Getting a sculpted body you’ve always dreamed about doesn’t start by sitting on the couch, you have to go out and get it. Eating well and hitting a TruFit Athletic Club for a personal training session (now offering a FREE one-on-one session) can be the best way to find peace with your body and tone up areas you may be struggling with. Whether you want to get rid of belly fat to sculpt your body, or eliminate those pesky love handles, we have the resources and expertise for you. Continue reading for diet and exercise tips that can help you sculpt those trouble areas and become your best, most fit self.
Reducing Love Handles
Love handles, spare tires – whatever you call it, this accumulation of excess fat around your hips can be frustrating. When you’re taking in more calories than you’re consuming, your body will start to build up an excess of fat. Where this fat goes in your body depends on a variety of different factors. And when it comes to love handles, stress, sleep deprivation, diets high in fats or sugars, and a lack of physical activity are big contributors.
High levels of stress create more cortisol in your body, one of the hormones responsible for weight retention in your mid-section, contributing to love handles. So if you’re someone who is under a lot of stress, finding ways to ease your mind like meditation and breathing exercises are an important piece to include in your routine.
Diet to Target Love Handles:
The best diet to get rid of love handles includes things like beans, oats, nuts, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in soluble fiber, as they keep you fuller longer and helps combat feelings of hunger. You should also try to up your intake of healthy fats like avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil, as they also curb appetites and give your metabolism a boost. Nutrient-dense foods like these will stave off feelings of hunger, helping you take in fewer calories throughout the day. Stay away from red meats, cheese, and foods high in sugar. Some other love-handle busting superfoods include:
Eggs – Eggs are teeming with protein and are also a great source of choline, a nutrient that helps fat metabolize in your body. Eggs are one of the few foods known to contain this nutrient, so whether you like them scrambled, boiled, or sunny side up – be sure to get these in your diet.
Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and any other type of berry you can think of are great for losing love handles. A recent study from Washington State University found that berries help to turn excess white fat into calorie-burning beige fat.
Cottage Cheese – Cottage cheese is rich in a nutrient called casein, a slow-digesting protein that’s great for staving off sweet-tooth cravings. Casein can even help you retain muscle mass while you sleep, which is important for a healthy metabolism.
Exercises to Reduce Love Handles:
The good news is that almost any type of exercise you do can be beneficial for eliminating love handles, since they build up from excess calories. However, adding weight training to your routine has been proven to help eliminate love handles. This is because weight training helps build more muscles leading to more calories burned during rest. Try some of these exercises to melt away love handles:
Side Plank with Knee Dive – This is a great exercise to work and tighten your oblique muscles. To begin, lie on your left side and prop yourself up on your left forearm. Extend your right leg over your left so that your body is in a straight line. Be sure to keep your right hand placed on your right hip. Next, tense your core and drive your left knee up towards your chest. Strive for 10 reps on each side as you’re starting out, and work up to 20 as you gain strength.
Walking Plank – Just like the name suggests, this exercise has your walking sideways while in the plank position. This is great for strengthening your core and your upper and lower body muscles as well. Start in a plank with your hands directly underneath your shoulders, making sure your body is in a straight line. Move your right hand and foot to the right, then move your left foot and hand to meet the right side of your body and repeat.
Bicycle Crunches – Bicycle crunches are great for building your core and toning thighs. To do these, grab a mat and lay on your back with your knees bent and hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders up and your upper back off of the ground to better engage your abs. While doing this move your left elbow towards your right knee so that they meet over your stomach. Alternate this from side to side and repeat for 30 reps.
Eliminating Belly Fat
For many of us, stubborn belly fat is a constant problem that’s hard to get rid of. The reasons why people retain belly fat are very similar to that of love handles: stress, unhealthy eating, alcohol intake, and a lack of exercise are the most common reasons. The term “belly fat” refers to the fat surrounding the abdomen.
Two types of belly fat exist, subcutaneous and visceral fat. Subcutaneous fat makes up most of our body fat and lives underneath the skin, and is mostly harmless to overall health. While visceral fat is stored around the organs, and can lead to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Visceral fat tends to make up most excess belly fat, which is why keeping it in check is so important. Wondering how to get rid of belly fat? Follow these diet and exercise tips.
Diet to Reduce Belly Fat:
In your diet plan to reduce belly fat, incorporating more legumes, fruits, and vegetables is the way to go. Some belly-fat fighting foods include:
Avocados – Avocados contain healthy, mono-saturated fats that stop blood sugar spikes, which can cause excess fat stored around the midsection.
Bananas – These fruits are filled with potassium, which helps level out the amount of sodium in your body. Excess sodium can cause swelling in your midsection.
Yogurt with Berries – Yogurt with berries is an all-star combo before you workout. Yogurt contains healthy bacteria that can help keep your gut health in check and reduce bloating. Adding berries helps you get an antioxidant boost, which encourages oxygen to the muscles and helps you get a better workout.
Fruits Rich in Vitamin C – Lemons, oranges, guava, and papaya are all rich in vitamin C, which is incredibly beneficial to your belly fat loss. Vitamin C has been proven to speed up metabolism and help your body burn fat faster during exercise.
Protein-rich foods, whole grains, and veggies are also important to incorporate into your diet too. Avoid things like sugar, carb-dense foods, dairy, and red meats to help melt away belly fat as well.
Belly fat can be stubborn, and adding the right exercises into your routine can help sculpt your body.
Burpees – The best way to say goodbye to belly fat is to work as many abdominal muscles as possible. Burpees require you to go from a push-up to a jump and then back to a push-up position. Try doing 10 reps of these to give your metabolism a boost and work your core.
Dumbbell Lunges – Overhead dumbbell lunges work nearly every muscle in your body, and are great for strengthening your core. To do these, grab a pair of light dumbbells and hold them overhead with your palms facing each other. Take a step forward into your lunge and pause. Next, bring your back forward and step so that both feet are together. Alternate your legs and repeat.
Elliptical Training – Ellipticals are one of the best exercise machines for losing belly fat. They provide a low-impact, yet intense cardio workout that can help shed fat. Depending on your weight and the intensity of your workout, you can burn up to 320 calories on an elliptical and work your entire body.
Incorporating these small things into your daily routine can help you get the sculpted body you’ve been working towards. TruFit Athletic Clubs offer personal training to help you achieve your fitness goals with specialized meal plans and targeted workouts designed specifically for you. Stay tuned for part 2 of our Fitness Plans to Sculpt your Body How You Want blog series, where we’ll give you tips on sculpting your thighs and glutes and toning your arms.