Losing the Love Handles

Ask the Expert

Q:

Are there exercises to get rid of my "love handles"?


A:

What we commonly call love handles are really fatty deposits that form around the back of your waist and hips. While I wish I could give you a magical exercise to melt away these deposits, there is none. Even exercises for your mid-section won't get rid of love handles.

The only way to reduce these bulges is for your body to burn more fat. You do that by increasing your metabolism through stepping up your physical activity.

But there's a catch: the order in which the body burns fat is influenced by sex, age and genetics, so your love handles might not go away quickly. Even if you're active, the fuel you burn for energy to complete an abdominal exercise may actually come from fat deposits in your thighs. That's why doing exercises in a particular body area in hopes of burning fat in that area isn't really effective.

My suggestion is to burn more calories than you use by eating more healthfully and following a well-rounded exercise program. Maximize your fitness time by doing interval training (see below) and full-body strength training workouts. These will increase your total muscle mass and calorie-burning power. Don't forget to include flexibility and core training as well, to keep your joints and spine healthy.

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