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Feb 8, 2012


Strengthen your lower back
As you will see below, strengthening your abdominal muscles is a key step in reducing your love handles. But whenever you work on your abs, you should also strengthen the muscles in your lower back to "balance" the strength in your torso and reduce the fat on your back.

Try this exercise: Lie on your stomach, lift your feet and knees off the floor and "flutter kick" your legs as if you were swimming. Do this for 15 seconds, then stop for 30 seconds. Repeat twice.

Cut sodium
Sodium -- which can be found in table salt, seasonings, soups, condiments, and many other prepared foods -- isn't just bad because it raises your risk of heart disease and stroke. It also leads to water retention, which can make problem areas like the gut and love handles seem even more prominent. Reduce your consumption of sodium-rich processed foods, and avoid adding salt to the foods you prepare yourself.

Create a "V" shape in your upper body
Although working on your abs is a must in the quest to eliminate love handles, you can also create the illusion of having a smaller midsection by bulking up your shoulders, pectoral muscles and biceps.There is a wide range of exercises you can perform for these different muscle groups, one of which is the lat pulldown. Sitting with your back flat against the seat, grasp the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar down to your chest, pause, and extend arms back to starting position. Repeat 12 to 15 times.

Drink water
You've probably heard it a million times before, and it's true: You should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Not only does it help reduce water retention caused by excess sodium, but water also helps the body metabolize stored fat into energy and suppresses the appetite. All these factors can help reduce your love handles.

Do crunches
Although increasing the amount of muscle in your abdominal region will help reduce the appearance of love handles, keep in mind that spot reduction doesn't work. You can do all the crunches in the world, but they'll most likely be useless if you don't do any cardiovascular exercise and eat properly, as mentioned below.
That being said, there are a number of exercises that target your oblique abs and love handles more specifically. Try elbow-to-knee crunches: Cross your left leg over your right leg and twist your torso, bringing your right elbow to your left knee. Do as many reps as you can. Repeat on the other side.

Reduce your alcohol intake
Although there is conflicting evidence as to whether or not alcohol causes weight gain, alcohol does contain a lot of "empty calories." And since men tend to deposit extra calories as fat in their bellies, drinking alcohol may contribute to those dreaded love handles. I'm not saying to pour all your beer and liquor down the sink, but drink alcohol in moderation if you're trying to lose weight, or try "light" or low-carb versions.

Do dumbbell side bends
Dumbbell side bends are another great exercise to target the muscles under your love handles. Standing up, hold one dumbbell at your side and slowly bend your torso sideways, letting the dumbbell descend toward the floor. Slowly straighten up to the starting position using the strength of your abdominal muscles. Do 15 reps on each side.

Cut calories
There are no two ways around it: To lose weight, you have to reduce the number of calories your body stores. Even if you work out like a psycho, you will still gain weight if the number of calories you consume is greater than the number you burn. Therefore, your diet is crucial in your quest to get rid of those wretched love handles. In a nutshell, you must consume fewer overall calories, as well as less fat and sugar, and increase your fiber intake.

Get into cardiovascular exercise
Once again, it comes down to burning calories so that they aren't stored as fat. Whether it's by hitting the treadmill at the gym, playing basketball with some buddies, walking to work, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator, every little step counts. Of course, the amount of cardio you must do all depends on how bad those handles really are. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you should probably seriously consider that gym membership. If the problem is minor, some low-intensity exercise may be sufficient.