Burn fat fast with our super-easy guide to losing your love handles
Getting your body into a fat burning zone is key to help you lose stubborn love handles. At the most basic level, body fat is simply a store of energy waiting to be used. Fat cells are present under the skin and around vital organs and exist to cushion and insulate the body. We’re all born with a certain number of fat cells, which will dictate our basic appearance, but these cells have an almost unlimited ability to expand and store energy if we regularly put more food into our bodies than we need. They also have the ability to divide to create more fat cells if the situation becomes really extreme and even more storage space is required.
Body fat accumulates when either we eat too much food containing fat, or we eat more food than our body needs at any given time. This is why portion sizes and the timing of meals and snacks is so important. Too much of anything in one go will be converted by our body and end up increasing our fat stores. That’s the bad news, now the good news. Fat burning is easy.
Work in your fat-burning zone
If you want to get started with losing your love handles, a good way to do this is to use the machines in the gym and work in what’s known as the ‘fat-burning zone’, which is around 60 to 70 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Most gym machines will have a chart on the console showing you roughly where your heart rate should be to stick in this zone for the duration of your workout.
There is one word of caution with the fat-burning zone, though. It’s useful to exercise at this intensity if you’re new to exercise, as you’ll be able to take advantage of the body’s ability to burn proportionally more energy from fat stores than from muscle glycogen. However, once you’re confident with your exercise, it’s not the proportion of energy from fat that you burn that’s really important, but the total amount of fat calories expended per workout.
To maximise this you’ll need to push your heart rate further up towards its maximum on a regular basis. Remember also that when it comes to effective fat burning, the frequency of your exercise is as important as the intensity. Regular activity will encourage your body to seek energy more readily from fat stores than from muscle glycogen turning you, over time, into a very efficient fat-burning machine.
The best exercise
If you’re training in the gym, cardio machines that work the whole body are the best to help lose your love handles and tone up all over. That’s the treadmill, cross-trainer and the rower. The other machines – the bike and the stepper – will still work you hard, but there is a limit to how high your heart rate will rise while your top half isn’t doing much work. Remember, the higher your heart rate, the more energy you’re expending and the more fat calories you’re burning.
Strength-training is also important for fat burning, as it creates more muscle tissue around the body, which helps to keep your metabolism running fast. The faster your metabolism runs, the more likely you are to burn off food rather than store it as excess body fat. Your metabolism will continue to run quickly for a good hour after your workout, so this is a great time to refuel as the food you consume will be absorbed by the body efficiently and will quickly be used for energy with very little being stored as body fat.
A great way to maximise your fat burn in the gym is to set up a variety of routines where you alternate short bursts of cardio work with one or two strength exercises. This means that you move quickly from one exercise to the next with very little recovery time between. This allows you to push yourself on each piece of kit and also ensures that you won’t get bored. Boredom is the enemy of effective fat burning because, if you’re not mentally engaged in your exercise, you won’t work hard and your results will be slow. For your strength-training exercises, choose compound moves that work many muscles at the same time, such as push ups, squats, lunges and rows. Training with dumbbells rather than using machines will ensure that you work just that little bit harder and maximise your calorie burn.
Vary your workouts
If you want to make sure you have consistent and ongoing results with your fat burning you need to make sure that you vary your programmes regularly and always up the stakes with your exercise. As long as you always make your routines a bit tougher, your body will keep burning fat effectively to meet the increased energy demands.
A final thing worth mentioning is that you can’t burn fat only from specific areas around the body. It’s just not possible to focus on one bit of you that you don’t like and hope that all the fat will suddenly disappear from your thighs or your bottom or your hips if you exercise hard enough. All activity will encourage fat burning from stores all over the body. So don’t focus on exercises that you think will target a specific area. Put together a balanced programme with a variety of exercise that you can do regularly and consistently and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can shed pounds of fat.
Top 5 exercise classes to help get rid of love handles
Non-stop pedalling for an hour combining bursts of really high-intensity activity with lower-intensity moments to catch your breath. You never stop working though, so this is the perfect structure for an exercise session designed to deliver a great overall fat burn.
The mix of cardio stations and strength exercises ensures that your heart rate stays high for the whole class, guaranteeing plenty of calories burned.
Boxing fitness classes are just so enjoyable and invigorating that you can’t help but work hard and incinerate plenty of fat calories.
This class includes moves from a whole host of martial arts to keep you on your toes and keep those fat calories burning.
You can see how effective dancing is for weight-loss every year in Strictly Come Dancing, as the contestants shrink weekly before our eyes. So get your dancing shoes on and say goodbye to plenty of unwanted body fat.
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