Accumulation of fat around the tummy, waist and hip area can be a nightmare to get rid of. This accumulation of fat, also known as love handles, or muffin top, builds up with time when the body takes in more calories than it burns.
Yes, the name ‘love handles’ sounds cool and cute, but there’s nothing cool about it at all. There is nothing cool and cute about having excess fatty skin hanging on top of your trousers or looking very pronounced whenever you wear tight clothes.
Having excess fat on the sides of your hips and waist should not be taken lightly. That built-up fat around your waistline isn’t dangerous at first glance, but it could be an indicator of underlying risk factors to certain chronic health conditions and poor overall health. Some of these chronic health conditions include, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and liver disease.
There are quite a number of workouts to get rid of love handles, but these workouts will not work without keeping a close eye on what you feed your body with.
Always remember to have a good mix of both cardiorespiratory exercises and weight training, at the right intensity. Intensity is the key to getting maximum benefit from your workout session. The intensity should be challenging enough to increase your body’s fat burning potential.
Reset your diet plan, stay active and try these 10 simple workouts to get rid of love handles;
1. Side Planks
- Lie flat on your side, engage your core and lift yourself up on one arm.
- Stack your legs on top of each other with your forearm flat against the floor.
- Lift your hips off the ground to ensure your body forms a straight line from head to feet. Your bodyweight should only be supported by your foot on the ground and your forearm.
- Squeeze your abs and hold the position for 30 seconds to start with. The duration can be later increased to a minute or more once your core strength improves.
- Switch sides and repeat the exercise.
2. Weighted Russian Twists
- Sit down on the ground with your knees bent, place a weight (eg dumbbell, kettlebell or medicine ball) in your hands and lift your feet off the ground.
- Keep your back straight and slightly lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
- Squeeze your abs, twist your torso to the right, pause and return to the center.
- Repeat the exercise with the twist on the left side this time around. That’s one rep complete.
- Perform at least 10 reps on each side.
3. Cross Mountain Climbers
- Get down to the plank position to start with.
- To get in the plank position, get on all fours and extend your legs straight backwards so your legs are supported by the balls of your feet. Lift your upper-body up by extending your arms straight.
- Lift your right foot off the ground and bring in your right knee toward your left elbow.
- Squeeze your abs, briefly hold the position and then return your right foot to its original position.
- Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
- Perform at least 10 reps with each leg.
- Stand hip-width apart, with the bar above the center of your feet.
- Bend your knees until your shins are as close to the bar as possible.
- Stick out your butt, keep your back straight with shoulder blades directly above the bar and grab the bar overhand (or have alternating grabs if lifting heavier weights).
- With your heel firmly planted on the ground, lift up the weight keeping the bar close to your body until your hips and knees are locked.
- Squat back down with while maintaining your form in step 2 and lower the weight back to the ground.
- 1 rep complete! Perform 10 more reps.
- Start with a light weight to master your form and technique before going heavy.
5. Bicycle Crunches
- Lie down on your backside with interlocked fingers behind your head.
- Squeeze in your abs, bring your knees in towards your chest and lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
- Straighten your right leg to about 45-degree angle to the ground while turning your upper-body to your left.
- Bring your right elbow to your left knee. Ensure your whole torso twists and not just your elbows.
- Switch sides and repeat the exercise. Perform 10 reps on each side. The reps can be increased as you get fitter and more comfortable. There is absolutely no need to rush, quality of this exercise is of utmost importance. This exercise should be carried out in a controlled motion.
6. Kettlebell Swings
- Stand up straight with feet shoulder-width apart.
- With palms facing downwards, get down into the squat position and grab the kettlebell with both hands. Kettlebell should be between your legs.
- Pick up the kettlebell, explosively thrust your hips forward and straighten your back to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder level. This should be done in a fluid motion.
- Swing the kettlebell back down between your legs while bending your knees and hips. That’s one rep complete.
- Perform about 15 to 20 reps.
7. Battle Rope Workout
- Stand with hips and knees slightly bent, and hip-width apart.
