There’s no doubt about it: Getting rid of love handles—the pesky pockets of fat at your sides—can feel impossible. It’s going to take more than a bunch of crunches. But while losing belly fat involves the classic combination of a healthy diet and regular workout routine, if you stay committed, you’re already on the fast track to your goal. Here’s exactly what you need to do:
What are the best exercises for getting rid of love handles?
The best exercises to get rid of love handles involves a combination of ab and strength training moves, in addition to cardio. And the key to getting the most out of your workout: Think of each exercise as a full-body movement. “Think head-to-toe effort for your moves,” says Amy Jordan, celebrity trainer and WundaBar Pilates creator. “That will crank the cardio and blast calories to reveal the muscles you’re toning underneath.” First up, are planks.
Jordan says planks are one of the best exercises for getting rid of love handles because they engage the whole body and take major effort to hold with perfect form. “Planks create long lines that look great and are good for proper functionality, while crunches shorten the front line of the body,” Jordan says. This is why she generally doesn’t recommend doing traditional crunches for sculpting your obliques. “Planks develop endurance with the isometric nature of a hold. Challenge yourself for 10 seconds longer every day,” Jordan says. Some ways you can turn up the burn with your planks, according to Jordan:
- Bend one knee at a time in plank, also known as baby bends.
- Sweep one leg out to the side while your torso holds steady.
- Rotate from the center into side planks.
- Pike up and return to plank position. You can do this by placing a pair of gliders or hand towels underneath your feet to pike your butt up toward the ceiling.
Jordan recommends doing 12 reps of each exercise and doing them for three to found rounds.
It’s impossible to spot-reduce fat, but you can focus on building lean muscles, which helps burn fat. Compound exercises, aka two-in-one moves that fire up several muscle groups at once, are a great way to get a great workout with little time, and they’re something that Jordan recommends to her clients who are looking to kiss their love handles goodbye. “Whenever possible, make your exercise a compound movement,” Jordan says. “That means adding small hand weights to a squat, incorporating rotations while holding a lunge, or looping a resistance band around your hands for a roll-up,” she says.
What’s the best diet to get rid of love handles?
As we mentioned earlier, diet and fitness go hand-in-hand if you want to lose weight and get rid of love handles. “I recommend you approach food simply,” says Jordan. “Is it from nature? Go for it. Is it from a package with a thousand ingredients you can’t pronounce? Skip it.” Her other rule of thumb is to eat 90 percent for fuel, which includes foods that provide protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. The other 10 percent is for what she calls “fun” food items, like dark chocolate or champagne.
Focusing on high-fibre foods, like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes will also fill you up and help tame cravings for sugar and fat. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend women 31 to 50 years old get at least 25 grams of fibre daily, and men 31 to 50 years old 31 grams. On the other hand, women 51 and over should aim for 22 grams per day, and men 51 and over 28 grams. The same goes for protein. Not only does protein keep you full, but it also helps repair muscles after a workout. The more muscles you build, the more calories you burn and fat you lose. A good number to aim for is 70 grams of protein daily—so around 20 to 30 grams per meal.
As always, prioritizing sleep and limiting stress will make losing weight and getting rid of unwanted fat easier. Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and make an effort to do something relaxing before bed to help you de-stress and snooze better. Think about what’s causing your stress, and what can you do to instantly feel good. The solution is different for everyone, whether it’s taking a relaxing bath, journaling, or meditating. Remember, stress will just make it all the more difficult to reach your goals, so it’s important to keep it in check.