How to Get Rid of Love Handles or Side Belly Fat
How to Get Rid of Love Handles (Side Belly Fat)
Love handles. Muffin top. These may sound like cute nicknames someone gives their significant other, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there is little to love about love handles. Many people struggle to get rid of them by upping their ab exercise in a desperate attempt to work their obliques. These are the muscles that run down the side of the torso.
Unfortunately, that is not how to get rid of love handles. You will need to not only incorporate a good exercise plan but make a few lifestyle changes, as well. By taking a look at just what they are, how you develop them, as well as some tips and techniques, you will be able to get rid of those love handles in no time.
Now, let’s dive into everything you need to know about love handles.
What Are Love Handles?
Love handles are excess pockets of fat that start and extend from your hips. Once you begin to form them, they are extremely hard to get rid of. When looking to tone up and lose weight, research has shown that the first place you put weight on is the midsection. This means it will be the last place you lose it from. This is because you tend to lose newer fat quicker.
Evolution also has a role to play in just why this part of the body is so tough to get rid of excess fat. Fat is stored as a means for our bodies to be able to survive in times when there is not enough food.
The midsection of the body is perfect, as it is the most accessible to transfer this fat and use it for energy. Therefore, it makes sense that the body would hold onto it for as long as it can.
Another thing to consider is where the fat deposits are located. Situated just above your obliques, you may find it hard to tone this area up. The obliques are a thin muscle and naturally hard to build up.
How We Get Side Belly Fat
As we have discussed, the retention of fat is the cause of this phenomenon. Fat tends to accumulate when you eat more calories than you expend. As you do this more and more, the fat cells begin to be more visible. Typically, most people notice this first in the midsection area.
The truth is that fat can begin to build up anywhere, but there are certain things that can elevate the chance that it is your waistline. Some of these factors are:
- Cortisol and other hormones
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Eating poorly
- Not getting enough sleep
- Medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism
Though the accumulation of fat around your midsection is not life-threatening, it can lead to some very serious health issues. These may include:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Coronary disease
- Sleep problems
- Liver disease
Developing other health issues could be at risk by increasing the number of fat cells in your body, including the risk of stroke, as well as arthritis. Thus, trying to get rid of love handles can drastically improve your overall health. This is especially true if you don’t only focus on the physical activity quotient of the problem.
What Should I Eat – Best Diet
Getting rid of your love handles is just one of the hurdles. Keeping them off is just as important, and both of these tasks require you to take a hard look at your eating habits and make some lifestyle changes, as well.
It is suggested that the ideal amount of weight to lose a week is 1-2 pounds per week. This can be done with a mixture of exercise, mindfulness, and dietary changes. You will want to use a little portion control, as well as try to make these dietary changes:
- Add in more plant-based foods
- Eat lean proteins like poultry, fish, and eggs
- Include more beans and legumes
- Limit your salt intake
- Cut out extra sugar
- Try eating more healthy fats
- Look to add more soluble fiber
- Drink plenty of water
- Add in some complex carbs
- Eat whole foods
Making these changes can also be accompanied by being more mindful both when you eat, as well as with your mental health. Though it may not seem like it would impact your love handles, minimizing stress and getting enough sleep will improve your chances of getting rid of those love handles. Likewise, simply listening to cues from your body will help you, as well.
When you are stressed, your body sends out a hormone called cortisol. This is a normal reaction to stressful situations. However, consistent stress can cause increased levels, which, in turn, will cause weight gain. Several studies show weight gain due to high cortisol levels often concentrates in the midsection of your torso. Therefore, along with diet and exercise, you may want to add in a meditative aspect like yoga or mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness is often talked about when discussing meditation, but there is also mindfulness eating. This is simply the exercise of listening to how you feel when you are eating. Your body gives you cues, so becoming aware of them can help you eat less of the wrong things and more of the right things. This, in turn, will decrease the number of calories consumed and reduce the chance of storing excess fat.
However, all of this will be wasted if you don’t add a little physical activity to your daily routine.
What Should I Do – Best Exercises
You can google and find a plethora of exercises specifically targeting select areas of the body. However, targeting your love handles will not do the trick solely by itself. You want to do some strength and resistance training. This will help improve your muscles and increase your flexibility, but there is so much more you need to consider.
