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Lose That Muffin Top – Quick As 1-2-3

I’ve always wondered why they’re called ‘love handles’, after all, who actually loves them?!  Most people nip, tuck and tent to cover the dreaded rolls that seem destined to haunt us forever. Thankfully, that doesn’t have to be the case, following these simple steps can help you lose that stubborn fat and gain muscle in its place.

The first step is modifying your diet. Now, don’t get worried, I don’t mean live on lemon water and celery for six weeks. Actually, quite the opposite is true. It’s very important to eat a balanced diet, and keep your calorie intake at a decent level to keep your body from storing fat in fear of not having enough energy to live on. Those special fat reserves usually end up right where you don’t want them, on your stomach and love handles.

Instead of eating three large meals a day, try bumping it up to five smaller meals.  Keep your meals protein packed, and don’t be afraid to eat carbs. Keep your diet healthy, no French fries, donuts or breakfast cake. Whole wheat grains & fresh cooked meals topped with a healthy serving of fresh fruits and vegetables are the best way to go.

Try eating your salad or vegetables before your meats and starch, this will help you fill up and keep you oil and grease consumption down to a minimum. Vegetables and fruits are also full of minerals and vitamins that help you stay healthy and have more energy.  Stay away from processed foods and red meat as much as possible, and opt instead for foods that are low in additives, like coloring and chemical flavors.  Drink tons of water, aim for at least 16 cups a day.  Drinking loads of ice cold water can help your metabolic rate increase. A group of German scientists found that you could increase your body’s metabolic rate by 30% just by drinking water.  Yes, it is possible to actually burn calories by drinking more water.

Ok, perhaps I should explain more, a calorie is actually the measure of how much energy it takes your body to heat up and use an ounce of water.  To help your body burn up more of that stubborn fat reserve drink ice cold water, and force your body into calorie burning mode.  This something you can do anywhere, at work or at home, just carry around a thermos or bottle of cold water and chug like your life depends on it.

Exercising regularly is the key to loosing belly fat. You don’t necessarily need to do hours of crunches, but you do need to get your heart pumping on a regular basis. Jogging, running, swimming, cycling and hiking are all excellent sources of exercise that will help you lose stubborn belly fat.  To get the most out of your work out, find your target heart rate and try to maintain it for at least 20 minutes at a time at least three times a day.  If you have a hard time with discipline, or just really despise cardio, try to find a work out buddy to hold you accountable.  Joining a class or having a friend with you can be motivating and make your exercise more fun and fulfilling.

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. If the routine you did last week seems easy now, take it up a notch and make sure you sweat! The more calories you burn, the faster your love handles will be a thing of the past.  Do strength-training exercises a few times a week to build up more muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, so it’s a win-win situation.  Find a routine that works for you, concentrate on your problem areas, specifically your abs for best results.  If you can handle, and fit in, both on cardio and strength training on the same day, do it! Studies show that you will see the quickest results doing both cardio and strength training on the same day.

Finally stay active! Opt for the more action intense activities, take the stairs, ride a bike to work or walk to lunch. Plant a garden, wash your car, scrub the floor, and play with your kids. Everything you do burns calories, the more active the better, so move it!

Targeted exercise is another great way to work out that belly fat. A hula-hoop can be loads of fun for you and your kids, and can give you a killer targeted work out at the same time.  Time yourself and see how long you can keep it up, or how many revolutions you can make in a minute!

Getting rid of stubborn love handles can seem daunting, but it is very doable if you are willing to put in just a little effort.  There are many simple activities you can do every day to help your body burn more calories and melt away those dreaded love handles.  First and foremost, remember that making these changes a lifestyle is important to keeping the weight off permanently!

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