It’s hard to come across someone who actually ‘loves’ their love handles. This specific part of the body seems to be a big insecurity for both men and women who often approach dietitians and personal trainers to get help for removing these unflattering bags of fat around their bellies.
If you’re confused about the term ‘love handles’ then you may have heard it some of its other names including a ‘muffin top’ or a ‘spare tire’ – but no matter what it’s called, no one really wants it.
So the million-dollar question is: What exactly is it that you have to do to get rid of this stubborn fat above the hipbone? Heading out to the nearest gym is definitely a great start but there are other changes you can make to your lifestyle to get a flatter looking belly with no ‘spare tire’ around it.
What Causes the ‘Muffin Top’
Before we dive into the tips for losing love handles, it’s important to understand what they are and how they come into their unflattering existence. On the surface, your muffin top may just look like a little bit of excess fat stored around your stomach but it actually hints towards a more serious underlying condition: obesity.
Obesity itself becomes a starting point for a number of other health issues including heart diseases, diabetes and even strokes. Until recently, the most recognized measure of determining which weight category you fell in was Body Mass Index (BMI) which used height and weight as the two determinants to see if you were a healthy weight.
This method had flaws for many reasons, one of the biggest one being that it didn’t take muscle mass into consideration. Since muscle is denser than fat, lean athletes may weigh the same as someone who is obese, but with a much lower body fat percentage. However, their BMI would be exactly the same as long as they are the same weight and height.
Good Food is Your Body’s Best Friend
Now, by good food we don’t mean pizzas, French fries or other fast food that tastes good but is actually poison for your body and may be the actual cause of your muffin top. Good food is what nourishes your body with essential nutrients and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients such as refined sugar, sodium, unhealthy fats or other preservatives.
Whoever said that abs are made in the kitchen probably wasn’t lying because no matter how many crunches you do or how many minutes you walk on the treadmill, as long as your diet is not on point, that muffin top isn’t going anywhere.
Nutritionists and trainers agree that spot reduction doesn’t really exist and if you want to lose fat around your stomach, you’re going to lose fat around your whole body – and the only way to do it is by being in a calorie deficit state (burn more calories than you consume).
Add Some Exercise into the Mix
Once the diet is taken care of, you need to pay attention to your exercise routine – which is crucial for toning the area around your stomach and torching body fat. If you haven’t been exercising till now, don’t stress – it’s never too late to start working out and once you set yourself on the right path, you’ll be melting away that unwanted fat in no time.
Most people make the mistake of assuming that walking on the treadmill for long grueling hours is the best form of exercise. On the contrary, too much cardio may be doing your body more harm than good, according to studies. Ditch the treadmill and opt for high intensity interval training which can burn twice as many calories as steady cardio – but in a fraction of the time.
If you’re new to the concept of HIIT, here is a simple workout that you can try at home without requiring any equipment:
- Choose a few basic exercises such as squats, burpees, high knees and jumping jacks.
- Now perform these movements one by one for 4 rounds, doing the exercise for 4 seconds and taking 15 seconds of rest.
- Once you finish 4 rounds of one exercise, take a minute off before moving to the next one until you’ve performed all the moves.