If you’re looking for more effective strategies to help you get rid of your love handles, you’re hard on your own. Despite their cutesy name, love handles are some of the most challenging fat deposits to get rid of. The front and sides of the belly are the first places your body turns to when it wants to store excess fat.
Unfortunately, the process of dropping unwanted flab in these areas can be a lot more challenging than packing it on. Love handles can stubbornly stick around no matter how much time you spend on the elliptical and the abs machines.
Are you ready to start specifically targeting those unwelcome love handles? Read on for some excellent all-around advice that can help.
When you’ve got some stubborn fat clamped around your waist that you just can’t seem to get rid of, the best approach is to take a full-spectrum look at how you’re living. It’s not just exercise that gets rid of love handles; sometimes the key adjustment is changing up your lifestyle or your diet.
Below you’ll find a selection of tips in each of three areas: nutrition, lifestyle, and training. Besides helping you banish unwanted fat around your belly and sides, these are excellent tips for improving your overall fitness level and charting long-term improvements in your health.
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A) Tips For Better Nutrition
* Don’t Cut Carbs Too Aggressively
Burning fat requires you to stimulate your body’s metabolism, and running that engine requires carbohydrates as fuel. Cutting carbs can end up being counterproductive by slowing down your metabolism. Stick with healthy, complex sources of carbohydrates (e.g. oats, sweet potatoes, black rice, etc.) so that your body is getting the long-term energy it needs.
Aggressive carb-cutting can send your body into “starvation mode,” robbing you of energy and making it harder to burn off fat.
* Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Cutting your overall calorie intake is good, but be wary of any diet that includes too many artificial sweeteners. Though they reduce the number of calories you’re taking in, these compounds also stimulate your appetite, increase carb cravings, and encourage your body to store more fat. None of these effects, are helpful when you’re trying to burn away those love handles. So give artificial sweetener a pass.
* Eat Healthy Fats
Fats come in many varieties, and to build a healthy diet you don’t want to avoid them entirely. Make sure your diet includes plenty of sources for healthy fats, like seeds, olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, avocados, and coconut oil. Prioritizing good fats over bad fats will keep you healthy while helping you get rid of those unwanted love handles.
* Favor Organic Foods
For faster fat loss, be prepared to invest an extra buck or two when you’re buying groceries. Organic options have a research-backed ability to speed up the fat-burning process, particularly when it comes to abdominal fat. Organic milk, grass-fed beef, and organic eggs are all excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, both of which are excellent fat burners. Organics typically offer greater amounts of the healthy compounds you’re looking for.
* Eat Strategically
You’d be amazed by how much the timing of your meals impacts the way your body uses the nutrition they provide. You want to schedule your meals so that fat storage is minimized and complex carbohydrates get converted straight to energy. Eating them immediately before or after workouts is ideal. Spread your daily food intake out as much as possible – over five or six meals – to make hunger pangs more manageable.
* Minimize Alcohol Intake
Alcoholic drinks are a huge source of empty calories, and that makes them bad news when you’re trying to get rid of abdominal fat. Depending on your current alcohol intake, cutting back or eliminating alcohol entirely can go a long way toward ditching your love handles.
* Minimize Caffeine Intake
Take a closer look at the number of caffeinated beverages you go through in an average day. Tea and sodas can add a shocking amount to your overall caloric intake, especially if they’re heavily sweetened. The same is true of coffee.
Cut back on your caffeine intake, and if you prefer coffee, try to adjust to taking it black. For added flavour and sweetness, try using vanilla rather than sugar or cream. Use caffeine-free options to curb your reliance on the stuff. If caffeine is absolutely essential to you, try green tea as a healthier way to get it.
* Don’t Rely On Processed Protein Bars
Most of the commercially-prepared protein bars on the market today are candy bars in disguise. They’re loaded with excess sugar that you don’t want in your diet. If you’re looking for a quick protein boost, research how to make your own bars and other treats at home.
* Fat Burning Food Guide
Proteins: Salmon, tuna, shrimp, lean red meat, tofu, protein powder (whey or hemp), ground turkey, chicken, eggs.
Complex Carbohydrates: whole grain pasta, wild rice, oats, quinoa, sweet potatoes, brown rice.
Healthy Fats: Nut butters, olives, coconut oil, hummus, pickles, cashews, avocados, almonds.
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B) Tips For A Healthier Lifestyle
* Sleep Cycles Matter
You’ll find the challenge of getting rid of your love handles that much harder to master if you’re not getting a full night’s sleep on a daily basis. Sleep is an essential recovery period that your body relies on. Both short and long-term sleep deficits can wreak havoc with weight loss and fat-burning plans.
To conserve energy, your body slows down its metabolism when it’s short on sleep. It will also boost your appetite by releasing cortisol. This leads to unwanted stress, and you’ll feel the urge to calm yourself by eating foods that are rich in carbs and fats. This produces serotonin, re-balancing your metabolism. Avoid the entire roller coaster by scheduling at least seven or eight hours of sleep every night.
* Recovery Matters
Leaping into an overly-aggressive fat-burning plan can do you more harm than good if you stress your body too hard. If you launch into an aggressive fitness routine that subjects your body to undue strain, it will respond by releasing cortisol. As noted above, that leads to a slowed metabolism and increased fat storage. Both dietary changes and a more active fitness regimen will be healthier and more effective if you ease into them. Give your body plenty of time to adjust and recover.
* Speeding Up Your Metabolism
Get your digestive system working properly each morning with a fresh dose of lemon water. Squeeze half of a fresh lemon into a 16-ounce glass of water and drink it all before you have breakfast.
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C) Tips For More Effective Training
Many people believe that targeting the area of concern when you exercise (by doing lots of crunches and side bends, for example) will help you get rid of specific fat deposits faster. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. This so-called “spot training” seems logical but the truth is it fails to account for the way the human body works.
You need to follow the same well-rounded plan to get rid of specific fat deposits like love handles that you would use for all-around weight loss. Combine all-over strength training, HIIT cardio training, and endurance training to get the best possible results.
* Build Lean Muscle
Adding lean muscle mass will improve your overall metabolism and make fat burning easier all the time. For lean mass gains, look at exercises with compound lifts: hand cleans, thrusters, squats, and deadlifts. Core exercises that also have full-body effects (e.g. weighted planks and front squats) are excellent.
* Burn More Calories
The most effective way to burn up calories is to add HIIT training to your workout regimen. A good sprinting session – whether on machines or track – can have extended calorie-burning effects lasting up to 48 hours. HIIT cardio exercise will boost your heart rate and help you out with a significant after-burn effect.
* Don’t Neglect Cardio
Boosting your metabolism is vital for effective fat burning. If your fitness regiment is full of undifferentiated workouts, your body may fall into a rut. Keep your schedule varied and include one or two extra-heavy cardio sessions (45 minutes or more) every week. This will encourage greater use of stored fat to meet your body’s energy needs.
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