We live in times when our lifestyles seem to be becoming more sedentary by the day. Technology has made it quite common for us to find ourselves spending more time seated in front of a screen than moving up and about. That is not necessarily a bad thing; it is just a reflection of the present state of the world. However, that shift has a significant and noticeable effect on other aspects of living, specifically our health and fitness.
One of the primary outcomes of a less active lifestyle is changing body shapes. You may be well aware that fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Therefore, when you combine less physical activity with diet patterns that aren’t adjusted to match, there is every likelihood of observing changes to the body. This difference is often particularly noticeable in the trunk area. At the top of the list of what you may see is the appearance of love handles.
‘Love handles’- What are they?
Love handles are areas of excess fat and skin that appear on the waist and hips, predominantly on the sides. They are often more noticeable when you put on tight clothing since they tend to hang over the waistband of your trousers. Love handles are also referred to as ‘muffin tops’ or ‘spare tires’.
Love handles are caused by fat retention. If you regularly don’t burn as many (or more) calories than you consume, you will observe a growing fat accumulation. This increase often tends to be centred around your waist and hips. The primary reasons behind the accumulation can include hormones, age, diet and exercise.
The appearance of love handles does not have to spell the end of the world. If you don’t mind their presence, then it does not have to be a matter of grave concern. However, if you would rather get rid of them, you can take a few steps to help you achieve that goal. Targeted exercise is one of the primary ways.
Core exercises are some of the most popular targeted exercises around. It seems as though everyone is eager to work toward the coveted six-pack abs. Core strength is also essential for balance, posture and general upper body strength.
Unfortunately, most core and back workout routines fail because they don’t always help you address the love handles. But do not fret; here are a few exercises to get you started on eliminating those unlovely love handles.
When done right, the plank is a wonderful core exercise that targets not just your abdominals but also the back, glutes, shoulders and, yes, love handles. To perform a proper plank:
- Place a mat on the floor (if you prefer a softer surface).
- Lie down on your front.
- Place your palms flat next to your shoulders.
- Lift your body to a plank position while engaging your abs.
- Check your form. Your shoulders and wrists should be in line, head in a neutral position so that you can draw a straight line from your crown to the heels of your feet. Try to avoid allowing your hips to collapse. To ensure you are correctly positioned, your should feel your glutes engaging.
It isn’t easy to execute a plank, so give yourself time when you first start. Aim to hold the position for about 20 to 30 seconds initially. Then, with practice, you can aim for longer holds.
2. Russian Twists
Russian twists will challenge your core. Better yet, they help you target your obliques; their development can significantly amp up your ability to burn away the love handles. So get on the floor and:
- Start by sitting upright with your knees bent.
- Move your feet hip-width apart.
- Slowly lean your upper body back; aim to make a 45-degree angle with your hips. Take care to keep your back as straight as you can – do not allow it to form a curve.
- Check that your core is engaged. If you feel that it is, slowly move your upper body while aiming to get your chest facing the right.
- Next, move your torso back to the front, then turn to the left. You have now completed one rep.
- Continue for five reps to make a set.
With this exercise, do not hesitate to take your time. Don’t just rush through the movement. Additionally, you will benefit more when you do your best to perform the full range of motion.
3. Bicycle Crunches
Crunches are to ab exercises what Vegemite is to toast; it is almost as though one cannot exist without the other. Therefore, to make regular crunches work for you, use this variation which gets your obliques in on the action.
- Lie down flat, then bend your knees.
- Place your hands behind your head. Do not clasp them. You can position your palms just over the edges of your ears.
- Lift your knees so that your lower back is flush to the ground and your shins are parallel to the floor.
- Engage your core and use it to lift your shoulders and upper back.
- At the top of the movement, stretch your left leg and twist your torso so that it is like trying to tap your elbow to the extended knee.
- Move back to the starting position and do the same on the other side.
As mentioned previously, the best accompaniment for exercise is nutrition. So when you put these moves to work, ensure to alter your diet accordingly. Try to maintain a balanced diet as best you can.
Additionally, you can add supplements to your nutrition schedule to ensure you are getting everything you need for a successful journey. Some examples of supplements you may like to sample include fat burners and thermogenics like XTEND- Original BCAAs, Switch Nutrition- Thermal Switch and EHP Labs- OxyShred, just to name a few.
May these exercises and nutritional supplements help you burn away those love handles and set you on a new path of health and fitness.