Love handles before after


A 10-Minute Love Handle Workout

Love handles, or what Ashley Graham calls “side butt,” 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.

RELATED: Feel the Burn With This Lower Body and Ab Workout by Emily Skye

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.

RELATED: 6 Reasons Why You Can’t Out-Exercise a Bad Diet

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.

RELATED: 11 Scientifically Proven Ways to Boost Metabolism

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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Want more quick workout ideas? Check out our 30-Day Arms Challenge and 30-Day Bodyweight Challenge!

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Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest. 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.

How to lose your love handles in three days

We spoke to fitness powerhouses Rob Edmond and Ross Edgley about losing weight and getting fit quickly:

How to lose love handles and man boobs with one exercise, says Rob Edmond

“For love handles, you have to work your legs. They’re the biggest muscle group in your body and they use the most amount of energy. They’re going to strip fat quicker than any plank. You need to do five sets of squats a day, increasing your weights daily. For man boobs you have to do loads of press ups. Do 50 or so a day, up to a 100, and you’ll see a difference in three days. Try it for a month and see if you have man boobs then.”

The oldest (and best) back exercise, says Ross Edgley

The deadlift is arguably the oldest exercise known to man. It’s also the most effective for training the lower back and lowering body fat. For those not familiar with this strength and conditioning “staple” it really is quite simple. You pick a barbell off the floor and put it back down for a pre-agreed number of sets and repetitions. All with the correct form.

How to deadlift, says Ross Edgley

  • Place the bar in front of you with your agreed weight.
  • Stand with your mid-foot under the bar, but don’t touch it with your shins.
  • With your feet hip-width apart grab the bar.
  • Holding the bar with a grip shoulder-width apart keep your arms straight and hanging just outside your legs.
  • Bend your knees. Keep going until your shins touch the bar, but don’t move the bar.
  • Keep the bar over your mid-foot position. Lift your chest.

Straighten your back, take a breath and pull.

  • Holding the bar stand up keeping the bar against your legs.
  • Then slowly return hold it and stand up. Keep the bar against your legs. Don’t shrug or lean back at the top.

The key is finding the right weight, sets and repetitions to use and battle gravity with. This can of course vary depending on many factors – and should be continually varied to subject the body to new training stimuli – but research published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found a, “3 sets × 10 repetitions at 75 per cent 1 repetition maximum” training protocol triggered a significant spike in testosterone levels.

Why is this important? Boosting testosterone has been shown to help with everything from more muscle mass to greater fat loss. Two physical adaptations that will obviously help re-design your lower regions.

The other oldest (and best) back exercise, says Ross Edgley

This second tip is basically a gym-based optical illusion.

That’s because to make your lower back look smaller and more defined it makes sense to increase the size of the top portion. To do this you must fully engage – and train – the latissimus dorsi muscle.

For those that didn’t show up to that biology lesson, the latissimus dorsi is the large muscle on your back that you use during most pulling movements. Gym-dwellers often refer to them as your “lats” and studies show should you improve its strength and shape you can instantly improve the appearance of your entire physique too. Which is why understanding hand placement during the tried and tested pull-up is crucially important.

Take the research from the Department of Kinesiology at Pennsylvania State University for example.

Scientists wanted to measure which grip activated the back muscles the most: an underhand grip (supinated) or an overhand grip (pronated). Using electromyography to measure muscle activity they found a, “Pronated grip (overhand) is recommended for maximally activating the latissimus dorsi (back)”.

Fat Loss, says Ross Edgley

Scientists still don’t know exactly why we hold fat in different areas of our bodies. It’s this kind of biological ambiguity that continues to baffle biologists. But what we do know – thanks to the

British Medical Journal – is where we hold the fat has serious health implications. With waist, back and hip fat being linked to everything from heart disease to premature death. Therefore for health reasons alone make sure your gym routine has at least some emphasis on fat loss if you’re carrying a little extra timber around those areas.

