Kinesiologist and personal trainer Marco Testa explains what love handles are and how to defeat them through exercises and nutrition
Sale. Shopping. The last pair of jeans of that color that is missing in the wardrobe. The zip closes, but some unpleasant love handles right there on the hips, just outside the hem of the pant. Do you recognize yourself in this situation?
Marco Testa, kinesiologist and personal trainer, owner of the Cento Chinesiologico Wellness & Performance Lab in Savigliano (CN) and collaborator of the viveinforma.it platform reveals the best strategy for fight love handles with physical activity.
Love handles: what they are and why they are called that
The ciccetta that all women find themselves pinching on the hips in front of the mirror is nothing more than a localized subcutaneous fat deposit. Their name – perhaps to console us for the presence of this imperfection – refers to the love relationship and to an area that can be grasped in particularly passionate situations.
Sometimes it can happen that the fat in this area is called “visceral fat”, But, as Marco Testa explains, in reality this definition is only partially correct: «The actual visceral fat is the adipose tissue located between the internal organs. This type of fat is the most dangerous for health, because it is more associated with cardiovascular risk and other diseases. The love handlesinstead, they are simply made up of subcutaneous fat tissue localized in the region of the hips. However, it has also been shown that subcutaneous abdominal fat is more related to health problems than that located in other parts of the body ».
Love handles, a nuisance for women and men
The love handles they form just like bacon or any other softer area forms. “We get fat, first of all, because the caloric balance is positive”. This means that we gain weight because we eat too much and / or badly, but also because we do not do enough activity (unless there are metabolic or hormonal problems).
There predisposition to accumulate fat right on the hips is genetics and – common misfortune means joy – love handles are a critical point for both her and him, they are a democratic imperfection: they afflict men and women alike, even if, even in this case there is a genetic influence. “If men tend to accumulate more on the abdominal belt, women gain more weight on the hips and thighs,” says the kinesiologist and personal trainer.
The (false) myth of localized weight loss
Let’s start with the bad news: «To date, science says that, in principle, the localized weight loss does not exist. Doing thousands of sit-ups a week, for example, won’t make you lose your belly. In principle, therefore, weight loss is general: we can manage to lose weight, but we cannot decide where in particular ».
But there is a solution and it involves a joint plan of attack: “Our task, to eliminate the love handles, will therefore be to establish an energy deficit throughwork out or the diet (or, ideally, through both together) so as to start a slimming process that will allow us to lose fat also on the hips, but not only from there ».
Said like this it would still seem quite simple but, in reality, the matter becomes a bit more complicated: in fact, we must consider that the areas on which we gain weight first will be the last to lose weight.
To go into detail, Marco Testa uses a simple but effective example: «Imagine having a warehouse with a single door. The boxes we are going to pack first will be placed against the wall at the back of the warehouse. Then we will continue to fill the warehouse, placing one box in front of the other, until the space is full. To empty the warehouse we will necessarily have to first remove the boxes that are in front, before reaching those at the bottom. The first boxes to enter are the preferential deposits and, therefore, the body will resist when we want to go and empty them ».
Eliminating love handles: the exercises
“The question is not so tragic: if you set up a healthy and active lifestyle, you will certainly be able to eliminate even the love handles”. The important thing is not to believe in legends and rumors: «The race it’s not the only way to lose weight. It can be one of the useful means, but there are also others that are just as (if not more) effective. Women, for example, often fear work with weights, but if it is set up correctly it can be a very effective method to improve your body composition ».
If there is no localized weight loss then also the specific exercises aren’t they useful? “No, that’s not entirely true. Doing a thousand sit-ups doesn’t make you lose your belly, and spending hours doing oblique ab exercises doesn’t eliminate love handles, but they still help. Usually the areas where there is the greatest accumulation of fat are also the areas where blood circulation is not optimal. With the exercises for the oblique abdominals, blood will be drawn to that area, thereby improving circulation and thus facilitating at least in part the loss of fat and the disposal of toxins ».
More specifically: «Therefore, i targeted jobs on the “Core”, the central part of our body, which includes the whole abdominal band, including the lateral area “.
The diet to get rid of love handles
Just like weight loss, even nutrition cannot avoid accumulating fat only in certain areas: it is genetics that determine the preferential areas of fat accumulation. «Nutrition must be correct on a global level and the hips will also benefit from it. However, it is difficult to identify the right diet for everyone: there are different approaches, at first sight diametrically opposed, which however all lead to excellent results. In general, a calorie deficit and prefer “clean” foods. Each case, however, must be evaluated on its own, so the best thing is to rely on a nutrition professional“.