How to Get Rid of Love Handles (for Men)
"Love handles" is a common name for the accumulation of fat around the oblique area (or the sides of your abdomen) of your stomach and your lower back. These fatty deposits usually develop over years, from a diet too high in calories and a lifestyle that doesn't include enough exercise. Unfortunately there isn't one specific exercise to get rid of love handles.Removing love handles will require a combination of reducing body fat with diet, stress reduction and exercise. Making changes to these areas can help you get rid of love handles.
Changing Your Diet
Reduce your calorie intake.In order to lose body weight and excess fat, especially from love handles, you'll need to decrease your overall calorie intake.
- You cannot lose fat mass from one specific area of your body, but losing weight in general can reduce your overall body fat levels.Over time, you'll notice your love handles will get smaller.
- Cut out about 500 calories a daily. This generally results in a 1 – 2 pound loss each week.
- Start counting calories for an entire day (try a food diary or using an app like MyFitnessPal). Use this number as a starting point. Then, subtract 500 from this number to get an average calorie target that will result in weight loss.
Limit processed and fried foods.Both processed foods and those that are fried are generally higher in calories. When you eat these types of foods regularly it will be hard to lose weight and get rid of love handles.
- Processed foods and fried foods are known to be high-calorie. In addition, these foods may also be high in added sugars, harmful types of fat and a lot of additives or preservatives.
- Foods to limit include: sweetened beverages, fried foods, fast foods, chips, crackers, ice cream, candy, processed meats, frozen TV dinners, canned meals, cookies, cakes and breakfast pastries.
- If possible, do not eat many foods with high amounts of added sugars. Many studies show that foods high in sugar are typically stored around the stomach area and can worsen the looks of love handles.
Replace carbohydrate-rich foods with non-starchy vegetables.Many studies show that men who consume a higher amount of carbohydrates have an increased amount of fat around their stomach. Reduce carbohydrate-rich foods to minimize this and reduce love handles.
- Carbohydrates are found in many types of foods. Examples of carbohydrate-rich foods include deserts like cake, cookies, pie as well as other grains like the bread you use to make a sandwich. Other foods contain small amounts of carbohydrate as well, including dairy products, legumes, starchy vegetables and fruit contain carbohydrates.
- Men need at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Measure out appropriate portions of each — 1 cup of vegetables, 2 cups of salad or 1/2 cup of fruit.
- Try making half of your plate a non-starchy vegetable at each meal.
- Stick to lower sugar fruits like berries. Also, stick to non-starchy vegetables and limit your intake of items like carrots, peas, potatoes and corn. These starchy vegetables are higher in carbohydrates.
- Minimize your intake of grains as these are the most carbohydrate-dense foods. If you choose to eat them, go for 100% whole grains since these are high in fiber and protein.
Replace fatty meat with lean meat.Protein consumption is essential for men when they're working out and following a reduced-calorie diet, but that doesn't mean just any protein will do. Leaner protein can help reduce love handles.
- Fatty cuts of meat like sausage, bacon, full fat dairy and 80/20 beef are high in saturated fat. High levels of saturated fat have been associated with increased stomach fat in men. Reduce your consumption of these foods and switch to leaner cuts of protein.
- Choose chicken, fish, turkey and leaner cuts of red meats. In addition, try to eat items like salmon, tuna, nuts and nut butters as these are high in protein and are considered "healthy fats," which have been shown to reduce belly fat and love handles.
Increase water consumption.Although water doesn't necessarily decrease your love handles, it can help men lose body weight and reduce love handles in the long-term.
- Typical recommendations for water intake range from eight to 13 8-oz glasses (2 to 3 liters) daily for men. You may need more based on your activity level.
- In addition, drinking adequate amounts of fluid can help decrease your appetite throughout the day. Plus if you drink a glass before a meal, it can help decrease how much you eat and stick to your calorie limit.
Begin an aerobic exercise training routine.Cardio is essential for men to reduce body fat, especially around the stomach area and love handles. Incorporate regular aerobic exercise to help get rid of your love handles.
- Men should include 30 to 40 minutes of moderate to intense cardio exercise four to five days per week.
- Try any moderate intensity activity like: jogging/running, using the elliptical machine, swimming, doing aerobics classes and cycling.
Do interval training.Research suggests that alternating between periods of hard exertion and medium to light exertion burns more calories and fat than maintaining a constant pace.
- Join a cardio burn or boot camp class at your local gym. These classes use various equipment to do interval training. It is aimed at developing muscles and reducing body fat.
- Do a flow yoga class. These classes combine extremely hard poses with rest periods.
- Join a running group. Look for a group that does sprints and jogging. You can also time yourself to run for two minutes and walk fast or jog for two minutes. Do 30 second sprints every five minutes.
Increase lifestyle activity.Many studies show that lifestyle activities can offer men the same health and weight loss benefits as more structured and planned exercise.Increase your lifestyle activity to help get rid of your love handles.
- Lifestyle activities can include things like doing household chores, walking during the day, standing and taking the stairs.
- Think about your typical day and brainstorm some ideas of how you can be more active. Take more steps or move more throughout your typical day.
- You may also want to consider purchasing a pedometer or using a pedometer app on your phone. This can help you see how active you are and encourage you to take more steps.
Incorporating Core Strengthening Exercises
Do abdominal (ab) crunches.Crunches are a classic abdominal exercise that can help tone and slim your waistline. This particular exercise will work the front of your stomach muscles.Remember that core exercises will not reduce your body fat or your love handles — you need to reduce your overall body fat with diet and cardio for that. Strength exercises like crunches will develop your core muscles, but no one will be able to see them if there is still a layer of fat over the muscle.
