Except for their name, there is not much love for love handles. The excess fat that sits at the sides of our waist and overhangs our pants, much like a muffin top.  No matter what you want to call it, no one wants it. But there are ways to get rid of that fat by eating the right food, exercising, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Here are some effective exercises for love handles:

Ways to Get Rid Love Handles infographic

1. Bicycle Crunch

The bicycle crunch is excellent for activating the rectus abdominis, your upper abdominal muscle, and your side abdominal muscles. Also, you will be toning your thighs as both your hamstrings and quads will be involved with bicycling.

Steps to do it:

  • Lie with your face up and place both hands behind your head, then support your neck with your fingers.
  • Tuck your abs in and the push your head against the floor.
  • Lift both knees toward your chest and right your shoulder blades off the floor.
  • Rotate to the right, bringing the left elbow towards the right knee as you extend the other leg up in the air.
  • Move to the other side, bring the right elbow towards the left knee.
  • Alternate each side in a pedaling motion for 3 sets of 10 reps.

2. Plank Crunch – Sideways

Crunches and plank are two of the most effective exercises for your core. Combining these two into one move and performing it sideways can increase the focus on both sides to challenge your balance, tone up your love handles, and strengthen your core.

Steps to do it:

  • Begin with a side elbow plank with your right elbow down and your left hand behind your head.
  • Keep your torso stable and lift your waist, bring your left leg up toward your shoulder to lightly tap your left elbow.
  • Lengthen your left leg back to the starting position to complete a single rep.
  • Do 10 repetitions on each side to complete one set.

3. One Hand Toe Touch

This stretching pose is a very effective way to get flexible and toned lower back muscles.

Steps to do it:

  • Stand on your left leg with your right leg slightly behind you, raised off the floor.
  • Place your arms straight on your sides at shoulder height.
  • Bend your left leg at the knee and squat down to touch your right hand to the toe of your left foot, then come back to the standing position.
  • Do the same with your right leg.
  • Repeat it several times with both legs.

4. Front Bends

It is known as a relaxing posture that strengthens the hamstrings and activates the legs.

Steps to do it:

  • Stand with your feet straight on the floor and slightly bend your knees.
  • Place your hands on your feet or on the floor in front of you.
  • Breathe in and keep your eyes looking in the forward direction.
  • Breathe out and gently press your legs.
  • Keep your legs straight without moving.
  • Extend your torso down but don’t round your back.
  • Stay long and extend the small of your head toward the ground.
  • Draw your shoulders back and then, come back to the starting position.

5. Side Stretching

The side stretch exercise stretches and strengthens the muscles between the ribs, which help in supporting the love handles.

Steps to do it:

  • Sit in a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor or stand with feet hip-width apart.
  • Lean forward a bit to keep from lowering your back and shoulders.
  • Keep your shoulders, hips, and ears in a straight up and down line.
  • Raise your left arm overhead and bend your upper body to the right in a reaching motion.
  • Keep your upper body facing straight ahead and don’t move it to the side as you bend.
  • Make sure you feel the muscles stretching all along your side from your lower back to your shoulder.
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the stretch three times.
  • Switch sides and do it in the other direction.

6. Knee Drop

Knee drops are a great way to strengthen the rectus abdominis muscle and the internal and external oblique muscles.

Steps to do it:

  • Lie on your back, keep your hands down and feet on the ground.
  • Breathe in and bring your belly button in towards your spine as you exhale, keeping it there the entire time with your lower back flat on the floor.
  • Roll your left knee down towards your left side, keeping your foot on the ground, then slowly bring it back up to the previous position.
  • Alternate legs and repeat as many times as you can.

7. Side Kicks

It is a simple and effective exercise that targets the glutes and helps to tone, tighten and strengthen your love handles.

Steps to do it:

  • Start with all fours and put your knees under your hips and hands underneath your shoulders.
  • Keep your knee bent 90 degrees, lift the left leg until it is parallel to the floor.
  • Keep the right thigh still as you straighten your right knee, kicking your leg to the side.
  • Bend the right knee back to 90 degrees, and then lower down the leg.

8. Side Squats

This exercise strengthens the legs, glutes, and outer thighs for strong, sculpted legs and a fit, toned the lower body.

Steps to do it:

  • Stand straight on the floor.
  • Press your hips back and squat.
  • Stand up, move to the side and squat again.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Repeat this side to side movement as much as you can.

What Causes Love Handles?

Fat can be formed anywhere in the body, but there are certain factors that increase the chances of retaining fat in the lower back, abdominal areas, and hips. Factors that can be the cause of love handle formation are:

  • Age
  • Slow metabolism
  • Hormones
  • Lack of physical activities
  • Consumption of fats, sugars, and fast food
  • Sleep deprivation

Foods to Eat

1. Eat Protein

Eat protein at every meal and snack. Not only is it stimulates metabolic rate, but it balances your blood sugar. Some healthy sources of protein are beans, nuts, seeds, fish, chia, quinoa, dark leafy greens, organic eggs, meat, and high-quality protein powders.

