Monday, April 1, 2013

How to get rid of love handles.

I get these type of questions all the time. I have fat there and there. How do I get rid of it? If I do crunches, do I get rid of my tummy fat? If I do chest presses, will my boobs disappear? Etc etc. People still seem to believe that they burn fat there where they are using their muscles. Alas, no such thing. It seems to make sense at first sight but if you look at things closer, there is something else going on.

Not all fat is just fat. Your body stores different types of fat in different places. It puts it in places where it makes sense to your body. If your liver is turning fructose into fats, then it makes sense to store those fats in that region. Other fats are stored to save for later, like the fat on ladies thighs and buttocks. That's the type of fat you want to build babies so you want to keep that for when you need it. There is a place, reason and purpose for everything. Just because you don't think it looks pretty, doesn't mean it's not functional.

I'm not saying you should be satisfied with a body you're not comfortable with. I'm just saying you need to work with what you have. Women will always be more likely to store fat in their lower regions and men around their waist. Those are things you need to accept. Also, some people are more inclined to lose weight in certain areas then others. Somehow I actually tend to lose fat on my thighs quicker then on my stomach even though my metabolism is still fully female. Don't ask me why. Of course, when I gain fat mass again that's also where it jumps right back on.

But if you can't target the zones where you want the fat to Go Away! what do you do? Just make the excess fat go away. If your body is healthy, fit and fully functional it should look good as well. What we define as looking good is looking healthy. I know, these days our ideals are a bit off, but they do represent what we need right now. When you look at the women Rubens painted, they were all plump. Why? Because it showed prosperity. Why? Because most people didn't have enough food to get plump. Right now obesity is the one of the leading causes of death. As a result we cling on to super skinny ideals because we are afraid of being overweight. But do we need to be super skinny? No, we don't. We need to be healthy. We need to find a middle ground between our realistic fears and our exaggerated ideals. Even the men on the cover of Men's Health are not realistic. It's not how real people look. It's not how you and I look. Those are people who spend all their time working on looking good. It's their job. And guess what, we don't have that job. We have other things to do. If you feel fit, healthy and able to do with your body what you want to do, there is a good chance you will like what you see in the mirror. If you don't, maybe you should think about why. Most likely there is some other area in your life that makes you feel like you need to compensate for that by looking extra attractive to others. Just saying..

But I want to get rid of my love handles! I hear you. I don't disagree with wanting to not have love handles. I'm still dreaming of a six-pack as well. But I've had a beef with my body since I was little. So what do we do?

First of all, you have to be patient. These things don't happen over night. We all know that but we tend to pretend that only applies to other people. It does not. I know, it sucks.

Second, we have to check what we eat. I hear people mention different percentages, usually between 60 and 80, of how much food helps with body composition. It varies per person but in essence this is true. More then half of your results come from what you eat. So you need to check that. The first thing people usually say when I tell them that is: so I should eat even less fat. And I respond: NOOOO!! Most likely you need to eat more fat. Good, healthy fats, like olive oil or coconut oil or avocado's or fish. If your body doesn't get enough of something it will cling on to every tiny bit it can for when the shit really hits the fan. It goes into starvation mode and will refuse to burn fat. So in order to get your body to start burning fat again, you need to reassure your body more fat is coming. This also goes for water by the way. If you don't drink enough you will get bloated because your body will cling on to the water it does get. Not good for your kidneys, among many other things. Drinking more water or (herbal) tea could result in losing several pounds even. As I mentioned before, your liver turns fructose into fat. So avoiding fructose would be a good idea. That does not mean not eating fruit. In fruit fructose is packed in fiber and doesn't enter the bloodstream that easily. You want to avoid the processed sugars like corn syrup and regular white sugar. For more on sugar check my blog post http: Why drinking 'fat coke' really is like drinking fat.

Third, exercise. Finally! So, how much cardio should you do? Should? I don't know. Do you like doing cardio? Then by all means, go ahead and do it. But if you don't like it and you're just doing it to lose weight, you can stop. It's okay. You can go ahead and get a barbell and start building a bit of muscle. You don't have to get huge. You just have to get lean. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when you are asleep. In the long run doing fitness will get you more result then doing endless cardio. Cardio burns what you have now. Muscle burns what you eat the rest of the day. If you do still want to do cardio, do it after your strength training. When you are pushing weights your body needs to energy stored in your muscles. If you already used that for cardio you will not get the best results. If you have done your strength training and then do cardio, there will be not carbs left in your muscles and your body will be more inclined to start burning fat. So it's beneficial both ways. On a side note: muscle is more dense so you may still weigh the same, but your waistline will have shrunk. The best way to measure your process is by your belt.

That's all I have for now. This should get you started. If you have any more questions, let me know. Good luck!

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