Loosing the Love Handles
This week I received an email titled, “LOVE-HANDLES!! Help me lose them.” I have been working on a routine that incorporates exercises that will help you work your love handles (the oblique region of the torso). Personally, I like to work my “obliques” on days I work my legs, so I created the Legs and Love Handles workout seen below. As with any abdominal exercise, you need to concentrate on three areas to help firm your mid-section. These are: 1) Healthy Diet, 2) Cardio-vascular and resistance training, and 3) Targeted Abdominal exercises.
The number one item if you will notice is food intake. As with any fitness and health goal – nutrition and exercise are always the main ingredients to success. Neither can be missing or you will not have the energy to exercise or you will be part of the yo-yo diet crowd, buying a new diet book every year. Here is how I would break it down to get rid of those “love handles”:
#1 Healthy Diet
The most important factor in acquiring washboard abs is eating a healthy diet. Here is a list of recommended healthy ways to help you lose a few inches:
Drink at least three liters of water per day (100 oz)
Eat five servings of vegetables and fruits per day
Eliminate fried foods and cheese
Eliminate processed sugar (for example: sodas, cookies, candy)
Eliminate fatty red meat – only lean red meats (1-2 times weekly)
Diets like the Atkins and other high protein diets may help at first, but to get rid of that last 10-15 pounds, it is recommended to lower calories to a range of 1500-2000 calories a day BUT you must make exercise a habit – both with abdominal exercises and cardio work.
#2) Cardio-vascular exercise
Losing love handles and increasing the metabolism so you can lose weight more effectively are all tied into a consistent cardiovascular / resistance training program. You should do 30-45 minutes of activities like walking, running, biking, or swimming daily 4-5 times per week, but also mix in 2-3 times a week of basic calisthenics like pushups, pull-ups, bench dips, squats and lunges. It takes a few weeks before you start to see the physical benefits or your diet and exercise program. You will see almost immediate results in your energy level, overall mental alertness when exercising daily. The sample routine below will help you better organize exercise into your week:
Monday & Thursday
Warmup 5:00 / stretch
Repeat 5-10 times
Pushups – 10-20
Regular Crunches – 20
Bench dips – 10-20
Reverse Crunches – 20
Pullups – max reps
Hanging Knee up
Cardio option 20-30:00
Run, bike, walk, swim etc
Tuesday & Friday
Legs and Love Handles
Repeat 4-5 times
Walk, bike or jog 5:00
Squats – 20
Lunges 10 / leg
Left crunches – 25
Right crunches – 25
Hip rollers – 10/side
Stretch abs / lowerback
Cooldown walk or bike
5:00 / stretch
LONG Cardio Day
45-60 minutes of walking, running or combination of the two
Or biking, swimming, elliptical gliding machines
Below are some abdominal exercises taken from every eBook sold on the Military.com Fitness ebook Store. For pictures of other exercises, see the Washboard abs article. Sample abdominal exercises are the following:
Hanging knee-ups – Bring your knees as high as you can as shown.
Advanced Crunch – (Legs up) – Lie on your back with your feet straight in the air. Keep your legs straight up in the air for the advanced crunches. Cross your hands over your chest and bring your elbows to your knees by flexing your stomach. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury – place feet on the floor.)
Reverse Crunch – In the same position as the regular crunch, lift your knees and butt toward your elbows. Leave your head and upper body flat on the ground. Only move your legs and butt. (Do not do if you have previous lower back injury)
Right Elbow to Left Knee – Cross your left leg over your right leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your right elbow to your left knee.
Left Elbow to Right Knee – Same as above just switch sides. Cross your right leg over your leg. Flex your stomach and twist to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
Hip Rollers – This exercise will help you build your abs, back and hips to help with long ocean swims and balance out the hip flexors exercises. Twist to both sides keeping your shoulders on the floor and stay in the bent knee position when rotating left and right.
*note – Anytime you work your abs, you should also exercise your lower back to build balance in your torso.
Lower Back Exercise – Swimmers – Lie on your stomach and lift your feet and knees off the floor by flutter kicking repeatedly as if you were swimming freestyle.