Although they have a poetic name, love handles are things most people wish they could get rid of. Love handles are an anatomical feature that some men find to be excessive on their bodies. Below, we’ll look at what love handles are, what causes them and explore ways to get rid of them.
1 – What Are Love Handles ?
Love handles refer to the prominence of skin and adipose tissue surrounding the pelvis, just above the hips. Every normal man has a minimum of fat cells in this area, but some have more than others. It is when these handles are particularly prominent that a man (or woman) is said to have them.
When combined with relatively tight clothing (be it a slim or sports shirt or a tight jumpsuit), they become even more pronounced. However, they are not caused solely by tight clothing but by an accumulation of fat around the pelvis and in the abdominal area.
2 – What Causes Love Handles?
The main cause of love handles is the accumulation of fat under the skin. To give you a quick metabolic update, fat cells swell in volume when too many calories are introduced into the body. In other words, we ingest more than we expend.
With time (which is more or less dependent on each person’s morphology), these fat cells start to become visible, particularly in certain areas. This is especially true of the stomach and hips. While fat can be stored just about anywhere in the body, some factors make it more likely to end up on the hips, lower back and abdominal area.
These factors are as follows:
- Hormones, especially cortisol
- Age (because a man’s metabolism slows down with age and therefore does not burn fat as quickly)
- Lack of physical activity (which directly burns calories)
- Diets high in fat, sugar and calories
- Lack of sleep (which does not help your metabolism)
- Stress (which leads to the secretion of cortisol).
3 – How Do You Get Rid Of Love Handles?
Fortunately, love handles aren’t fatal and it’s possible to get rid of them by combining more physical exercise with lifestyle changes.
3.1 – The Right Physical Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles
Many guides and videos recommend exercises to target specific areas of the body, including love handles. However, it’s important to remember that fat reduction can’t be achieved with targeted exercises alone. Although these exercises improve stamina and endurance, they often don’t shrink the fat cells.
The right thing to do is to combine these targeted exercises with activities that stimulate your cardiovascular system (specifically: brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling at a high intensity, etc.).
Your diet will also be a key factor for losing your love handles. To put it simply, you should avoid taking in more energy than you expend. However, you should not fall into the trap of going on too strict a diet. If you do, your body will be deprived of the elements essential for its proper functioning, even though you are physically training it.
Here are some targeted exercises to do (in addition to cardio exercises) to effectively make your love handles disappear. As far as motivation is concerned, keep in mind that the first results will be visible after a few weeks.
The Side Plank
The side plank consists of lying on your side and then keeping your body upright by supporting yourself on one foot and one forearm. This exercise directly targets the abdominal muscles and particularly your sides.
If you feel too comfortable during the exercise, you can add hip dips (lifting the hips and then lowering them without putting them on the floor) to intensify the workout.
The Classic Plank
The classic plank consists of lying on your stomach, then holding yourself above the ground by resting on both forearms and the tips of both feet. The body should form as straight a line as possible; be careful not to bend your back.
Cycling abs involve lying on your back and moving your legs back and forth as if you were pedalling. While doing this, your upper back is raised, and your hands are placed behind your ears. Try to touch the opposite knee with your elbow and then repeat the movement on the other side.
The Russian Twist
The Russian twist is another abdominal exercise that is performed while sitting on the floor. It involves raising your legs at a right angle with your heels off the floor. Keeping your legs stable and your back straight, you move your chest from right to left. This stimulates the entire abdominal area.
3.2 – Good Daily Habits
Adopting healthy habits will also go a long way in the fight against love handles; it will also be crucial in preventing them from coming back and your results from being temporary.
When trying to lose your love handles (and therefore weight), you must do so in a routine fashion and over time. Specifically, do not try to lose more than one kilo per week, so that your body can adapt as well as possible. If you push yourself too hard, you will put your metabolism under stress. In concrete terms, it will burn the calories necessary for the activities you are doing, but it will also try to store as many as possible to remedy what it interprets as a crisis in resources.
As for diet, you can gradually modify it, i.e. step by step. Here is a non-exhaustive list of good habits to include in your daily routine:
- Weigh the portions you eat so that you are aware of the quantities
- Don’t skimp on vegetables, which are an excellent source of nutrients while being low in fat and calories
- Choose low-fat protein sources such as eggs, fish, chicken, tofu, etc
- Reduce your salt intake to prevent your body from retaining water, which would increase the size of your love handles.
When it comes to clothing, you can also choose the right cuts to better conceal this part of the body. The best thing to do is to avoid anything tight around the hips, as this would emphasise this area. Instead, choose clothes that are (slightly) wider. When it comes to the cut of your trousers, the idea is not to draw attention to this area. So forget low waistlines and go for higher ones. In the same vein, avoid belts that stand out visually and go for discreet versions so as not to draw attention to this part of the body.