How To Get Rid Of Love Handles

How To Get Rid Of Love Handles

Smooth, svelte hips are up there with some of the most common fitness goals, but the quest to get there can sometimes feel like too much of a mission. There is just one simple equation that works: the right workout plus the right diet. We caught up with four of the capital’s leading trainers to find out what those two crucial elements should look like…

Prioritise Reducing Body Fat
We’re all for making the most of your unique shape, but health experts agree carrying excess weight around your middle increases your risk factor for disease, namely metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Fat stored around your stomach is more of a health hazard than fat stored in other parts of the body where it’s further away from your organs.

Monique Eastwood, the go-to trainer for A-listers including Emily Blunt and Ruth Wilson, says reducing the appearance of love handles ultimately comes down to reducing body fat. “Love handles are literally an excess of fat that accumulates around the abdomen and hip area,” she tells SL. “Some people store more fat around the area, and studies suggest this could be due to genetics, stress levels, an underactive metabolic rate and lack of sleep. Reducing love handles comes down to clever weight and cardio training alongside a healthy eating plan.”

Swap Long Runs For HIIT

“While all exercise burns body fat, HIIT is particularly effective as it triggers an afterburn effect, meaning you’ll burn more calories after your workout as your body recovers,” adds Mike Tanner, performance specialist at Bodyism. Rosie Stockley, women’s fitness specialist and founder of MAMAWELL, agrees  that steady-state cardio shouldn’t be a priority if you’re trying to lose weight. “If you love running, consider mixing it up in your week with some high-intensity circuits to give your body an aerobic burn, which is infinitely better for fat reduction. HIIT intervals produce more of a metabolic burn and, unless you’re running very long distances, it’s much harder to create the same amount of caloric burn doing steady-state cardio.”

If you can’t bear to part ways with your weekly run, Monique gives you the go-ahead, so long as the rest of your week is varied. “Just ensure your body is always challenged, which will stimulate it to change. One of the most important elements of losing fat is consistency and mixing up your training will also keep it fun, varied and increase your chances of sticking to it. Every week, aim for a mixture of HIIT, longer cardio, some weight training and bodyweight moves.”

Lift Weights On A Weekly Basis
While cardio will burn calories, lifting weights will build muscle. And the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be, so you burn more calories, even at rest. Weight training will also keep that slow burn going 24/7, leading to a larger and more sustained calorie burn over the course of the day. Experts agree weight training can be especially important in helping you lose stubborn body fat, with one major study showing greater fat loss around the stomach in women who lifted weights as opposed to those who stuck to cardio. 

If getting rid of love handles is your goal, weight training is a better use of your time – it will give you more bang for your buck per workout.

Add In Whole-Body Moves
Focusing on working out the part of your body that bothers you the most might be tempting but exercising the whole body may be a more effective way to slim down love handles. “Spot training isn’t possible,” says Monique. “Even if you want to lose fat just in your love handles, the body doesn’t work like that – in fact, once you start exercising, you may find you lose fat in places you didn’t want to. A far more effective way to lose stubborn body fat is to incorporate whole-body moves into your workout. Weighted squats and squat jumps are great to elevate the heart rate while also building lean muscle, while planks with challenging leg lifts will create an additional bodyweight challenge. Plank variations will also activate the oblique and deep abdominal muscles to tone the core and postural muscles, helping to boost definition in the stomach area.” Mike is also a fan of full body moves. “Compound exercises that involve multiple joints and muscles are best for fat burning – think chin-ups over bicep curls, and squats and lunges over hip lifts.”

Don’t Obsess Over Your Core
“Despite being in similar areas, working your core has nothing to do with improving the appearance of love handles,” says Rosie. “For example, you could have very strong abs but also fat in the area. Having said that, lateral movements that utilise the side of the body are worth including – think weighted side bends and side planks. These will tone and strengthen the side of the torso. Moves like burpees, push-ups and squats will also target tricky areas, including the waist, as well as supercharge overall fat burning.”

Keep Calories In Check 
“Body fat accumulates when your input is more than your output,” Monique explains. “One kilo of fat contains around 7,700 calories, so if you are over-consuming 500 calories per day, it will take you just over two weeks to gain one kilogram of fat.” Monique recommends keeping portion sizes in check, while Rosie suggests sticking to a predominantly wholefood diet. “The body knows how to process natural foods – think grains, vegetables, fruit and protein, so stick to those 80% of the time. Too much sugar will likely not only accelerate weight gain but will also affect mood as your energy spikes and drops. Always remember that the quality of calories matters – for example, you’ll feel much more nourished in the long run eating a couple of poached eggs with brown toast than you will a piece of cake, even though they may contain the same number of calories.”

Moves like burpees, push-ups and squats will target tricky areas, including the waist, as well as supercharge overall fat burning.

Ditch Refined Carbs
“If you want quick results, up your exercise routine and reduce your intake of both sugar and refined carbohydrates,” Monique advises. “Nutrition plays a significant role in reducing body fat in and around your body. I always tell my clients to combine their exercise routine with a diet rich in lean protein – either plant or animal – alongside some complex carbohydrates and plenty of green vegetables. Watch your portion sizes and don’t snack throughout the day – this is vital to how your body burns stored sugars and fat. Unfortunately, alcohol is also synonymous with body fat. Alcohol is essentially sugar, and excess sugar is stored as fat. Over time, this continues to be stored in your fat cells – such as love handles – as the body can’t process it. Limit your alcohol intake and you will notice the difference in your body composition.”

Think About Gut Health Too
“In over 18 years of coaching and as a clinical nutritionist, there’s no area more controversial among women than love handles,” concludes Andy McGlynn, personal trainer at GSquared Health Clubs. “Body fat tends to store itself in correlation to the health of various hormones and challenges within the body, and love handles are intrinsically linked to both gut health and insulin balance. If you want to reduce the appearance of love handles, it’s important to understand training (i.e. what you do in the gym) will always have a secondary impact. When you eat poorly, and lots of sugar, this creates an inflammatory environment in the gut. If you’re serious about improving love handles, consider a cleanse to reduce your bad bacteria, followed by increasing prebiotics to feed the good bacteria in your stomach. Reducing refined sugars and taking a probiotic will also help.”


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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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