So, you’ve been working out all winter to get your body in shape to hit the beach, but you can’t seem to get rid of those love handles. You’re not alone. In fact, Kyla Gagnon, a fitness trainer based in British Columbia, told the Huffington Post that a lot of people struggle with losing this fat because they only rely on exercise.
“Working the area with exercises will not get rid of the excess fat. What it will do is strengthen the muscles underneath the fat, which is important,” Gagnon told the Huffington Post.
So if you are stressed because all those side crunches don’t seem to be working, take comfort in knowing that exercises alone probably aren’t going to do the trick. You need to focus on eating healthier and hitting the gym, Gagnon says.
Here are a few ways you can ditch the love handles this summer:
1. Eat healthy fats
Foods like seeds and avocado are a great way to add healthy fats to your diet. You should be getting about 25 to 35 percent of your calories from healthy fats. Limit or cut out unhealthy fats (like saturated and trans fats), Health recommends.
2. Ditch sugar and refined carbs
Fill your diet with healthy fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins to maximize weight loss, Gagnon told the Huffington Post.
3. Find ways to scorch 100 calories
Did you know that simply burning an extra 100 calories per day can improve your overall health? WebMD suggests finding simple ways to nix an extra 100 calories per day. Over time, you’ll see a slimmer waist, and you will have developed healthier habits that are easy to maintain.
Simple ideas for scorching 100 calories:
– Add 20 minutes to your dog-walking route
– Shake your groove thing for 20 minutes
– Wash the car
– Walk an extra mile
– Swim for 15 minutes
– Hit the stairs at work for 18 minutes a day
– Swap mustard for your regular mayo
– Ditch the regular soda for diet (or even better, grab water instead)
– Use red sauce instead of creamy sauce on your pasta
– Lose one slice of bread from your sandwich
– Skip the fries, have a salad
– Drink one less 12-ounce beer
Try these workouts to target the love handles, courtesy of Huffington Post:
4. Bicycle crunch: Lie flat on your back, with your hands next to your ears. Lift your legs to a 90-degree angle. Pull your left knee toward your chest and twist so that your right elbow touches it, as it comes up. Repeat on the other side. You should look like you are riding an invisible bike, on your back.
5. The plank: The plank is a powerful body-strength exercise that will put you to the test. Rest your elbows and forearms on the floor and push yourself up into a push-up position. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle, back and legs straight out behind you. Hold for one to three minutes. If you can’t hold it that long, aim for 30 seconds per set and work your way up.
6. Side plank dips: If you really want to feel the burn, try these muscle builders. Start in a side plank (on your side, legs stacked on top of each other, elbow bent at a 90-degree angle, hips lifted off the ground) and drop your hips to the floor, then pull them back up. Repeat 10 to 12 times on each side. Focus on keeping your back straight and butt tight.
7. Stability ball plank: Using a stability ball, balance your elbows and forearms in the center of the ball. Stretch your legs out behind you, so that you are leaning against the ball at an angle. Hold this position for two minutes (or as long as your ab muscles will allow!).
Getting your body into tip-top shape takes a lot of work, but combining a healthy diet and exercise is the best way to make changes that last.