Love handles, muffin tops – these things don’t sound half bad. Yet that side body fat casts a less than flattering silhouette, which can make us feel less than confident. Stop tucking and fussing around with your waistband, and take advantage of these nine tricks to whittle your middle.
- The Kitchen Sweep
More than half of your results will come from diet. To begin, track all of your calories for an entire week of eating. Now, aim to create a deficit of 500 calories per day. This doesn’t involve eating less if you’re switching processed foods out for healthier choices. Try to burn at least another 300 calories in exercise.
- The Word “NO”
Surprisingly, you don’t have to say “no” to a cookie or a slice of birthday cake – you can still have that once in a while. Instead, say “no” to things that crowd your schedule and stress you out. A lot of fat that collects around the middle gets there thanks to the stress hormone, cortisol. Therefore, sometimes the best thing you can do for your body (love handles included) is take a break.
- Perfect That Plank
Fat loss is just one aspect of a slim side body. Strengthen your core when you practice the perfect plank. Keep your lower belly zipped in as you gently tuck the tailbone, keep wrists or elbows right under the shoulders, and heels pointing toward the back of the room. Never hold your breath, and work your way up to holding this pose for a minute at a time.
- Twisting Side Plank Crunches
Now you can level up by resting on one elbow and stacking your feet in elbow side plank. Place the hand from your top arm behind your head, and twist downward to let that elbow meet the floor. Do your best to keep hips stationary and twist from the core. After 10 reps, repeat on the other side. Do this move twice through on either side for a total of 40 reps.
- The Superwoman
Back strength is really underrated for slimmer sides, but if you’ve ever examined your love handles from the rear view, you know it has to be factored in. Lie face down on your mat, breathe in, and as you exhale, lift your head, chest, arms, and legs as high as you can. Hold for one breath and release. Repeat 10 times, keeping your pelvis flush to the floor.
This exercise is best done with a dumbbell or kettlebell, but choose one that isn’t too heavy; eight pounds is probably the upper limit for beginners. With feet a little wider than hip distance, bring your weight up and off to one side as you stretch the entire opposite side of your body. Now bring the weight down diagonally, landing in a squat. Repeat for 10-15 reps on each side.
- Plank Hip Twists
Beginning in elbow plank, engage your core. Now twist from the core to bring your hip down approximately two inches from the mat as you exhale. On your inhale, bring your hip back up to a level plank. Exhale as you repeat on the opposite side. Do this for a count of 30, which comes out to 15 dips on each side.
- Wide Legged Forward Bend – with a Twist
Creating new muscle in the core without stretching can leave your waist boxy, as the muscles stay bunched together. Get length in your spine and waist with plenty of deep stretching. Begin in a standard wide-legged forward fold with feet parallel. Now place your left hand in the center as you gently twist to open your chest to the right, raising your right hand to the sky. Hold for five breaths, and repeat on the other side.
- New Clothes
With vanity sizing and cuts that aren’t ideal for your unique shape, it might have occurred to you that there’s nothing wrong with your body. If it hasn’t, think about that now. Even if you give your health 100%, you’re not going to get someone else’s body. Life’s too short to dread getting dressed every day – wear something that fits well and makes you feel good.