a question that gets asked all the time. Love handles are the rolls of stored fat that reside on your sides, around your waistline. They are very common and much despised.
The first rule of how to lose love handles is that spot reducing won't work. Exercising the ab muscles under the fat will not burn the fat in that area. It won't happen with your love handles, or any other part of your body. Fat is only burned when you consume fewer calories than you're expending.
Here are the key components of how to lose love handles:
1) Eat a Healthy, Fat Burning Diet
Eating is a major part of how to lose love handles. Unless you're Michael Phelps or Lance Armstrong, there is no amount of exercise that can make up for horrible eating habits.
Protein should be the foundation of your diet for many reasons. 1) It builds muscle, and more muscle means more fat burning. 2) It keeps you feeling satisfied. You'll feel fuller faster, which will result in you eating less. 3) It's digestive cost is higher than for either carbs or fat. All foods take energy to process. It takes twice the calories to breakdown protein than carbs or fat.
Research has shown that animal protein builds muscle better than soy or vegetable protein does. So poultry, fish, and lean cuts of beef or pork are your best choices.
Other Fat Burning Diet Tips
Eat 5-6 small to medium meals a day, evenly spaced throughout the day.
Limit refined carbs, saturated fats, trans fat, and high fructose corn syrup.
Focus on eating protein, fiber, calcium, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Alcohol consumption should be limited to 2-3 drinks per week.
I recommend the Abs Diet for Men
and the Abs Diet for Women
to all my personal training clients. It teaches you how to eat to make your body burn fat furiously. The focus of the diet revolves around 12 Power foods that are among the best sources of protein, fiber, and all the other ingredients and nutrients that fight fat. You can also find the Abs Diet Online to get started immediately.
2) Build Muscle
Building muscle is another key component of how to lose love handles. Muscle is a fat burner. Every pound of muscle you add requires the body to burn 50 extra calories a day to maintain that muscle. Adding 7 pounds of muscle would result in you burning off an extra pound of fat every ten days without doing a thing. So the focus of your diet and exercise plans should be on building muscle. It doesn't have to be bulky, body-builder type muscle, unless that's what you want. With proper training you can build lean and toned muscle, not large, bulky muscles.
How to Build Lean Muscle
Do Whole Body Strength Training
The more muscle you have, the more fat you burn. That's the real key to how to lose love handles. Whole body strength training, focusing on your large muscle groups-- your legs, chest, back, and shoulders-- is the best way to build muscle. Working the large muscles also fires up your metabolism by creating a large afterburn...the amount of calories you burn after you finish working out. So you'll get maximum lean muscle building AND maximum afterburn by doing whole body strength training. It's win-win.
Your strength training should focus on compound movements-- exercises that use multiple joints and muscle groups. Exercises such as push ups, pull ups, dips, squats, lunges, step ups, dead lifts, etc., should be your focus. Don't spend time doing isolation movements that work only one muscle at a time. Train Movements, Not Muscles.
So your goal is to use exercises that hit as many different muscles and joints at the same time as possible. You can do all of this at home with little or no equipment. No gym required. Using Body Weight Training (see sample workout below from Turbulence Training) you can build strong, lean, fat burning muscle. That's how to lose love handles.
Pay special attention to where your largest muscles are: your legs. Working these large muscles will trigger the release of growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth throughout your entire body and kicks your fat burners into high gear. Studies have shown that leg exercises are the most important factor in total body strength. Believe it or not, the key to how to lose love handles comes through your legs.
Here's another shocker: The afterburn you get from Aerobics lasts only 30 to 60 minutes. The afterburn from strength training lasts up to 48 hours! So not only do you add new fat burning muscle from doing strength training, you'll burn more calories long after you finish your workout, compared to Aerobics.
Do Interval Training vs. Slow Cardio
Interval training is when you alternate between periods of high intensity exercise and low intensity exercise. For example, after a 5 minute warm up, you would begin alternating 30-60 seconds of high intensity work with 60-120 seconds of low intensity work. You would repeat this 5-10 times and then cool down for 5 minutes. You can vary the intensities and rest intervals in different combinations depending on your condition. Interval training can be done using any mode you would do traditional cardio: running, walking, biking, swimming, stair master, or elliptical machine.
You get the same kind of afterburn from interval training as you do from strength training. The key is the intensity. Study after study has shown that high intensity exercise (Intervals/Strength Training) promotes weight loss and fat burning better than steady-state exercise (traditional cardio). This is not to say that slow cardio is no good or shouldn't be a part of your workout program. It's very good for you endurance and overall health. You'll also burn a lot of calories, but if you want to burn maximum calories and fat, while building lean muscles, high intensity is the way to go with the majority of your workouts.
3) Work Your Abs
Although ab exercises are not how to lose love handles, you still need to strengthen and tone the muscles (obliques) that are underneath your love handles. Three times a week you should work your abs hard. Pick exercises from the many featured on this web site. The best ones to focus on your obliques are bicycle crunchers, side plank or lifts, and wood chops.
As you can see, there is a lot more to losing your love handles than just doing a lot of side bends.
Besides looking good, a key benefit to losing those love handles is to help avoid health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes
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