How Can I Lose My Love Handles and Spare Tire?

Question:

I have been trying for 3+ years to lose the spare tire around my waist. I have a very fit body other than this area. How do I lose the love handles and get rid of that spare tire?

I went to a plastic surgeon a few months ago and he said that men cannot usually lose the fat in this area from exercise. He said he would remove about 3 pounds, as that is what I have extra. Is he truthful or do you think it is possible to lose this with exercise? I've tried running forever, but now I can't really run because of two knee injuries (biking is fine though). I just don't know if there is a workable combination of diet/aerobics/strength training to conquer this or if the laser is the only option.

I usually eat about 2000 calories a day. I'm a vegetarian. I eat lots of tuna and salmon and, with the protein shakes, take in about 75 grams of protein a day. I work out 30 min. on the bike at 60% intensity 3 times a week. I usually lift weights 3 days a week, though it has been 4 for the past month. I'm lightly active other times.



Answer:

I can understand your frustration. You are definitely not alone. I've worked with many men who have problems with that area.

Plastic surgery is definitely a last resort. There is much you can do to reduce your bodyfat and that spare-tire through nutrition and exercise. You're on the right track by doing weight training. That's going to really help your problem. It definitely can be tough to lose weight fast, especially right where you want it in a specific area.

How Can I Lose My Love Handles and Spare Tire?

First, increase your protein intake. I'm assuming that you eat 75 grams total protein during the day, as you said. Since you are a vegetarian, I am also assuming that the majority of your diet is carbohydrates with fairly low fat.

Too many carbs can prevent your body from accessing fat stores. If your body can get all the energy it needs from carbs, it will do that before dipping into bodyfat. This could be one of the reasons why you have that stubborn fat that won't go away. You've been exercising and cutting back on eating enough to lose most of it but your body doesn't have a reason to lose that last bit.

Second, continue with your weight training. Use it to maintain and build your muscle mass.

The abs, with one notable exception, don't develop outwards but generally just tighten up when you work them. The exception, as I mentioned, are those side abs known as the obliques which lie directly under your love handles.

Stop doing any ab movements which target your sides, e.g. side bends and twisting crunches. Right now they will only serve to build up the muscle underneath the love handles, pushing them outwards.

Third, change your cardio training to interval training. Here is a brief explanation of how you can do it on the stationary bike, since your knees are injured:

  • Do a good warm-up for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Now set the bike to a very high level and pedal as hard as you can for 30 seconds.
  • Set it back to warm-up level and pedal easy for 30 seconds.
  • Set to high and go hard for 30 seconds.
  • Then reset it back to low.
  • Repeat this cycle for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • This type of training is harder but you will not only burn more total fat this way but you will also boost your metabolism far longer after you're done.

 

 


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