If you Googled “how to get rid of love handles men” then the good news is you’re going to find out what really works right here.
Your love handles can still bulge out even though you might not be overweight. And it’s 100% true the love handles on men can be the most stubborn to lose.
It’s frustrating to make progress with losing weight but not being able to shake those love handles. Sometimes it can feel like it’s the only place you’re not seeing improvement!
For the majority of men trying to get rid of their love handles then they should know there are a few reasons why they’re the last to lose.
But the good news is there are some tactics you can use to help to better target your love handles to accelerate the process.
Here you’ll find out the causes of love handles in men plus what you need to do to get rid of them fast and for good.
What Is the Cause of Love Handles in Men?
Long story short the reason you still have love handles on your body and can’t get rid of them is because you still have too much fat on your body.
If your body fat percentage isn’t at least below 15% then you won’t be able to lose your love handles any time soon.
Men are much more likely than women to hold their excess fat in their stomach, love handles, man boobs, back fat and trunk (1). Which is why you tend to see guys who may have skinny legs even though they have belly fat.
Unfortunately for men, this excess visceral fat in their belly and love handles can also be dangerous. Studies have found visceral fat leads to elevated insulin levels as well as increased risk for heart disease and diabetes (2).
Visceral fat is dangerous because it surrounds your organs and places stress on them. Over time this can lead to serious health problems other than just being unsightly.
As a man, you can also blame your genetics on not being able to lose your love handles.
Over time men evolved to store more fat on their love handles for future energy use. Unlike today food wasn’t always so readily available and your caveman ancestor couldn’t order food delivery with DoorDash.
So holding onto fat to be used as energy in the future was critical to survival. These love handle fat cells in men are designed to be used as energy for a long time. Thus making it much harder for the average man to get rid of.
For a complete diet and workout plan to get rid of belly fat & love handles check out The Flat Belly Formula.
What Men Should Do to Get Rid of Love Handles
First off you should know spot reduction isn’t very effective for getting rid of your love handles. There are quite a few studies finding spot reduction doesn’t work especially if you have a lot of fat to lose in the first place (3).
At the end of the day if you’re carrying too much body fat then that should be your number one priority towards getting rid of your love handles.
This is because when you directly work muscle cells they’re not using the surrounding fat cells as energy. When you end up burning fat through exercise your body must first convert that fat into free fatty acids. And your body can decide to use that source from anywhere on your body to do this. This is what makes targeted fat loss so difficult.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean complete spot reduction is a total myth. Because some studies are finding if you already have a lower body fat percentage you can do some specific training to burn more fat from target areas (4).
Depending on your genetics and how your body stores fat in your love handles you’ll need to get at least below 15% body fat. But for most people who have stubborn love handles anywhere from 10 to 12% body fat is where they start seeing results they are impressed with.
Just make sure when you try to get rid of love handles that you don’t do too much cardio. If you already don’t have enough muscle on your body then this can end up making you “skinny fat.” Skinny fat is when you end up losing weight but still have a high body fat percentage. This can make you appear to be flabby and mushy which will in turn not allow you to get rid of your love handles.
Exercises to Get Rid of Love Handles
Without a doubt doing more exercise is going to be beneficial for helping to lose those stubborn love handles.
Most people just end up jogging on the treadmill for an hour or grabbing a dumbbell to do more side bends. Both of which aren’t going to do a whole lot for getting rid of your love handles.
To get rid of those stubborn love handles high-intensity exercise is going to be the best. This means more high-intensity interval training workouts plus creating the afterburn effect with metabolic resistance training.
Then combined with HIIT workouts you should add in some specific targeted exercises for your love handles such as the ones you can find here. More side planks mixed in with your intense workouts will be key to better target some of the fat on your love handles that stubbornly won’t go away.
Some of my favorite go to exercise the get rid of love handles include Pallof press, side ups, and side planks.
One of the reasons intense exercises are so effective for fat loss is because it helps to better target deep visceral fat on the belly for men. The only problem with intense exercise is to make sure you don’t push yourself too hard that you end up hurting yourself. As well as making sure you give enough time for your body to properly recover with sleep and nutrition.
Dieting Strategies to Lose Love Handles
First off you going to have to kick out the junk that is causing you to have stubborn love handles in the first place.
This means getting rid of processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, artificial sweeteners, too much alcohol, and vegetable oils. Many of these foods cause inflammation and an insulin response in the body. Both of which contribute to fat gain (4,5).
Be sure to also lower your carbohydrate intake as well. Unused carbs you’ve eaten are converted into glycogen as a future energy source and stored in your body. Glycogen also holds a lot of water which will make your body appear bigger and more bloated than it is (6). Plus once you lower your carb intake your body will better utilize fat stores for energy since it won’t have quick-burning carbs coming in.
Studies have also found eating a high-protein diet is effective for fat loss (7). Eating more high protein foods with every meal is a good start to make sure you’re getting enough protein in the day. Protein is also powerful for increasing muscle size which will help to slim down the appearance of your love handles (8).
Don’t be afraid of eating more healthy fats. Recent studies have even found eating some red meat and eggs is good for you (9). Much of the blame on fats occurred decades ago after the sugar industry secretly paid for some “research studies” to place the blame on fats instead of carbs (10).
Last but not least you have to make sure you’re lowering your calorie intake to lose some more weight. Start with determining how many calories your body burns in a day then subtract 500 cal. Work your way from there depending on your progress and the results you’re seeing.
Lifestyle Changes to Get Rid of Love Handles
One of the hidden causes of belly fat is an unhealthy gut. Many studies are finding the health of your gut bacteria is closely related to increases in body fat (11).
So unless your gut health is in pristine health then I’d highly recommend getting on a gut boosting supplement that contains probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes like this one.
Try to also get more physical activity throughout the day whenever you can. Sitting for long periods is going to be hard to undo the damage with only an hour of exercise (12). If you have to sit all day at a desk for your job then consider getting a stand-up or a treadmill desk to use at least part of the time.
Try to drink more water as well. Many studies have found that drinking more water and proper hydration help to enhance the weight loss process (13). Stay away from liquid calories such as those in soda, diet soda, fruit juices, and smoothies.
Last but not least it’s a good idea to lower your stress levels and ensure you’re getting enough proper quality sleep each night. Studies have found high-stress levels and less sleep to be linked to increases in waist circumference such as in the belly and love handles and men (14,15).
What exercise should you do to get rid of love handles?
The truth is that any one exercise isn’t going to be very effective towards targeting the stubborn love handles you have. But long story short doing more intense exercise will help your body to better burn more fat off your body. Try combining intense exercise with specific target exercises for your love handles such as side planks.
How long does it take to lose love handles?
This is a tricky question because it depends on how much you have to lose in the first place. If you have a lot of fat to lose then it could take months if not years. But if you already have a body fat percentage in the teens then it’ll happen much quicker if you consistently stick to the above-recommended tips and strategies.
The Last Word
If you’re a man trying to get rid of your love handles then using some of the above strategies will help you get there much faster than just cutting your calories and going on long cardio runs.
As a man, you’re much more likely to hold onto stubborn belly fat based on your gender and your genetics. Both of these have evolved to stubbornly hold onto excess fat in your love handles.
But this doesn’t mean you’re going to be stuck with them forever. The more consistent and harder you work using the above strategies the more likely you are to get rid of them faster and keep them off forever.
Now that you know the answer on how to get rid of love handles for men then it’s time to get to work and start putting these strategies into action. If you’re interested in more fat loss tips then take a second and sign up for my email newsletter below.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.