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February 21, 2022

10 Exercises and 30 Foods to Melt Love Handle Fat

What is Love Handle Fat ?

Love handles refer to the fatty deposits on the sides and lower back of the body. Again, where you store fat on the body comes down to genetics.

 

Some people store fat evenly at all parts, whilst some will stubbornly deposit fat in greater amounts in certain places. Men (typically) will store more fat around the middle part of the belly, the belly and lower back. Women (typically) will store fat around the hips and thighs.

 

This of course is subject to change from person to person, but in general that is the adipose tissue distribution that we see.

Causes of Love Handles

The main cause is going to be eating more calories than you expend. Simple. Laws of Thermodynamics. But there are a few other reasons that could contribute to the accumulation of fat around that area:

 

  • Sleep, sleeping less than 7 hours per night has been shown to increase cortisol, which can increase fat gain
  • Hormones; while unlikely, some individuals suffer from Hypothyroidism which does lead to easier fat gain
  • Physically Inactivity, if you become sedentary, your caloric expenditure becomes less, meaning the chance of fat gain increases
  • Age, as we age we accumulate fat easier
  • Diet, eating a tremendous amount of food (caloric surplus) will cause weight gain

 

Health Risk of Love Handles

Love Handles like any type of fat do have a great health risk. When the human body has an increase in body fat we see the following effects:

 

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Hypertension
  • Liver Disease
  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes

 

In 2016, the WHO (World Health Organization) wrote that a stagering 39% of adults were overweight, and 19% were obese. The obesity prevalence has tripled since 1975. This is worrisome to say the least, as too much adipose tissue has a host of health complications such as diabetes, cholesterol and hormonal fluctuations to name a few.

 

Depending on how your genetics are constructed, you’ll probably have some adipose tissue (Fat Tissue) around your midsection. A big part of that will get deposited as Love Handles.

Anatomy of Love Handles

Love Handles are located around the lower abdomen and hips. We typically see them “flow over” when wearing tight pants, especially the lower back and hips. The composition of Love Handle fat is subcutaneous fat, fat under the skin. While not as unhealthy as visceral fat, it is still pretty unhealthy.

10 Exercises to Target your Love Handles

To target the area where the love handles are located, we’re going to focus on the highest bang for buck exercises as well as core exercises. Spot Reduction is not possible, however training the area cannot hurt.

 

1) Squats

Squats are one of the best bang for buck exercises that you can find, and train the entire abdominal muscle, and because it’s almost a full body exercise, you burn a tonne of calories. You also have the benefit of squats being a great muscle builder which in turn increases caloric expenditure, even when you’re just living your life.

2) Burpees

Burpees, even though hated by literally everyone, are actually a great exercise. We have the benefit of it being a full body exercise meaning we get to burn a tonne of calories, and burpees also train the abdominals and lower back – the exact area where we find those stubborn love handles.

3) Exercise Ball Tucks

The main goal of the abdominal muscles is to keep the body upright as well as rotate the torso, or resist rotation. Exercise Ball Tucks train the entire abdominal muscle, as well as the lower back. Bonus, they’re exceptional for posture!

4) Mountain Climbers

I’m not sure who’d climb a mountain like this, because they burn! Exceptional for abdominal muscles as well as shoulder, chest and tricep strength.

5) Banded RDLs

RDL (Romanian Deadlifts) are one of the best exercises, period. They’re phenomenal for muscle gain and caloric expenditure. They also (when done with exceptional form) can help alleviate lower back pain.

6) Exercise Ball Pass Through

A staple, and in almost every abdominal training program, and for a reason. Trains the entire core, and can (to some) help with lower back pain.

7) Glute Bridge

The glute bridge is another great compound movement that trains the entire posterior chain, and can help greatly with caloric burn. Yet another movement that can help with lower back pain

8) Banded Thrusters

This is a big one, one that really demands respect. This will train your entire body, lower back and abdominals as well, and just burn a staggering amount of calories.

9) Plank (weighed)

Planks, while boring, can help with Transverse Abdominals, which can help with stomach control and lower back pain. If you have weights lying around and you’re healthy enough, try them weighted! Even better.

10) Exercise Ball Hamstring Curl

A great lower body movement that can target your glutes and hamstrings that can help with creating a good looking aesthetic. They also train the abdominals as well.

Workouts

Love Handle Burner Workout 1

Love Handle Burner Workout 2

Love Handle Burner Workout 3

Foods that can cause Love Handles

Disclaimer, any food in too much quantity will cause weight gain. Whole grains, vegan, healthy fats, fatty fish, fast food, any food will cause weight gain when taken past maintenance calories. There is some evidence to show that clean protein might not, regardless some food will definitely be worse for you compared to others in regards to weight gain and overall health.

 

1) Trans Fats

Trans Fats are very common in fried foods and other fast food items like sweets, and there is a tonne of evidence to show that they do not have any health benefits, and only have detrimental effects on health.

 

2) Sugar

While some individuals can do with eating sugar (insert picture about the teenager consuming carbonated drinks but still has visible abs), most people do not really benefit from consuming sugar in any amount. Some on weekends is fine, yes, try to limit it otherwise.

 

3) Fruit Juice

Unless 100% squeezed with no other ingredients, this has no place in your diet. Filled with sugar, you’re better off eating the fruit to get the fiber.

 

4) Processed Meats

Processed meats do contain a tonne of salts and preservatives, which cannot be healthy. Salt can cause hypertension for sedentary individuals (athletes do need more salt than normal people) and processed meats also have a low protein to fat ratio.

 

5) Alcohol

Other than just being great for social environments, this is just awful for your body. Causing dehydration and other possible health effects, and it also contains 7 calories per gram.

 

30 Foods that may Help with Love Handles

While no food will magically burn calories, we can definitely consume healthier foods to help us in our fitness journey.

 

Proteins

1) Lean Poultry

2) Lean Beef

3) Lean Vegan Proteins (Seitan)

4) Whey Protein

5) Vegan Protein Powder

6) Fatty Fish (Salmon)

7) Lean White Flaky Fish

8) Eggs (Egg Whites)

9) Lean Game Meat

10) Tofu

 

Carbohydrates

1) Whole Grains

2) Whole Wheat Pasta

3) Brown Rice

4) Oats

5) Fruits

6) Vegetables (Super important)

7) Quinoa

8) Potatoes

9) Sweet Potatoes

10) Beans

 

Fats

1) Fatty Fish (Salmon)

2) Olive Oil

3) Macadamia Nut Oil

4) Avocado Oil

5) Peanut Oil

6) Nuts

7) Avocados

8) Omega Fatty Acids (Especially Omega 3)

9) Flaxseed

10) Flaxseed Oil

 

Foods to Avoid

Primarily, avoid eating more calories than you are expending per day. However, there are some foods that we’d want to avoid:

 

1) Trans Fats

2) Fruit Juice

3) Processed Meats

4) Fast food

5) Sugar

 

To Wrap Up

Following the workout plans and adjust your diet as needed to reduce the unwanted food and incorporate the food we advised above and you should see results !

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Steve


Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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