How to Lose Love Handles - Top Tips and Tricks

By Kathryn Vera

Love handles occur as a result of increased fat deposits on the sides of the abdomen, over the oblique muscles. To lose love handles, aim for total fat reduction through cardiovascular exercise, resistance training and high-intensity interval training. Following a healthy diet can also prove helpful when it comes to shedding pounds from this part of the body.

Choose Cardiovascular Exercise

Cardiovascular exercise can be helpful when it comes to shedding unwanted pounds -- such as those which may appear around the love handles. To maximize your caloric burn with cardiovascular exercise, choose activities that provide a whole-body workouts, like dancing, jumping rope, swimming, kick-boxing, roller-skating, roller-blading, cross-country skiing or jogging. Dr. Joseph E. Donnelly, an exercise physiologist at the American College of Sports Medicine, encourages adults to aim for 250 to 300 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week to promote weight loss. Those who have difficulty sticking with these time goals may want to consider joining a group exercise class or community exercise program to prevent boredom and maintain workout consistency.

Incorporate Resistance Training

Woman doing side planks with weights in an outdoor park.

In addition to building muscle mass, resistance training can help you lose your love handles by increasing caloric burn. While the sky is the limit when it comes to choosing resistance training exercises, those which specifically target the love handles -- like side planks, bicycle crunches, and Russian twists -- may be helpful when it comes to toning this part of the body. Consider performing these exercises in a circuit, moving through your sets as quickly as possible. Miriam Nelson, a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine recommends performing these exercises at a moderate intensity, no more than two or three times a week, to allow your muscles time to heal between workouts.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training

A fitness instructor uses a stopwatch while training a client with HIIT.

High-intensity interval training, HIIT, is a specific type of physical activity in which individuals alternate between vigorous and moderate-intensity exercise. Depending on your fitness level, perform intervals that range from five seconds to eight minutes in length, with beginning exercisers starting out with short intervals and more advanced exercisers engaging in longer interval periods. For optimal results, make sure vigorous exercise intervals are performed at an intensity level of 80 to 95 percent of your estimated heart rate max, and moderate exercise intervals at an intensity of 40 to 50 percent of your estimated heart rate max. You can determine this max by subtracting your age from 220; for example, a 40-year-old man would have an estimated heart rate max of 180 beats per minute. This man should perform vigorous exercise intervals with a heart rate of 144 to 171 beats per minute, and moderate exercise intervals with a heart rate of 72 to 90 beats per minute.

You Are What You Eat

Kale salad on a plate.

Following a balanced diet is also imperative if you want to lose love handles. A balanced diet should include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and calcium-rich, low-fat dairy. While adding certain foods to your diet is important when it comes to losing love handles, eliminating others -- such as solid fats and added sugar -- is also effective. Drinking plenty of water each day can help boost your metabolism, cleanse your body of toxins, and aid in weight loss over the long term. To stick with a healthy eating plan, consider keeping a dietary journal, where you track your meals each day. This little tip to lose love handles will allow you to look back at your diet, and identify where changes can be made. Experimenting with foods that you may have never tried, such as raw kale in salads, can also be an effective and positive way to shake up your meal plan.

References

About the Author

Kathryn Vera holds a master's degree in exercise physiology, as well as licensure as a Registered Dietitian. Currently, she works as a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Cardiac Rehabilitation, where she provides care to patients living with chronic heart disease.

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