to Lose Your Love Handles – Not!
OK, I really am going to tell you how you can lose
that extra fat around his midsection, sometimes called
‘love handles’ or a ‘spare tire’.
But I’m going to tell you the truth. My pet
peeve is articles that allegedly tell guys how to
do the same but the techniques are next to useless.
I’m sure you’ve seen the images of a
guy holding a broom handle or light barbell over his
shoulders and twisting his torso from left to right
as a means to lose his love handles. A waste of time!
Or holding a dumbbell in each hand and bending from
side to side. Forget it!
It’s just as important to know what doesn’t
work as it is to know what does work. If you spend
weeks in the gym doing ineffective and inefficient
exercises you’ll get discouraged and give up.
That’s why most people buy a year long gym membership
then stop going after a dozen or so visits. By contrast,
there is nothing more motivating and encouraging than
steady, measurable progress toward a specific goal!
Goals and Measurements
The first thing you need to know is that ‘love
handles’ are created by the deposition of extra
fat around the midsection. (This is common in men,
whereas women tend to have extra fat deposited in
the hips and thighs.) So to target this specific area
and create specific goals we need to know the measurement
of your midsection. Wrap a tape measure around your
abdomen at the widest area of your ‘love handles’
and record the measurement. Also, you really should
measure your bodyfat percentage since one of our principal
goals will be to reduce fat.
Once we are armed with “before” measurements
of your abdomen and your bodyfat percentage we can
create a program and monitor progress every step of
the way. Remember, measurement prevents wasting time
on things that don’t work and it offers very
motivating feedback on what is working.
Losing Fat and Toning Muscle
Step 1: Burn More Calories
There is no real secret to losing fat; you need to
burn more calories than you consume. A great way to
do that is to engage in low intensity aerobics such
as walking on a treadmill, using a stationary bike,
or whatever. The real key is to make certain that
the intensity is low enough so that you can do it
every day of the week. That means you should be able
to carry on a normal conversation or talk on the telephone
while you’re doing this exercise. Higher intensity
than that requires time off between workouts and that
means less activity and fat burning.
Step 2: Tighten Abdominal Muscles
The most intense exercise you can do to target your
abdominal muscles is to perform weighted crunches.
Adding weight to crunches increase the overload to
the target muscles and allows you to employ progressive
overload, which is an indispensable condition to muscular
Lie on your back with the handle of a low pulley
behind your head. Grasp the handle and pull the slack
out of the cable. Using your abdominal muscles, raise
your shoulders and upper torso off the floor while
lifting the weight stack of the low pulley. Make sure
the weight is sufficiently heavy that you can oly
lift it eight times. If you really want to increase
the intensity, increase the weight until you can only
hold it in a static contraction for five seconds.
Each time you do this exercise try to increase the
weight ten percent.
Here is the effective way to do dumbbell side bends.
Select one dumbbell (not two!) and hold it at your
side while standing. Allow the weight of the dumbbell
to slowly descend toward the floor by bending your
torso sideways. Using the power of your abdominal
muscles straighten your torso against the force of
the opposing weight. Again, use a weight that is so
heavy you can only perform eight reps. Banging out
twenty five reps with a lighter weight is much less
effective. By the way, if you hold two dumbbells at
the same time you hugely reduce the effect of this
Step 3: Widen Your Upper Body
A wider midsection can be masked by a having a wider
upper body. While you are whittling down your midsection,
it can only help to add a little more size to your
upper body and create more of the vaunted “V
shape” that is so desirable. The single best
exercise for this is the lat pulldown. You can perform
this exercise in the conventional way but if you really
want to increase efficiency and intensity try doing
it with a weight that is so heavy you can only hold
it for five seconds in the first two inches of the
downward range. You have to feel it to believe it!
Step 4: Measure, Measure, Measure!
Once per week you should measure the girth of your
midsection and your bodyfat percentage. Even the slightest
improvement in these measurements in one week is enormously
motivating. When you have a goal it is very important
to be able to measure progress toward that goal. Don’t
forget this important step.
In a Nutshell
Reducing ‘love handles’ is a simple matter
of reducing overall bodyfat through daily low intensity
aerobics and tightening the underlying muscles to
improve shape. Perform the recommended aerobics every
day and perform the recommended exercises twice per
week in your first month and once per week for as
long as your weights increase. If your weights do
not increase add two extra days off until they do.
Soon you’ll have a tight, hard midsection,
lower overall bodyfat and a great V-shaped taper to
Have a great workout!