There are hundreds of practical training protocols to use, but one of the easiest and most effective is H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) using a rowing machine as your weapon of choice. To do this simply jump on the seat. Strap your feet in. Warm up for 5 minutes and then work at a fast pace (75 per cent+ of your maximum heart rate) for 20 to 40 seconds, followed by a period of low intensity training or complete rest which lasts 20 to 120 seconds.

You then repeat this for a total of 10 to 20 minutes.

Why? All because the International Journal of Obesity found the intense, short nature of interval training to be a better alternative to burning fat than spending hours slowly and steadily wishing your way leaner on the treadmill.

Don’t disregard the diet, says Ross Edgley

This article does a great job of detailing eating for fat loss, but essentially, understand that certain dietary evils could be causing you to store fat in all the wrong places.

One of the worst culprits being high-fructose corn syrup which accounts for as much as 40 per cent of caloric sweeteners used in the United States and has since expanded over the pond to plague us too.

According to research from the Journal of Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behaviour high-fructose corn syrup is, “Accompanied by an increase in adipose fat, notably in the abdominal region.” For this reason alone, avoid those highly processed sugary treats and instead opt for healthier snack options. The below program will work so much more efficiently when you do.

Follow this workout and melt your love handles

Exercise 1: HIIT

  • 5 minute warm-up
  • 30 seconds (Fast paced, 75 per cent or more maximum heart rate)
  • 60 seconds active rest (gentle rowing, 50-60 per cent of maximum heart rate)

Exercise 2: deadlift

  • 10 Repetitions
  • 3 Sets Total
  • Using 75 per cent of Your 1 Repetition Maximum

Exercise 3: pull ups (overhand grip)

  • 10 Repetitions
  • 3 Sets Total
  • Using Your Bodyweight

Exercise 4: single-arm bent over dumbbell rows

  • 10 Repetitions
  • 3 Sets Total
  • Using 75 per cent of Your 1 Repetition Maximum

Read more about fitness and body sculpting

  • How to get abs like a surfer
  • Eat your way to a six-pack
  • Three exercises that are a waste of time
  • How to lose belly fat
  • Build your own portable gym
  • How to get a chest like Calvin Harris
  • Get rid of man boobs

Follow Ross Edgley on Twitter: @RossEdgley

And for more fitness tips from Rob Edmond…

“If you have a high metabolism, you’ve got to find things you like to eat with higher calories that are still reasonably healthy. I mean stuff like fat, not chocolate and sweets as that will bring you up and down. I’m talking pasta: brown pasta and rice. The average calorie count would be 2500, but step it up, and keep stepping it up until you’re putting on muscle. If you get to 3500-4000 and you’re still not outing on muscle then keep stepping it up. But it’s important that you aren’t putting on fat. Balance it.

And you should do exercise. Start using your legs, squats, deadlifts, big movements in the gym, because you actually release natural growth hormones which promotes testosterone that promotes muscle. It makes you lean but it’ll make you put on muscle. Sumo wrestlers are the best for putting on weight because they eat consistently all the time. Often they’ll have a big meal and then go to sleep. Make sure you mix up your meals, don’t just have pure meat, mix up meat with carbs. A trick is also to set your alarm for 3am and have a protein shake. Keep it on the side of your bed, wake up, drink it, then go back to sleep.”

How to squat properly

“You should always squat with weights, and you should always squat all the way down to the ground. If you’re starting off then you should probably keep it at around ten sets. And then do multiple ones. But if you’re into your training already then you should do what a lot of people don’t do, which is go real heavy, and then you can probably do about four or five sets. And then you have a big rest. It’s all about intensity using a maximum amount of energy in a short space of time, then having a big rest and then doing it again and again and again. You should feel as much pain as you can tolerate so long as it’s not a joint cracking or a bone breaking.”

What to eat and avoid when getting lean

“Avoid bags of sugar. Sugar is the worst thing to have consistently because that just goes on as fat. On the other hand, fat can actually be quite good for you. It’s sugar that’s the worst, I’ve been telling people this for about ten years. I actually pour fat onto my food, like olive oil. I’m not worried about fat, and I rub it onto my skin too since it’s natural. It’s always better to eat a burger and chips than a bar of chocolate. Carbs are the best to eat when you’re training as it recuperates the muscles, as are protein shakes.”