These exercises will not reduce fat. That is why you need to add in some cardio, as well as targeted movement exercises. Experts say that you should run through a moderate workout for at least five hours a week if you are looking to lose weight and reduce fat.
On top of cardio, you will want to incorporate aerobic exercises like swimming or walking. This will help you burn extra calories. No matter what is going on, if you add a little activity into your day, you will feel better. You will burn calories and reduce the fat cells that create love handles.
Sample Work Out
When you are considering what exercises to add to your routine, you will want to choose ones that focus on your hips, back, and abs.
Here are a few options that you can use to create a lower body workout that will work on the areas that directly affect your love handles.
Planks have become a big thing in the exercise world over the last decade. There are many types of planks that can be used to elevate the difficulty and the impact on your love handles.
First, you have to learn to do the basic side plank before you adjust the execution. Here is how you do a proper side plank:
- Lie on your side and prop your body up with one arm.
- Make sure your elbow is under your shoulder and your forearm is flush to the ground. This should form a right angle.
- Then, place one leg on top of the other. This should form a straight line from your head to the hip.
- Leaving your knees firmly on the ground, raise your hips off the floor.
- Now, squeeze your buttocks and hold this position for about 30 seconds. Make sure that your abs are right while you are doing that.
- Switch sides and repeat the process.
- Try to do 3 reps on each side. If you get this down and want a little extra difficulty, you can raise your knees off the ground while doing the plank.
- To add even more difficulty, you can lower and raise your hip when in this position.
Bicycle crunches are another great option to work on your love handles. The biggest trick to increase the effectiveness of this exercise is to make sure to use slower, more controlled movements.
Here is how to properly execute this exercise:
- Lie on the floor with your knees to the sky. Now, place your hands gently behind your head and make sure your knees are bent.
- Now, you will want to lift your shoulders and head, bringing them toward your knees. As you do this, make sure to tighten your abs.
- As you do this, you will want to raise your feet and keep your knees bent to hold them parallel to the ground.
- Now, you will want to gradually bring your left elbow towards your right knee. While you do this, make sure to extend your left leg out.
- You will want to do this for 15 reps.
Russian twists are another great, seated exercise that will work on your midsection. Once you get acclimated to this exercise, you can elevate the difficulty by adding some weight. Here is how you properly execute a Russian twist:
- You will start this exercise sitting on the floor. Your feet should be flat to the ground and your knees bent.
- Once you are in this position, you will want to tighten your abs and lean back until your body forms a 45-degree angle with your knees.
- With your knees bent, lift your feet from the ground. If you need more balance and support, cross your feet at the ankles.
- Now, you will twist your body with your hands clasped to either side. Repeat on either side and continue this exercise for several reps.
Not only does this exercise work the desired area, but it also is a cardio exercise, as well. With this exercise, you can get your heart rate up and strengthen your muscles.
Start slowly, and as you get more fit, you can increase the speed with which you execute this exercise. Here is how to properly do this exercise:
- Start in a plank position. Once you have that position dialed in, you will want to lift your foot and bring it up towards the opposite elbow.
- Make sure that, as you do this, you are tightening your abs.
- You will want to hold the leg in this position for a few seconds and then return the foot back to its starting point.
- Repeat this for the other leg, as well.
- Try to do this exercise for bursts of 30 seconds and do a few reps during your workout.
This exercise is great for your glutes, as well as your lower back. Here is how to execute this move properly:
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms at your side. The palms of your hand should be flat on the ground.
- Now, lift your lower back and glutes off the ground.
- Make sure your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- As you do this, squeeze your buttocks and hold the position for about 30 seconds. Then, lower your body back to the ground.
- You will want to do about 10 reps.
- Once you have conquered this exercise and you want more challenge, simply lift one foot off the floor while lifting your hip. For every rep, make sure to switch the foot.
Love handles can be frustrating and change the way your clothes fit on your body. They are created by excess fat being stored in your midsection. Though this is an evolutionary trait, it can be handled with a little change in your lifestyle and with the addition of a well-crafted workout routine.
There are more extreme ways to handle this issue, and if the problem persists, you may want to consider them. This would mean consulting with your doctor. However, an easier and less invasive way is simply to make a few minor adjustments to your life. With dedication and persistence, you will be able to get rid of those love handles.