I frequently hear questions about “spot reduction” and “love handles” are a common place where people would like to reduce their body fat.
Also common are the myths many people believe about losing body fat, especially when it comes to losing body fat off of specific areas.
You cannot “spot-reduce” any area of your body. To lose body fat off of this area (your “love handles”) you must lose body fat. Period. The areas where fat is deposited are genetically predetermined. Some people are predisposed to depositing excess fat on the buttocks and legs, some in the abdominal area, some on the sides, etc.
You can tighten the abdominal muscles beneath the body fat, but in order to see these muscles, you must eliminate the fat over them. Many types of standard crunches will work the muscles in the front abdominal area (rectus abdominis), but in order to tighten the muscles on the side area of the abdominals, exercises for the oblique abdominals must be done. Understand that even the best set of abdominals can be covered with body fat and therefore, not visible. Abdominal exercises will tighten your middle so that when you do lose your excess body fat you will have a nice, tight waistline that is exposed.
To lose excess body fat, do so through proper nutrition, portion control, and participation in regular, well-planned exercise. Remember that calories do count and just cutting back on fatty foods will not necessarily result in the loss of body fat. Research has shown that despite eating a diet that is lower and lower in fat, many people are still gaining weight because they are simply consuming too many calories. It is also important to understand that health and fitness are lifestyles, not short-term propositions. Be patient and you can indeed lose your excess body fat.
The bottom line is: Lose body fat by burning off more calories than you take in. You can do this by using up more calories (improve activity level and metabolism) and/or taking fewer calories in (make better nutrition choices and don’t eat so much). A combination of the two is usually most effective.