How to Get Rid of Love Handles Fast & Easy

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Despite the name, few people truly love their love handles. You know, those unwanted fat deposit around the hips. They're not just annoying; they also raise your risk for developing dangerous visceral fat that builds up around the organs.

But contrary to what you might have seen on an infomercial, there's no way to lose weight in one area of your body (often called spot reduction). The fastest and easiest way to lose your love handles is by losing weight throughout your whole body, which involves exercise and dietary changes. Here are six tips to help get you started.

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2. Commit to Cardio

Cardiovascular exercise is key when it comes to burn body fat (and that includes that pesky muffin top!). The easiest type of cardio is the kind you'll stick to for three to four days a week for 45 to 60 minutes. For beginners, that might look like a fast paced walk or jog, elliptical training, indoor cycling or swimming. Start with a light five-minute warm-up and finish with a light 5-minute cool-down that also includes stretches. If you're looking to ramp up your fat-burning potential, focus on HIIT (high-intensity interval training). The short bursts of all-out effort followed by a quick rest period keeps you body burning calories long after your workout is over.

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3. Don't Forget Strength Training

Even though diet and cardio are the biggest factors in losing weight (especially if you have a lot of weight to lose), strength training is also important. By lifting weights and gaining muscle, you'll burn more calories every day, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Include exercises that hit multiple muscle groups at once like burpees, squats, push-ups, triceps dips and lunges as well as exercises that target your trouble spots (see the following slides for ideas). Aim for four to five sets of 10 to 12 reps and work out two to three times a week.

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4. Target Your Obliques

In each of your strength training sessions, in addition to full-body exercises, you'll also want to tone your abdominal area with targeted exercises. You can't spot reduce (sorry!) but you can strengthen the area, so that when you drop the body fat, you'll reveal a toned, sculpted midsection underneath. Start by working your obliques (the muscles at your sides often hidden under your love handles). Try exercises like Russian twists, weighted side bends, side crunches, bicycle crunches and side planks.

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5. Work Your Abs

Balance out your ab workout by doing lower and upper ab exercises as well. You can include exercises like leg raises (lie on your back and lift your legs straight up to a 90-degree angle with your body), knee pull-ins (sit up with legs extended out, lean back slightly and pull your knees into your chest and back out), boat pose (sit and extend your legs up and out at a 45-degree angle) and stability ball sit-ups.

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6. Don't Forget Your Back

Since you love handles aren't just about your abs and obliques, you'll also need to incorporate lower back exercises into your routine. This means doing exercises like back extension, superman (lie on your stomach and raise your hands and feet as high off the ground as you can), bird-dog (start on all fours, lift your right arm and left leg, and then switch) and glute bridges (lie on your back with your feet near your butt and lift your hips off the ground). Again, it won't magically make your love handles disappear (that's mostly diet and cardio to drop body fat), but building muscle helps you burn fat and tone the muscles underneath the fat.

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