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How to keep motivated

“My best motivational tip is to set yourself a goal – something that is going to be challenging. Let’s say it’s a race, or if you like tennis, set yourself a competition that you can be in. Do something that is going to challenge you and then tell everyone you’re going to do it so that you can’t back out. It could be anything, you could be like, “right I’m gonna do some modelling so I’ve got six months to get ready.”

How to get a summer body in four weeks

“You would have to train about four or five times a week. If you really want to change your body then you have to train a lot. Most people look at personal trainers and think “they look in great shape I want to look like them.” But they will only train two or three times a week, whereas the trainers will be working five or six times a week, so there’s a huge difference. You can do training sessions that aren’t necessarily five or six hours – they can be twenty minutes or something, but they have to be really intense.

If you want that person to be as thin and as strong as possible, I would throw in some big man-training, gym-based possibly, twice a week, so big heavy movements, squats, deadlifts and presses above the head. You should also do one hill-sprint session a week. Find a nice hill. It doesn’t have to be crazy steep but quite steep, and then do a ten second sprint, then walk, then a ten second sprint, then walk. Aim to do five sprints in the first session and then you’re looking to add another two over the next few weeks.”

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How to stretch

“Stretching too much is a big problem. Sometimes you see people stretching out like they’re some kind of crazy ballerina whereas the main thing should be dynamic stretching. A simple one would be moving your arms around in circular movements, rather than stretching your arms out. The main thing is, the muscles contracts and that’s where the strength goes. If you elongate the muscle before you actually contract it, you’re actually making it slightly weaker so if you stretch the muscles afterwards that’s better.

You should dynamic stretch for a good five minutes, even if you’re running. If it’s a running race, I’ll do a light run before hand for 20-30 minutes. I’ll do a warm up of whatever the sport is, whether its cycling or swimming. So if you’re trying to break a world record on breaks, you’ve gotta be warmed up. However, for weights, you do dynamics and then your set. You take it easy because that forms another part of your warm up.”

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Say Good-Bye to Your Love Handles

They’re called cutesy names such as muffin tops and love handles, but let’s face it, no one loves the roll of flab that pops over the waistband of your jeans and ruins the sleek line of fitness clothes, clingy sweaters, and tailored shirts.

“Love handles are one of the most common reasons people exercise and hire a personal trainer,” observes certified trainer Jason Keigher CSCS, CPT, who works with clients in New York City. It’s often after an ab workout consisting of thousands of crunches that frustration finally leads people to get help from a fitness pro.

“Most people think that doing crunches will get rid of love handles, but they are misinformed,” Keigher says. When done properly, crunches do tone muscles, but the problem is, love handles don’t contain an ounce of muscle. They’re fat, and to burn fat you need a healthy diet and a rigorous cardiovascular program, he explains.

Work your body correctly, and you will certainly see results, says Sylvia Nasser, a certified personal trainer on Long Island, N.Y. Read on to learn how to trim the fat.

Getting Rid of Love Handles: Your Strategy

Nasser recommends an overall plan for 30 to 45 minutes of cardio three to four times a week, strength training (including the exercises below) two to three times a week, and a day of rest every week so your body can rebuild muscle. She emphasizes that using a variety of cardio approaches will be the most effective — don’t just stick to only the elliptical or just a few spinning classes. Getting stuck in a cardio routine can lead to a plateau. Instead, you want to keep challenging different muscle groups. She’s also a fan of high-intensity interval training programs to burn fat, instead of working at the same steady pace throughout your workout. On the treadmill, for instance, alternate two minutes at your usual pace with 1 minute at a faster speed.

Your initial goals will be weight loss and trimming down the fat. Once you’ve done that — or at least made significant headway — you can start to tone the muscles underneath your love handles. As you burn fat and increase your metabolism through building muscle, that extra padding will eventually go away.