2. Fish

Eat healthy fish like sardines and salmon, or take a fish oil supplement with omega 3. These are great for reducing body fat. It seems that omega 3 oils mixed with GLA (gamma linoleic acid) boost fat loss through increased heat production and increase the ability to maintain weight loss.

3. Grapefruit

Eating one or half a grapefruit before a meal can increase your body’s fat melting performance, particularly when it comes to lower back muscles and love handles.

4. Black Beans

Low in fat and high in fiber, black beans are a power food because they are a great source of resistant starch, they resist digestion, and help you feel fuller. By feeding your healthy guts, beans help your body to produce the chemical butyrate, which helps the body to burn fat as fuel.

5. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are digested slowly and keep you feel fuller and energized longer, it should be a diet staple. Among the various ingredients here are antioxidants which stabilize levels of blood sugar and lower the insulin resistance, which prevents calories from turning into fat.

Foods to Avoid

1. Avoid Sugary Foods

Eliminate sugar completely from your diet. The important thing here is to keep the insulin levels low for the fat burn to occur and keep your levels of blood sugar balanced. This will also help to avoid cravings and overeating.

2. Soda

Energy drinks and sodas are mixed with sugars that will only make your belly fat and your love handles larger. The extra amount of sugars works as fat around the waist.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol is extremely harmful not only for your weight gain issues but for your whole body health as well. It can happily help in the growth of your love handles. Not only it makes your metabolism slow down, but it also has many calories.

4. Processed Foods

When you eat processed foods, your body gets pumped with many calories and sugars. This slows down your metabolic rate while at the same time increasing your cravings for the chocolates, cookies, cakes, and pizzas.

5. White rice

The reason why your love handles have been so obstinate to remove of might be because of your love with white carbs. These types of foods contain an extreme amount of simple carbs. Since not all of it can be used at once, your body stores it as fat.

Other Ways to Get Rid of Love Handles

1. Lift Weights

Lift weights and perform cardiovascular exercise. It can help to rebalance your hormones and increases your metabolic speed so that you can burn those love handles. Cardio is a simple exercise for belly fat and love handles, but remember not to overdo it. Lifting weights will change your body, increase your confidence and make you feel very happy.

2. Reduce Stress

When the body is in a constant state of stress, cortisol raises blood sugar levels and can cause insulin resistance. This leads us craving sugary and fatty foods. The problem with stress is elevated levels of cortisol increase the breakdown of muscle mass and increase fat around the lower back. Start doing cardiovascular activities, watch a good movie, read an interesting book, meet with friends, take a long bath, and relax.

3. Sleep Better

If you are not of the kind of person that believes in working out to get rid of your love handles, then make some better lifestyle changes. One of it can be getting better sleep. Staying up too late can result in weight gain especially around the middle area. This gives a chance to love handles that no one wants to keep. Start by getting seven to eight hours of proper sleep at night, and you will begin to notice a good change in your overall health.

Bottom Line

Getting used to some healthy habits can help you to get rid of love handles and also prevent them from coming back. Increased activity and healthier eating can contribute to shrinking love handles as part of overall fat loss, you can also try love handles exercise machines, but it’s important to remember that this all can also take some time.

But if those flabby love handles are still not going away, then you should see a doctor. They may help you to find the main reason and may suggest a love handles surgery or any medication. But don’t worry, it doesn’t happen much.

Hopefully, some new and good health routines will help you with your love handles reduction. Just have some patience and don’t give up, you should know that you can get whatever you want if you work hard for it.

FAQs

Can love handles go away with exercise?
Exercise can help in getting rid of the love handles but to burn the fat properly, you need to follow a strict diet with cardiovascular activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle. As you will start to slim down; your metabolic rate will speed up and the love handles will start to fade away.
What is the cause of love handles?
Eating unhealthy food or eating more than necessary can cause love handles. Apart from that, age and hormones can also be the reason but the most common reason is not taking care of yourself properly by eating fast foods and not exercising, which leads to an unhealthy way of life. 
How do you get rid of love handles and belly fat?
Avoiding habits that will make you fat is the most important thing you need to do. You can flatten love handles by eating properly and doing cardiovascular activities every single day, it will stop love handles from getting bigger and won’t give them a chance to bother you again. 
Can you lose your love handles by running?
Running is one of the effective way to lose the love handles along with burning all the fat in your body. It is also a great activity for your mind, it can give you peace of mind and can be an energy booster in the morning.