The dreaded love handles are often difficult to lose, because for a lot of men, a majority of fat cells are actually located in this area. Women’s bodies generally like to deposit fat into the hip and thigh area to, which can create the illusion of love handles. Unfortunately, when we begin to lose weight, it’ll always feel like it’s happening in the areas we need to lose it in less! But this is only because you have a smaller percentage of fat cells in these areas in the first place and it really is IMPOSSIBLE to spot reduce fat!
Fat can accumulate anywhere in the body, but there are certain factors that increase the likelihood for retaining fat in the hips, lower back, and abdominal areas.
These factors include:
• Hormones, especially too much cortisol (stress hormones)
• Age, especially for women after the menopause (stomach fat accumulation is particularly common as you get older)
• Lack of physical activity
• A diet high in fats, sugars, and high-calorie foods
• Sleep deprivation
• Undiagnosed or untreated conditions that slow down your metabolism (hypothyroidism - or underactive thyroid — for example, can make it difficult to burn off extra calories)
You can’t do much to alter your genetics, but there are other things you CAN control that will help you melt away those annoying love handles once and for all.
As I’ve mentioned before - you can’t spot reduce fat so don’t even think about adding any more abdominal or oblique exercises! Honestly, you’ll only see a difference if you’ve already got low body fat levels.
But here’s what you can do:
· Get your stress hormones down!! And balance your other hormones - for men who’ve had kids and are over the age of 35, we need to do everything we can to keep our natural levels of testosterone up. For women, low estrogen can lead to fat gain and having too much cortisol steals from your progesterone levels.
· Cut the booze down! It’s empty calories that your body can’t do anything positive with it. Nuff said.
· Go to bed and get up at the same time as regularly as you can - this will help to balance hormones, improve insulin sensitivity (which is essential for fat loss) and promote good ‘circadian rhythm’
· Cut the crap - you can’t out train a bad diet! Watch the (hidden) sugar intake. Eat enough protein, good fats and enough carbs - that’s right - ENOUGH carbs. We still need SOME even when in a calorie deficit.
· Don’t be a slave to cardio - TOO MUCH cardio can put MORE stress on the body and raise cortisol (stress hormones)
· Do HIIT – (High Intensity Interval Training) This preserves muscle as it is short and sharp and burns a large number of calories in a short time, and will give better fitness adaptations
· Lift weights - keep it hard and heavy some weeks and mix it up with more volume other weeks to stop your central nervous system being overloaded but keep your body ‘stimulated’
Get in touch with me to see how I can help you personally!