Before you get started, Keigher has a caution for women who may have a diastasis, a midline split in the abdominal muscles around the bellybutton, usually a post-pregnancy problem. First, check with a doctor and a trainer for ways to correct the diastasis and then get their go-ahead to do this type of ab workout.

Ab Workout: Kiss Love Handles Goodbye

Make these five exercises part of your plan to tone waist and hips:

1. Bicycle Crunches: “This exercise will work your internal and external obliques as well as the rectus abdominis ,” Keigher says.

  • Lie on your back, knees bent.
  • Place hands behind your head without interlacing your fingers. Lift your head slightly.
  • Twist so that your left elbow goes toward your right knee while you extend your left leg.
  • Pull your leg back in and extend the other leg, twisting so that your right elbow goes toward your left knee.
  • Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

2. Standing Trunk Twists

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Keep hips and legs facing forward as you twist to the right, extending your left arm out (like a punch) to the right.
  • Twist in the opposite direction (left), extending your right arm out in a punch to the left.
  • Aim for 100 repetitions.

3. Lying Leg Twist

  • Lie on your back with your arms stretched out to the sides, hands flat on your mat.
  • Lift legs and bend knees so that your calves are parallel to the floor and your thighs form a 90-degree angle with your torso.
  • Lower both legs together to one side so that your outer right thigh touches the ground on the right side, maintaining the 90-degree angle.
  • Return them to center and then lower to the other side so that your outer left thigh touches the ground.
  • Build up to 3 sets of 25 reps each.

4. Side Planks: “This exercise strengthens your core, in the front and the back,” Nasser explains.

  • Lie down on your right side, leaning on your elbow.
  • Extend your legs out straight, with your feet stacked. The edge of your right foot should be on the floor.
  • Use your core to hold your body up in a straight line (you can modify it by putting your right knee down on the floor if you need support). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, or longer if you can.
  • Lower yourself fully to the floor and switch sides.
  • For added challenge, lift the top leg and hold it up so that it is not touching the bottom leg.
  • Holding each side for about 30 seconds, do four or five reps, and increase as you get stronger.

5. Seated Russian Twists

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Hold your arms out in front of you, hands pressed together.
  • Lean back about 45 degrees. With a slow, controlled movement, twist to your left side. Return to center, and twist to your right. That’s one rep.
  • One full rep should take about 20 seconds. Take a breath and repeat. Start with four to five reps, adding more reps as you get stronger.
  • For an added challenge, lift your feet off the floor as you do this exercise.

You shouldn’t have to wait too long for results, Nasser says. If you eat a healthy, low-fat diet, burn more calories than you take in, and enjoy a good mix of cardio and ab workout time, you’ll watch your love handles start to melt away within a few weeks.

6 Love Handle Workouts For Men

Excessive belly fat around the waistline or the love handles work against the body while performing the daily routine. Not only do they hinder movement and decrease the overall flexibility of the body but also pose a health hazard.

Say no to Love Handles

Therefore, it is imperative the one activates the obliques with a targeted workout program. Moreover, performing these exercises goes a long way in reducing belly fat around the waistline to get in shape.

Nevertheless, always include warm-up exercises before toning the obloquies to improve blood circulation and flex the target muscle group. Furthermore, it is imperative that one switches to a healthy diet that has loads of lean protein, which is quintessential for muscle building while also accelerating weight loss.

Let us look closer at the six exercises that you could perform to lose belly fat and get rid of love handles.

#1 Bicycle Crunch


Step 1: Lie on the floor in a supine position with your feet placed close together. Place your hands on the back of your head without interlocking your fingers.

Step 2: Gradually bring the left knee towards the torso while simultaneously moving your neck and head towards the chest region. Ensure that the right elbow touches the left knee in this position.

Step 3: Hold the contraction for a second and return to the initial position. Repeat the same motion on the other side to complete one rep.

Perform the exercise for the recommended number of times.

Important tip: People with lower back problems must exercise caution while performing this exercise.

#2 Side Plank


Step 1: Lie on the floor on your side with feet placed on top of each other.

