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Question
Posted by: Michelle | 2010-11-24

exercise

Hello!
I would like to know more about exercises for love handles? I gym/jog daily, my body is toned, but my love handles doesn''t match the rest of my toned body...how do I get rid of it? Also, I do ab exercises, to the front and side-ways but it doesn''t seem to become flatter/toned. In the morning it looks good but by night-time it looks as if though i have a belly where my ab muscles are, can you recommend any exercises?
Also, Im on holiday now and not close to a gym, is it fine if I jog for about 20 min daily and do target exercises every day, say, rotate, abs, upper body and lower body every third day? These exercises vary from 18-30 min.
Thanks so much!

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Michelle

This is perhaps the most common question, even those who exercise regularly. It’s particularly troublesome as we get older, because we lose muscle mass and that makes it more and more difficult to combat the body’s frustrating tendency to store fat, which is really the problem here. Our genes determine where that fat is deposited, which is why some people battle with the stomach or love-handles as in your case, others with arms or thighs.

Regardless of the location, the key is a combination of proper exercise and careful diet. Proper exercise means avoiding the myth that you can spot reduce. That is, there is a perception that you can target specific areas for fat loss by doing very specific exercise. Unfortunately, a million sit-ups a day is not the sole solution. It certainly has a beneficial effect, as I’ll explain, but by itself is not the solution. So rather than becoming pre-occupied on one area, your aim should be to increase metabolic rate – that’s how you burn fat. Now, you're already doing this with your daily jogs, but the hardest part about this is that you're fighting against genetics and where your body wants to store that fat, so you have to realise that it may take more training, more high intensity training and very importantly, a change in diet, because ultimately, you still do have fat to burn.

You should then combine this with some weight training. Weight training, which includes sit-ups, is helpful because it increases muscle mass (which has the long-term effect of raising metabolic rate) and because it literally helps create more muscle. More muscle means a more toned appearance. Just doing sit-ups is a start, but you can raise the impact by doing a variety of exercises that target different abdominal muscles. I’d suggest speaking to a trainer at the gym to discover these.

Finally, remember that diet is the great “enabler”. If exercise is perfect, but diet poor, then you undermine your progress. So cover that base, perhaps by seeing a dietician, and get cover all three bases.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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