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Bert Bauzon is a licensed physiotherapist specializing in spinal care and sports rehabilitation. He writes articles and books about exercise science and health care.

How to Get Rid of Love Handles

It’s easy to feel frustrated packing a noticeable flab on the side belly, and trust me you are not alone. Even advanced lifters and athletes may have difficulty getting rid of their side-belly fat.

In general terms, we call it “love handles”. It sounds cute and a bit romantic, but in reality, they are just stubborn fat on your lower back circling towards your side tummy. This zone is the first to gain tons of fat and the last to disappear.

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Unlike the upper body area, where you can train your delts to give an illusion of broader shoulders, you can’t simply train your abs and back to give you an illusion of a more defined side belly.

This article will discuss how to get rid of love handles and get the most out of your training and nutrition.

What causes love handles?

Nature. Our body is designed to store our excess energy as fats, so we can use them to fuel our body during times of need. Unfortunately, there are more fat cells in the midsection, so it is where you’ll likely store your fat.

Our modern lifestyle isn’t much of a help either. Lack of physical activities, unhealthy diets, and poor sleeping habits are the leading causes of excess flab. In addition, high levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, encourage fat storage even more.

Genetics and aging are also crucial factors in developing love handles. For example, body fat steadily increases after age 30, and some people are genetically predisposed to deposit more fat in the midsection.

How to get rid of love handles?

The truth is that targeted fat reduction is impossible. No matter how many core, hip, and back exercises you do, belly fats are still the last to go. Optimizing your training, nutrition, and lifestyle is key to gradually but consistently losing body fat.

A plan you must try if you want to get rid of your love handles:

Meal timing

Take your complex carbs or high-calorie meals pre and post-workout since your body will most likely use them for energy rather than keep them as fat. Ideally, you take your pre-workout meal at least an hour and a half before your workout.

Strategically planning your meal time is key to optimizing your energy and warding off hunger.

You can also divide your meals into smaller 5 to 6 meals per day to prevent you from feeling peckish or reaching for unhealthy snacks.

Cut the alcohol

It’s quite a bummer, but cutting alcohol can tremendously chop off calories in your day. A glass of beer or any alcoholic drink packs about 100-150 calories. Since beers are typically made from starches, they also contain tons of carbohydrates.

Be wary of protein bars

Not all protein bars are healthy for your physique. There are a lot of bars out there that can disguise as fitness products but have tons of sugars and other unnecessary ingredients. If you really like protein bars, be sure to check their sugar contents and read their labels.

Fat burning exercises

The idea is to use more calories to use your stored fats as energy. Therefore, You need to be physically active as much as possible. A great way to do this is to include training routines that are high intensity or those that challenge your endurance.

High-Intensity Interval Training or HIIT is especially effective in burning tremendous calories in a short amount of time. You can easily do 10-15 minutes of HIIT training and burn the same calories you do with 1 hour of the standard training session.

Alternatively, a low-intensity steady state (LISS) cardio of 30-40 minutes can also help you burn as many as 300-500 calories. The trick is to pick a cardio aerobic activity you enjoy and stick with it. For example, you could do cycling, jogging, walking, swimming, and the like.

Strength training and compound body exercises are also your friends when it comes to burning more calories.

Gradually get lean

Core, hip, and back exercises will help you sculpt your midsection. However, you’ll see the real results of your hard work and get rid of love handles only if you reduce your body fat percentage and uncover the underlying muscles.

You want to get rid of fats, not muscles. A weekly weight loss of about 0.5 to 1% of your body weight per week is ideal for safe and steady body fat loss without affecting your muscle mass.

One effective way to burn fats and lean is maintaining a calorie deficit through intermittent fasting. Fasting promotes the use of fat rather than glucose as energy since it limits the availability of glucose for an extended period.

Optimize your insulin levels

Insulin is a key hormone that allows the glucose in your blood to enter your cells and be used as energy or stored as fat.

Unfortunately, high insulin levels and decreased insulin resistance can drastically affect your weight gain. The idea is to keep your insulin at optimal levels so you can achieve long-term and sustainable fat loss.

You keep your insulin levels at a lower range by doing the following:

  • Shifting to a low-carb diet
  • Get the right amount of sleep and rest (6-8hours of sleep per day)
  • Reduce your stress levels
  • Intermittent fasting
  • Exercise

Bonus Tip

Dedicated time in the gym can trigger the “after-burn effect”. It refers to an increase in the rate at which calories are burned even after working out. It means your body will likely continue to use more energy until it returns to its normal state.

By performing high-intensity exercises, strength training, and a cardio routine, you are set to burn more calories in the gym consistently.

Conclusion

Love handles are stubborn fat, and hard to get rid of. However, an optimized training routine, nutrition, and lifestyle change can help you become leaner and eliminate your love handles.

Just remember that getting lean and shredding love handles will take time. And as you lose more body fat and get leaner, your body will try to preserve your fats even more. Just stay consistent and stick to your routine.

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