Step 2: Raise the lower arm such that the forearm is parallel to the floor. The body must rest on the forearm and the legs.

Step 3: Hold the position for 30 seconds and return to the initial position. Perform the same motion on the other side for a well-balanced activation of the obliques.

Repeat the exercise for the recommended number of times.

Important tips: Perform the side plank while wearing a weighted vest for an increased challenge. Do not let your body sag towards the floor while performing this exercise.

#3 Russian Twist


Step 1: Sit on the floor with your feet placed close together. Slightly bend your knees such that the legs form an arch with the floor. Place your arms in front of the chest either in a fully extended position or in a slightly bent position.

Step 2: Slowly twist your torso to the right and swing your arms in the same direction.

Step 3: Pause for a second and return to the initial position. Repeat the same motion on the other side to complete one rep.

Perform the exercise for the recommended number of repetitions.

Important tip: Perform the Russian twist while holding a weight plate or a dumbbell to burn calories at a faster pace.

#4 Woodchoppers


Step 1: Stand straight with your feet placed shoulder-width apart, and secure a dumbbell in both the hands and place it in front of your hips.

Step 2: Twist your torso to the left and raise the dumbbell until it is in line with the shoulders.

Step 3: Pause for a second and swing the dumbbell to the lower-right. Keep in mind to slightly squat while performing this motion for maximum efficiency.

Step 4: Hold for a moment and return to the starting position. Repeat the same motion on the other side to complete one step.

Perform the exercise for the recommended number of times.

Important tip: Beginners must exercise caution while selecting an appropriate weight as an improper form while performing the woodchoppers could lead to a serious rotator cuff injury.

#5 Mountain Climbers


Step 1: Lie on the floor in a plank position and quickly transition yourself into a plank position. Fully extend your arms such that the entire body is resting on the palms and the toes.

Step 2: Explosively bring the right knee towards the chest while keeping a stationary torso. Ensure that the arms are straight throughout the duration of the exercise.

Step 3: Hold the contraction for a moment and return to the starting position. Perform the same motion using the other leg to complete one rep.

Repeat the exercise for the recommended number of times.

Important tip: Perform the mountain climbers with a twist instead of the regular version of the exercise for added resistance and improved customisability.

#6 Kettlebell Side Swing


Step 1: Stand straight with your feet placed slightly wider than the distance between the shoulders. Secure the kettlebell with both the hands and position it in front of the hips.

Step 2: Gradually swing your arms to the left while maintaining a straight torso such that the kettlebell and the arms form an acute angle with the upper body.

Step 3: Pause for a second and return to the starting position. Repeat the same motion on the other side to complete one rep.

Perform the exercise for the recommended number of times.

Important tip: Ensure that your arms are fully extended throughout the duration of the exercise.

Best gym equipment for abs and love handles

By James / December 8, 2016

It’s on the top of the list of almost everyone who strives to get fit – abs. A six pack. A flat stomach. Losing the love handles. However you dress it up, whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s important to us all. So what’s the best gym equipment for abs and love handles that we can use daily to get where we want? Read on!

Best gym equipment for abs and love handles – At Home!

There are loads of options for your abdominals from ab crunch machines to vibration belts so depending on how you want to attack your tummy you’ll no doubt find something for you. Here’s our pick of some of the best fitness equipment for abs on the market right now. (Don’t forget to check out pull up bars too for some good abdominal workouts)

Wonder Core Smart Total Body Exercise System

This is one of the most popular ‘ab machines’ around at the moment, but as you’ll see it will do more than just work your core. I’ve done a more indepth review here if you’d like to check that out.

The main exercises that you’ll do with this machine will focus on your abs – upper middle and lower abs, and also on your obliques so you can be sure you’ll be giving your core area a really good workout. You can also use it for push ups, tricep dips and other exercises too so it’ll give your upper body a workout also.

There is adjustable resistance on the ‘arms’ of the machine so once you start working with it you’ll be able to make your exercises harder as well.

