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Exercises to Remove Love Handles – Fat Loss

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Your weight cut is going well and you’re starting to see some shape, tone and definition. In the right lighting you can just about see the sneaky development of your upper abs too – you’re making great progress.

But you’ve also noticed that there’s still those pudgy little love handles at each side of your waist; and you can’t quite get into those pants yet for fear of pushing these handles up and out like little muffin tops.

Well don’t dismay because in this article we tell you everything you need to know to remove love handles and excess fat from your midsection.

Read on to find out more…

What Are Love Handles?

It’s important that you know exactly what we’re talking about when we say ‘love handles’ because it’s only by understanding more about that area of your body that you can put strategies in place to shred it with nutrition and exercise.

Love handles refer to the excess fat that sits just above your hip bones on either side of your waist, and the belly fat around the front of your abs.

You might know it as a muffin top or even a spare tire, but for all of its lovingly-named pseudonyms, many people struggle to get rid of it.

Stubborn fat loss

You might have been hitting the gym for a few weeks, tried to watch the calories and been more active on a daily basis. But whilst other places in your body are beginning to tone up, you just can’t seem to get your love handles to shift.

We all have stubborn areas when it comes to fat loss – and for most of us it’s out love handles and belly fat.

Stubborn fat loss around your hips is a matter of a number of inter-related physiological reasons. Blood flow, fat cell receptors, hormones and calorie intake/output all affect your ability to obliterate your love handles.

No matter what you seem to do it just won’t shift.

But don’t give up hope, because you’ve not tried everything yet – here are the best ways to reduce love handle fat…

Young woman grabs her belly fat and love handles

#1. Get Lean

The problem with love handles is exactly what we’ve already talked about – it’s stubborn. It wants to cling to your body like a young child wants to cling to its mom on the first day of kindergarten.

But now it’s time to let go.

You need to think long term. If you’re body fat isn’t already getting in the low digits – 12% for men and 17% for women, the chances are that your love handles won’t budge much at all.

Our advice here is don’t worry too much about where the fat’s coming off if you aren’t already lean. Trust us, as you get your body fat lower all-round, it’ll begin to drop off.

And as you approach those low digits, your love handles will finally give in and start to disappear.

#2. Calorie Deficit

You have to be realistic here. Are you definitely hitting a calorie deficit each day? How do you know? Are you tracking calories or just guessing?

Your calorie intake is the single most important part of reducing stubborn fat from your love handles, because without a negative energy balance your stored fat has no reason to burn up.

If you diet in an intelligent way you’ll force the stored triglyceride in your fat cells to separate from the free fatty acids, leaving them to travel to the parts of the cell that can burn them up for energy.

The result? The fat cells shrink and you lean out.

And in case you’re unsure as to just how many calories you should be taking in each day, here’s our evidence-based calorie calculator to help you on your way.

A range of fat burning foods and herbs on a dark grey table

#3. Up Your Cardio

You might think that this one is a little counter-productive. After all, you’ve been told for years that cardio ‘makes you fat’ because it burns muscle and not stored fatty acids. It doesn’t.

If you’ve got time on your hands, then the best approach might be to add in some moderate-intensity cardio – jogging, cycling, frisbee or dancing. All of these rack up the calorie burn and help you shred love handle fat.

If you’re short on time then throw in some cardio intervals – periods of more higher-intensity work, followed by recovery.

Both of these methods contribute to the total number of calories you burn each day but also help to trigger physiological changes inside your fat cells that help to get rid of love handles and belly fat.

#3. Add in Fat Fighting Nutrients

Caffeine is an important nutrient in the fat-fighting war because it triggers the release of a group of hormones called catecholamines. These include epinephrine and it’s chemical transmitter cousin norepinephrine.

These hormones are important in stimulating receptors in stubborn fat, raising metabolic rate and increasing blood flow to adipose tissue, helping to turn on their fat-burning switches.

Using a supplement that contains caffeine and other fat-fighting nutrients helps to boost energy whilst in a deficit, curb hunger and reduce appetite, all while triggering fat loss through thermogenesis.

Blonde-haired woman in orange sports vest holds a dumbbell on a black background

#4. Try These Love Handle-Toning Exercises

We need to be clear here – these exercises won’t shred body fat if you’re not in a calorie deficit. Nor are they a magic cure for carving out a midsection to be proud of on their own.

But they do help to add shape and definition as part of a well-rounded strength program for fat loss.

1. Hanging leg raises

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Reps: 15-20

All you need to do for this exercise is to find a pull up bar and let your body hang free in a straight line. Bend your knees and bring them higher than hip height.

The emphasis should be on flexing your abs, not just lifting from the hip.

2. Chin Ups

  • Sets: 2-3
  • Reps: 6-15

You might not necessarily think of chins when you’re after exercises for your waist. But chins work the abs hard, especially as they have to counter the position of the body as you pull yourself upwards.

3. Russian Twists

  • Sets: 3-4
  • Reps: 10 per side

Put yourself in a position similar to an ab curl – your back is on the floor and your knees are bent. Extend your arms out in front of you and curl upwards until your shoulder blades are off of the floor.

From there, rotate to one side as far as feels comfortable and then return to the middle, but don’t relax. Twist to the opposite side and repeat until all reps are complete.

4. Mountain climbers

Sets: 3-4

Reps: 15 per side

Get into a press-up position with your hands and feet in contact with the floor. Bring your left knee up as high towards your chest as you can and then rotate slightly as though you were trying to touch your right shoulder with it.

Return to the start position and then repeat on the opposite side. Complete all reps without rest.

#5. Blitz Your Body With High-Intensity Circuits

The best way to use strength training for fat loss is to structure your session into circuits.

And there are a number of reasons why:

  • Increased calorie burn and metabolic effect
  • Increased blood flow, heart rate and catecholamine release
  • Short, sharp and intense workouts maximize time efficiency
  • Tones and shapes muscles while burning fat

Here’s a fat-busting, love handle-shredding workout for you to try. Simply complete the first circuit non-stop for 10 minutes, rest for 2-3 minutes and then complete another 10 minutes using circuit 2.

All-in-all you’ve got a 20 minute workout specifically designed to torch stubborn fat.

It’s a grueling, tough workout style, but it gets results. And that’s why you’re here.

Love Handle Circuit #1

A2Goblet Squats10
A3Push ups10

Love Handle Circuit #2

A1Kettlebell Swings10
A2Seated Row10
A3Front Squats10
A4Military Press10


It may seem like those love handles just won’t budge. But being aware of the best strategies, the right way to tackle the physiology of fat loss, and a good, strong workout plan is key to achieving a nice, slim waist you can be proud of.

Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way.

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