- Get down into a half-squat and grab each end of the battle rope.
- Tighten your core, swing your right arm up to head-level, lower it back down while swinging up your left arm.
- Keep alternating your arms with each swing for at least 30 seconds. You can later increase the duration to a minute or more as you get fitter.
8. Box Jumps
- Stand in front of a plyometric box (or a sturdy raised surface) with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Slightly squat, push your feet through the floor and swing your arms to explosively propel yourself onto the box.
- Jump back down to the start position and repeat the exercise.
- Perform at least 20 reps.
9. Pilates 100s
- Relax on the floor and place your hands, knees and feet flat on the floor while facing up the ceiling.
- With your arms straight at your sides, lift your shoulder blades off the floor.
- Keep your feet together, point out your toes and raise your legs up towards the ceiling and lower them half-way. Do not let your feet touch the floor.
- Lift your straightened arms about 2 inches off the floor and pump them up and down with a small range of motion. Keep your elbows straight and locked throughout this motion.
- Inhale for 5 arm pumps and exhale for 5 arm pumps. That’s one set complete.
- Perform at least 10 sets.
10. More running!
Well, this workout was left last for a very good reason. It simply requires no introduction or description. Running simply means running!
If you have no health issues with your limbs, joints and or back, regularly stepping out for a run is one of the best routines you can adopt on your journey to losing weight and getting rid of those stubborn love handles. It is indeed one of the best workouts to get rid of love handles.
Whether you choose to run outdoors or indoors, the intensity of your workout is very important here. You need to ensure it is at a good level of intensity and not just a light jog.
Recommended Lifestyle Changes
The above recommended workouts to get rid of love handles will be less effective without some very vital lifestyle changes. You’ll basically just be ‘beasting’ yourself for nothing if your lifestyle choices are unhealthy and ‘anti-weight-loss’.
To get rid of love handles and prevent them from returning, some dietary and lifestyle changes need to be adopted. Some of these vital lifestyle changes are listed below:
- Cut out saturated fats in favour of healthy fats. Healthy fats can be derived from foods such as fish, olive oil, avocados and nuts.
- Cut out added sugar. Regular intake of added sugar can lead to an accumulation fat, especially around the waist area. This is definitely the last thing you need if you are keen on getting rid of your love handles.
- Reduce alcohol intake. Several studies have linked excessive alcohol consumption to a higher risk of obesity. Alcohol comes with a lot of calories and added sugar, which are bad news if one is serious about losing weight.
- Replace alcohol and sweetened beverages with more water. Water does not only hydrate the body for optimal health, it also comes with no calories and no sugar.
- Eat foods high in soluble fiber. Foods loaded with high quality soluble fiber leave you feeling full for longer periods, which means you are less likely to eat in-between meals. Foods high in fiber include cruciferous vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains and nuts.
- Don’t do only cardio, lift weights. Strength and resistance training burns more calories and increases your resting metabolic rate. Resting metabolic rate is the total number of calories burned when your body is completely at rest. Muscles burn more calories at rest than fat.
- Keep stress at bay. Stress triggers the production of the ‘stress hormone’ cortisol. Staying stressed for a longer period comes with an accompanying increase in cortisol, which could lead to weight gain.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation does not only have a negative effect on overall health, it also increases the level of cortisol in the body, which can lead to weight gain. Health experts recommend 7 to 8 hours of unbroken sleep per night. Sleep more, stress less!
Working out to get rid of love handles can be either simple or difficult depending on your approach and willingness to make sudden adjustments to your lifestyle. You need to be ready to adopt a combination of dietary, exercise and general lifestyle changes. Your new-found weight-loss exercise regimen will be ineffective if your diet and lifestyle isn’t right.
Eat well, work hard and stay committed to your weight-loss goal. These will not only get rid of the stubborn love handles, they’ll in the long run also improve your overall health.
Always stay safe. Remember to consult your doctor should you have fitness concerns before embarking on your weight-loss journey.
Got other workouts to get rid of love handles? Please feel free to leave your recommendations, suggestions and questions in the comments section below.