3 Simple Exercises to Lose Love Handles and Belly Fat 

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: April 2, 2024
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As a personal trainer, I get many female clients that are particularly interested in targeted body fat loss in the hips and abdominal area. And those love handles can be a problem for many men to deal with as well.

The problem is that doing just regular cardiovascular exercises won’t stop the belly fat retention effectively, as you also need to build up some underlying muscle tone.

I consulted other fitness experts and relied on my many years of experience to come up with a few highly effective workouts that you can easily add to your exercise program.

Let me show you how.

Quick Summary

  • To effectively lose love handles and belly fat, incorporate exercises like side planks, spiderman planks, and core twists into your fitness routine.
  • A combination of high-intensity aerobic training and a strict diet is essential for burning the most belly fat and love handles.
  • According to a study in the Frontiers Journal, two weeks of high-intensity training can reduce the body fat percentage of overweight women.
  • During my career as a fitness trainer, I found that consistency in both diet and exercise is crucial for achieving and maintaining results in losing love handles and belly fat

What Exercise Burns The Most Belly Fat And Love Handles?

Women performing aerobic exercises

A combination of high-intensity aerobic training and a strict diet will burn the most belly fat and love handles.

I've seen remarkable results with clients who combined high-intensity aerobic training with a strict diet. Their dedication to this approach significantly reduced love handles and belly fat in just a few months.

It’s important to state right from the start that you can’t out-exercise a poor diet.

According to an article on Clinical Correlations, if you continue to eat junk food, soda, and candy bars all day, then no amount of training will help you get rid of excess body fat [1].

The type of exercises you’ll need to focus on are predominantly upper body, and the more straining these exercises are, the better the results will be.

Here’s what I mean.

It’s not enough to spend 5-10 minutes doing crunches a few times a week.

According to a study publised in Frontiers Journal, you need to include things like an extended plank position with other high-intensity sets for a full workout routine to see results [2]. 

And it all comes down to belly fat taking longer than we all would like it to be.

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Why Are Love Handles Difficult To Get Rid Of?

Love handles are difficult to get rid of because the belly and thigh areas are where fat cells accumulate first. According to a study in the National Library of Medicine, many different lifestyle choices also influence this body fat buildup [3].

According to another study in the National Library of Medicine, in addition to lifestyle choices, eating high-calorie foods and sugar, and not exercising enough, women can also find it difficult to deal with love handles because of hormonal issues [4].

When I encounter female clients who seem to be doing everything right when it comes to diet and exercise, but they still struggle with weight loss, it’s often due to hormonal issues.

These can be resolved with the help of a doctor and dietitian.

“Cardio activity may work to burn calories, however, it won't necessarily target the specific area you'd like to lose from.”

- Dana Leigh Smith, Writer & Journalist at Eatthis.com

Sample Exercise Routine for Getting Rid of Them

A man doing core twists with a coach

Here are a few abdominal exercises that you should add to your regular workout plans. It’s important, though, not to only do core workouts, as you need to get your whole body working to effectively burn fat.

Spiderman Plank

Get into the standard plank position with your body in a straight line and your feet shoulder-width apart. Now bring your right knee to the left elbow while keeping your left leg. Then switch around and bring your left knee to the right elbow while keeping your right leg straight.

I introduced this to a client who was new to planks. He started in the standard position and gradually improved his form and endurance, which greatly helped in toning his abdomen.

Core Twists

Start in a seated position on a yoga mat. Hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands and extend your arms straight in front of you.

Now move the weight from left to right and touch the floor with it on each side of your body.

I tried core twists with one of my female clients. As she began incorporating them into her routine, she noticed a significant improvement in her core strength and a reduction in her love handles.

Side Plank

As the love handles are on the sides of your torso, it’s important to start building up the muscles here as well. Get into the side plank position and find your balance. To add a bit more strain, you can also slowly lower your buttocks and lift them back to the starting point.

I remember working with one client who particularly struggled with love handles. We focused on the side plank, which targets the sides of the torso. Over time, he not only built up those muscles but also saw a noticeable reduction in his love handles.

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Role of Nutrition in Targeting Love Handles and Belly Fat

When it comes to losing love handles and belly fat, exercise is only part of the equation. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in shaping your body and targeting these stubborn fat areas.

Here's a guide to help you navigate the nutritional landscape for effective fat loss around the love handles and belly.

Understanding the Basics: Calories and Macronutrients

The foundation of fat loss is a caloric deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than your body burns. However, it's crucial to approach this sensibly to ensure you're losing fat and not muscle.

A moderate deficit, typically 500 calories less than your daily requirement, is a sustainable and effective approach.

Your diet should include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats:

  • Proteins: Essential for muscle repair and growth, proteins also help in satiety. Lean meats, fish, dairy, legumes, and plant-based proteins are excellent choices.
  • Carbohydrates: Often misunderstood, carbs are vital for energy. Focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which provide fiber and essential nutrients.
  • Fats: Healthy fats are crucial for hormonal balance and overall health. Sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil should be part of your diet.

Specific Foods to Target Belly Fat

You should eat these foods to target belly fat:

  • Fiber-rich foods: Foods high in fiber, such as berries, leafy greens, and whole grains, can help reduce visceral fat. They aid in digestion and keep you fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
  • Probiotic foods: Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and other probiotic-rich foods enhance gut health. A healthy gut can improve metabolism and aid in more effective fat loss.
  • Lean protein sources: Incorporating lean protein sources like chicken breast, turkey, tofu, and legumes can increase your metabolic rate and reduce appetite.

FAQs

Can You Get Rid of Love Handles without Exercise?

No, you can’t get rid of love handles without exercise. While diet plays a very important role in making sure you metabolize fat reserves, it's also very important to work your muscles to achieve your goals.

Should You Only Do Ab Workouts for Love Handles?

No, you shouldn’t only do ab workouts for love handles. While they are great for building up muscle definition, you’ll need to burn a lot more calories through aerobic exercises to target abdominal fat.


References:

  1. https://www.clinicalcorrelations.org/2018/11/09/diet-vs-exercise-which-is-superior-for-weight-loss/
  2. https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/physiology/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.01307/full
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3856431/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2866448/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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