You get a DVD with the machine, a non slip mat and an exercise and nutrition guide. It’s really a good buy since you do get so much with it and it can offer you way more than just an ab machine.

Check out this item, including all the reviews, on Amazon here

Ab wheel roller

Getting an ab roller has been on of the best things for my own personal workouts. I use it every day and it’s really brought a big difference to me – I suffer from a back problem and by strengthening my abs and core with this it’s helped support me more.

Ab rollers are so easy to use – yes you need a little space to do the workout, but it’s not too bad and they are small enough to store away easily too. Make sure you use the mat for your knees as it can hurt if you don’t! It comes with the kit though, don’t worry.

I’ve chosen this Fitness Box set as a good option as not only do you get the wheel but you also can get some push up bars as well which are another of my favourite small home gym equipment pieces. It’s a really good value kit and would be a great starter set for anyone hoping to build up what they have at home to work out.

Check out this kit on Amazon here.

Wonder Core 2 Twisting Seat and Rower

I’ll admit – this piece of equipment looks a little uncomfortable! But it’s a good option if you want a more all round item to put in your home gym. It comes from the same makers as the ab machine above and this one has 12 exercises that you can do, many of them designed for your abs and obliques.

You can use it as an abdominal bench, simply hooking your feet under and doing sit ups, you can use the resistance bands that are built in to do some rowing actions too.

I’d say this one might be slightly more advanced, as it provides a big range of motions when doing your ab crunches – so if you’re looking for something good to expand on work you’ve done previously this would be a good option.

Check out the latest price on Amazon here.

What equipment to use in a gym for abs

If you’re in the gym and wanting to use some of their equipment for abdominal work then here’s a few ideas of things to try.

  • If you don’t have one at home, pull up bars are a good way to do an ab workout that doesn’t involve sit ups.
  • Many gyms have exercise balls that are good to use. They are much gentler on your back if you’re doing sit ups and also the balancing can strengthen your core
  • A cable fly machine is good – pull down exercises will work your abs (see the video below)


4 Tips to Get Rid of Your Muffin Top

Whether it’s for health reasons, to lessen the risk of disease,(1) or simply because you want your clothes to fit better – getting rid of lower belly fat can be really tough. The worst part is that you could be wasting your time on the wrong approach. Are belly exercises really the best way to get rid of your “love handles” or “muffin top”?

The truth about leaner abs is…

  • Reducing belly fat takes time and continuous effort
  • You should work on improving your nutrition first to encourage overall fat loss (and not specific exercises to “tighten your abs,” which is secondary.)

Avoid focusing on the “love handles”/“muffin top”

Trying to fix a certain “flaw” often leads to crash diets and useless exercises. You’ll invest so much effort and impatiently wait to see the “love handles” melt, which doesn’t happen as fast as you might expect. This causes frustration and you could be tempted to completely give up.

A more rewarding approach would be to focus on your body as a whole, because in truth, there are no special exercises that make “love handles” disappear. Your body is the vehicle with which you experience life – improving your lifestyle will make you fitter, happier, and more content overall – not just fit better in your jeans. Here’s how to do it…

4 tips to reduce belly fat long-term

The following tips are prioritized based on how much of an impact they have on reducing belly fat. That means if you incorporate them one at a time and start with #1, you will experience the most success.

1. Cut calories (moderately, but consistently!)

Putting your body in a fat loss mode is the only way you will eventually lose the excess abdominal fat and keep it off.

Sustainable weight loss is based on a moderate, steady calorie deficit. To make sure that you are in a moderate deficit you need to calculate how many calories you burn (your Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and how much you eat. Aim for about 300-500 calories below your TDEE. Check out these tips on how to start you weight loss journey.

Is there a specific diet that is recommended for getting rid of love handles?

No, as long as you are able to maintain the necessary deficit and not eat too little, you are doing it right. Think about what is the least amount of calories I need to cut to see results – not what is the lowest number of calories I can function on. This expert diet review will teach you all you need to know!

