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10 Fitness Tips in 10 Days – Tip 8 – Targeting Your Love Handles

This tip brought to you by a question that originated from the pictures of Tip #1.  Someone asked, “I tried everything to make them [love handles] fade, but nothing works. Do you have any tips?”

Any successful weight loss regime will consist of diet and exercise. As for the diet, you have to get rid of the junk and start eating right (see Tip #6).

As for exercise, the trick that Alba (see below) and I used during our initial weight loss and over the subsequent years (before I got into racing) was a combination of both weight training and cardio. We did 3 days of very focused strength training per week along with 3 or 4 days of cardio (20-40 minutes per day) on opposite days from our weight training. The 7th day was a day of rest. (I can give you more specifics about the workouts, you only have to ask).

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Once I started racing, my exercising took a turn towards very focused activities that were geared towards the races, making me stronger in each of the sports along with specific timing of the events.

Since the person asked about particular exercises to target love handles (or anyone thinking about other problem areas), let me touch on that subject. Contrary to popular belief (and exercise equipment ads on late night t.v.), there is NO way to focus on one part of the body when it comes to fat loss. The human body just doesn’t work that way. Although you can build up a certain muscle by targeting that specific muscle, you can not target a particular part of the body when it comes to burning fat.

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In general it seems the last area to lose fat for a particular person is the first area to gain it. Gender also plays a role. Men tend to store fat on the abdominal region (hence the term beer gut and love handles) whereas women accumulate it around the hips and thighs. Heck, in my short time off from training over the holidays, my abdominal region has already started to show this problem.  Time to get back to work!!

Training either of these areas exclusively (attempting to reduce fat in only that specific area) in the hope of losing fat, in that area, simply does not work. Fat instead is lost evenly, because that’s how your body uses it. When burning fat, your body uses the fat stores throughout the body to provide energy to burn. It’s a bit more complicated, but basically that’s how it works.

Another misconception is targeted weight training. A lot of guys will work arms and chest one day, while working back and shoulders another. Although this is great if your goal is to build mass, and it does aid in recovery, it is not the correct approach if your goal is to lose weight.  If your goal is fat loss, training every body-part with equal intensity coupled with aerobic/cardio training remains the most effective means of losing fat. Initially, on weight training days, I did not focus on only one area per workout. All of my weight training days consists of a full-body workout. After I had obtained the goal of losing the weight, then my goal changed to strength and muscle mass which at the time, changed the way I structured my workouts.

The person pointed out that I lost my love handles from the before and after photos, but if you look carefully, the fat was burned evenly over the entire body, not just the love handles. Look at how fat my head was. geeez.  Heck, I even had to have my wedding band re-sized because my fingers were no longer sausages.  We’re talking 3 sizes.

One more thing. Diet pills, fat burners, supplements that promise fat loss, especially those that claim they can target specific areas are stating nothing more than lies. If you look at ANY ad for these types of products, you will find a disclaimer that also states “When used in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise program.” Well, duh. Change the way you eat, add exercise and save the money on the rip-offs. I didn’t use them and you don’t need them.

See you tomorrow for Tip number 9.

Marcus

About: 10 Fitness Tips in 10 Days is designed for me to share my experiences with you to help you lose weight (if necessary), get into shape and improve your fitness (always necessary).  I am, by no means, an expert, nutritionist, or doctor.  Instead, I am simply another normal person, such as yourself, that didn’t want to figure it out with trial/error on my own.  Instead, I gathered great information from successful athletes, coaches and other professionals.  Always consult your doctor before starting any exercise program or making any changes to your diet.

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