- Lay on your back with your knees bent. Stack one hand on top of the other on the back of your neck. Keep your elbows wide.
- Lift your shoulders a few inches off the ground, until you feel your deep stomach muscles engage. Raise up 1 more inch, so you lift your upper back off the ground.
- Slowly lower your upper back down to the floor. Repeat this crunch in three sets of 10 to 100. Once you feel you are ready for the advanced version, raise your legs so that they are straight in the air or bent in a tabletop.
Do bicycle crunches.This version of the crunch will work into the sides of your stomach and hips.
- Return to the original crunch position. Lift your legs so that they are in a tabletop position. Your knees are bent and your shins are parallel to the ground.
- Raise your chest until your shoulders are off the mat. Twist toward your right leg. Simultaneously extend your left leg out so that it is straight out and parallel to the floor.
- Reach your right leg out and bring your left leg in as you crunch toward your left to meet it. You will not be able to touch your arms to your inward knee. Keep your elbows wide, so that the effort remains in your abdomen, not your neck. Do two to three sets of 10 to 20.
Do reverse crunches.Similar to a regular crunch, this exercise also works the front of the abs, especially the lower abdominal muscles.
- Raise your legs in the air so they are straight above your hips. Keep a slight bend in the knees. Flex your deep abdominal muscles inward.
- Move your legs toward your elbows. Slowly return to a straight position. This will work your lower abdominal muscles. Do two to three sets of 10.
Do planks.This is a great exercise as it works every muscle in your core.
- Turn over on your hands and knees. Place your forearms on your mat in a bend, 90 degree angle position. Grasp one fist with the other hand.
- Reach one leg straight behind you. Pull in and tighten your abs as you do this. Reach the second leg out, and adjust so that your body forms a perfect straight plank. Hold for 30 seconds to two minutes while breathing steadily.
- Do the same exercise on your hands (in push-up position), instead of your elbows. Make sure your arms are right below your shoulders when you get into position. If you have a hard time doing this exercise in the beginning, do it against a kitchen counter at a 45 degree angle.
Do side planks.Similar to a traditional plank, this is an essential exercise that specifically works your obliques.
- Lay on your right side on your mat. Place your elbow directly below your shoulder. Reach your feet out so your body is in a straight line on its side.
- Raise your hips up, resting your body weight on your right foot and right shoulder. If this is too difficult, bend your left leg and place your shin on the ground in front of your right knee to absorb some weight.
- Raise your left hand straight into the air so it's perpendicular to the floor. Hold this position for 15 to 60 seconds. Repeat at least two times on each side.
Do swimmers.This will exercise your lower back and obliques.
- Lay on your stomach with your arms reaching forward at shoulder-width. Place the tops of your feet down on the mat at hip-width.
- Flex your stomach muscles. Raise your right arm and left foot at the same time. Keep them in the air for three seconds.
- Lower your right arm and left foot and raise the left arm and right foot. Repeat 10 times on each side for three to six counts each.
- For an extra workout, alternate the arms and legs quickly 20 times on each side, after doing the slow movements.
QuestionHow many weeks until I see the results? Is this going to work for 15-year-old boy?
Registered DietitianRegistered DietitianExpert AnswerMany people lose water weight within days from starting a new diet and exercise routine. However, you should aim to lose 1-2 pounds each week. This will work for a 15-year-old boy — eating healthfully and being physically active is universal.Thanks!
QuestionIs boxing exercise good for losing love handles?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAfter 8 years of martial arts training, I would say this: if you're talking about boxing drills - bag work, ring work, speed bag, pads, shadow boxing, jump rope, etc., I would say that it would certainly satisfy your cardio and some of your core workouts recommended within this wiki. I would look for other forms of cardio on your off days and make sure you satisfy the DIET portion of this. Abs are 90% about caloric intake and proper diet, and about 10% strong, disciplined abdominal training. Weight loss will occur from diet and exercise, and the abdominal workouts will help to build and define the abdominal muscles.Thanks!
QuestionHow long will it take for me to get used to the exercises if I'm out of shape?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAt least a few weeks or even a few months, but don't be afraid to start out with a low-intensity workout so you don't get burned out and quit.Thanks!
QuestionThree years ago I lost 50 pounds in five months by working out at the gym, but it no longer works. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry introducing a seven day raw diet to your routine, and exercise moderately. For dinner, eat only salad or something light. Don't eat meals high in carbs or protein. During this period drink plenty of water to help the detoxification process.Thanks!
QuestionCan I lose body fat from weightlifting alone?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can lose a little, but cardio is much better for losing body fat. Ideally you should do both strength training and cardio. If you really hate cardio, try doing something fun like boxing, cycling, or whatever you think is fun that gets you moving.Thanks!
QuestionWill running in place help get rid of love handles?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you do it long enough to burn an adequate amount of calories, it will help. However, augmenting that routine with other exercise and diet would get you quicker results.Thanks!
I'm 20 years old and I have a really bad shape, with love handles that keep getting bigger What can I do?
How can I help my 20 year old son lose weight if he is a finicky eater? He will eat some fruit but won't eat vegetables
I have lost 1 stone 8 pounds in 4 weeks by changing my eating habits and staying off beer. I have also been speed-walking. Now, however, my weight loss seems to be at a standstill. What can I do?
I work out a lot but I cannot lose my love handles. What can I do?
How do I lose only fat and not muscle?
- Reducing stress and getting good sleep can reduce the amount of fat that is stored in your waist. Some experts think that reducing the cortisol hormone levels through these good habits can reduce the love handles over time.
- Wear supportive athletic shoes when doing cardio exercise. The ab exercises can be completed without shoes on a supportive mat.
- If you feel any pain or discomfort while exercising stop immediately and seek medical attention.
Sources and Citations
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