Here are some more ways to cut calories and lose belly fat:

  • Learn to estimate portion sizes
  • Plan your snacks instead of snacking randomly whenever something is around

2. Eat more protein & less sugar

Protein supports your body transformation

Protein is the building block of your body and it becomes especially important when you are trying to change your body composition. And it’s not just when it comes to building muscles. Protein is also extremely important when trying to lose fat. By eating enough protein you make sure not to lose muscle mass. Plus, it makes you feel full longer. Find out all you need to know about protein.

Sugar can mess up your plans

There is hidden sugar in many common foods. When we consume so much added sugar, it’s almost as if our taste buds get “addicted” to it. If you crave sweets after a meal because you are used to having dessert, you are unlikely to reach for a banana to satisfy the urge (even though it has plenty of natural sugar). And once you take that first cookie it’s so hard to stop. This makes it extremely hard to maintain the calorie deficit. Consider a 30-day no-sugar challenge and see how that experience shapes your view of nutrition.

Do I really have to cut all sugar to lose love handles?

Not really. Losing weight is not about extremes. You can still eat occasional desserts. The key is portion size and maintaining a steady calorie deficit.

3. Get more sleep

The importance of sleep if often underestimated when it comes to weight loss. You can read countless studies and lists of benefits of sleep, but nothing will be as convincing as simply doing an experiment yourself. Often we are not aware of how sleep-deprived we are and the consequences it has on our appetite, cravings, mood, motivation…

Make it a priority to get the best quality sleep you can for a couple of days and observe how it affects your cravings and moods. This sleep calculator will help you determine the optimal wake up time based on sleep cycles.

4. Fix your workout plan

Just because it’s #4 doesn’t mean workouts aren’t important for losing belly fat. But remember, they can’t make up for poor nutritional habits.

If you don’t have a workout plan – get one! Why not start with a 12-week bodyweight training plan you can do at home?

If you do have a workout plan, it’s time to evaluate its effectiveness:

  • Is your workout plan focused on “abs exercises for love handles”? Doing targeted ab work shouldn’t be your top priority. Focus on full body workouts and add extra ab work only if time allows.
  • Do you workout less than 3 times per week? Aim for at least 3 workouts per week.
  • Are your workouts always the same? Your plan should include a variety of workouts, so that you don’t get used the same routine.

  • Do you only do cardio? Make sure to include strength training, too. It will change your body composition faster, growing muscle and reducing fat.
  • Does your plan lack high intensity workouts and/or intervals? HIIT workouts, Tabatas, and interval runs are great calorie burners!

Each question you answer with “yes” indicates that your workout plan is less effective for weight loss than it could be.


Are special exercises for love handles the best way to reduce lower belly fat?

Exercises focused on your side abs are not going to burn the fat that you have sitting there. You need to maintain a moderate calorie deficit to lose fat.

Do abs exercises make a difference in losing belly fat at all?

While abs exercises don’t speed up your weight loss, there is definitely value in training your abs. Your midsection transfers force throughout the body and stabilizes your posture. Besides that, doing abs exercises will help you “discover your abs”. Most people only feel their stomach. Learning to feel your ab muscles will improve your relationship with your body and make you more efficient in all movements.

Bottom line:

Change your eating habits, get enough sleep and protein, stop ravenous sugar cravings, and adjust your workout plan. If you do this, your lifestyle will already be changing in a healthier direction. And if you’re still looking for a special workout for your love handles after implementing the suggestions above, feel free to add this “muffin top workout” to your schedule:


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:

Amazon Fit After 40 Workout DVD Prevention $29.95

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:

  1. Bend one knee at a time in plank, also known as baby bends.
  2. Sweep one leg out to the side while your torso holds steady.
  3. Rotate from center into side planks.
  4. 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.

Best Ab Exercises for Love Handles

Compound Exercises

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-fiber 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 fiber 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.

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Tiffany Ayuda Tiffany Ayuda, a senior editor at Prevention and certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise, has specialized in fitness, health, and general wellness topics in her previously editorial roles at Life by Daily Burn, Everyday Health, and South Beach Diet.

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