Kiss Your Love Handles Goodbye

love handles
Written by Gayle Pinn

Love handles—that annoying flab found just above the hips—really have nothing to do with love, but everything to do with diet and exercise.

There is a common misconception that spot-reduction exercises—focusing on a specific muscle group, such as the abs—will burn fat in that location. But while crunches and bicycles will strengthen and tone the abs they have little effect on the fatty tissue stored around your middle.

To kiss love handles goodbye you’ll have to reduce your total body fat. I recommend an approach that uses diet, aerobic exercise and strength training.

Create a caloric deficit

To lose subcutaneous fat, you must consume fewer calories than you expend. To lose a pound, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories through diet and exercise. (Women need at least 1,200 calories daily and men should not consume fewer than 1,800 calories daily.)

Burn, baby, burn

To create a calorie deficit, do 45 to 60 minutes of aerobic/cardiovascular exercise (any activity that raises your heart rate), four to five times a week. Efficient fat burners are jogging, running, bicycling, elliptical machines, stair climbers and dancing.

Maximize muscle

Toning/building muscle along with cardiovascular work will speed up the weight loss process. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, so the more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll burn at rest throughout the day. So don’t just target the abdominals—tone the whole body. Make time for a full-body strength-building routine two to three times a week.

Finally, be reasonable with yourself. Society may be obsessed with picture-perfect bodies, but we don’t all have to be stick-thin to look our best. The ultimate goal should be to strive for a nutritionally balanced diet and routine exercise for a healthier you. The rest will fall into place.

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