Let’s be honest… there’s not a whole lot to love about love handles. They don’t fit into your skinny jeans, and they can be pretty challenging to get rid of. Why, you ask? Since love-handle fat sits on the side of the abdominal area, lots of people think that a typical ab workout will blast it away. This isn’t the case. Love handles lie on top of the obliques, which are a very specific group of abdominal muscles. In order to really work those suckers, you have to target them precisely.
That being said, it’s a myth that you can spot reduce fat loss. Yes, you can target your obliques to maximize toning, but fat is lost through cardio and diet. We’ve all heard that abs are made in the kitchen, and (unfortunately) it’s true. You can do crunches until the cows come home, but unless you get rid of your excess fat through healthy eating, your toned abs will never be seen.
So here’s the best strategy for kicking your love handles to the curb:
Step 1. Eat lean. Eat clean.
Step 2. Add in a 30-minute cardio session every other day. If you’re feeling really hardcore, beef it up to 6 days a week. A Duke University study found that people who walked for about 30 minutes 6 days a week gained hardly any abdominal fat over an 8-month period.
Step 3. Try the following 10-minute love handle workout. It hits the obliques hard, while also working the rest of your core. Trust me, it’ll give those love handles a run for their money!
A 10-Minute Love Handle Workout
Repeat the following circuit 3 times, moving as quickly as possible from exercise to exercise. Do this routine 3 times a week.
40 Woodchoppers (20 on each side). Using one hand weight, stand with your feet hip-width apart with your weight on your left leg. Start by holding the weight in both hands up by your left shoulder. Next, twist to make a chopping motion down towards your right hip. Allow your feet and knees to pivot with the twist. Raise the weight back up to your left shoulder and repeat for 20 reps. Next work your right side.
50 Russian Twists. Sit on your butt with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Your torso should be leaning back at a 45 angle to the floor. Hold a dumbbell with both hands. Lift your feet from the ground, crossing them at the ankles and balancing on your butt. From this position, twist your torso to the right and touch your dumbbell to the ground next to your body. Next, twist back over to the left touching the weight to the left side of your body. Repeat back and forth, all while balancing with your legs and torso raised off of the ground.
30 Side Plank Hip Lifts (15 on each side). Get into side plank position with your elbow on the ground and your legs and hips resting on the ground. Engaging your abs and keeping your body in a straight line, raise the lower half of your body up off the ground into a straight plank position. Lower again and repeat. Do 15 on your right side, and then 15 on your left side.
30 Bicycle Crunches. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Do not clasp your hands together. Engage your abs, lifting your shoulders and upper back off of the ground. At the same time, move your right elbow toward your left knee so that they meet in the middle of your body. Next, switch your position by bringing your left elbow to your right knee. Continue as quickly as possible while still keeping your torso raised up off the ground.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America.