Amid the societal pressure that dictates people to look like someone straight out of a fashion magazine, fitness goes beyond with its significant effect on our overall health. There can be many ways to maintain your health and fitness, but among the most common and proven are diet and exercise.
You are what you eat, they say, and obviously, it’s true. Your food intake contributes to your health, and there’s nothing more vital and effective in building a great physique than good nutrition. You can go on and modify your fitness habits and regimen, but without proper diet, they are doomed to fail.
If you’re aiming to lose some fats around your belly, you might have noticed how stubborn love handles can get. Love handles are the excess flab seen around your waistline, and to be honest, they are really hard to shake off. However, hard doesn’t mean impossible! To help you melt those annoying love handles for a better you, check out the effective workouts below!
In the fitness world, crunches are known as an abs-developer. But although effective, normal crunches can get a little boring when done regularly. Why not add a twist to it? You’re probably familiar with bicycle crunches — crunches that not only target your rectus abdominis but also your obliques.
Here’s how to do bicycle crunches:
- Lie on your back and press it against the floor.
- With your hands at the back of your head, start to bring in your knees towards the chest and raise shoulder blades off the ground.
- Straighten out your right leg while keeping the other bended as you bring your right shoulder towards your bended knee. Remember not to pull your neck.
- Switch the sides to complete one rep.
- Do a total of 20 reps.
You can’t talk about challenging exercises without mentioning burpees. Indeed, burpees have quite a reputation in health and fitness: effective but demanding. This isn’t surprising, however, given that burpees engage almost every single muscle of the body, not to mention it sends your heart rate through the sky.
To get the most out of your burpees session, make sure you’re doing it right. Here’s how:
- Stand with your feet, making sure they’re shoulder-width apart. Put your weight on your heels and your arms on your side.
- With your hips pushed back, start to bend your knees and squat.
- Place your hands on the ground and shift your weight on them.
- Kick your feet back to position yourself in a plank. Make sure to keep your arms and body straightened for the proper position. Remember not to let your butt or back fall or stick up.
- Return your feet into the squat position just outside of your hands.
- Jump up and extend your arms over your head to complete one rep.
Side Plank Press
Targeting the muscles of your arms, shoulders, legs, and hips, a side plank press is one exercise that also shapes your obliques. For beginners, here’s how you can do it:
- Lie on your left side, then bend your left elbow under shoulder and lift your upper body off the ground. As you lift your body, bend your left knee but keep your right leg extended. Straighten your right arm next to your hips with your palm facing up.
- Start to lift your hips off the ground. Extend your arms overhead by your right ear, or you can do variations such as lifting it up and down underneath your lifted upper body to make it more challenging. Avoid straining your neck by looking straight ahead.
- Lower your hips and arm to complete one rep.
- Do a total of 20 reps on one side before repeating it on the other.
If this seems easy, step up your game by doing a full side plank. To do it, just extend both of your legs instead of bending one of them. When performing a side plank, make sure to position your elbow directly under the shoulder to prevent strain.
Cross and Cover
Another fun way to stir up your exercise routine is kickboxing. Not only is kickboxing used for self-defense and in contact sports, but more and more people are practicing it to maintain their fitness. In kickboxing, every punch you throw engages the core. The cross and cover, in particular, is a combo that involves the muscles around your abdomen and waist.
Here’s how to do it:
- With your knees slightly bent, stand on your feet, keeping them wider-than-hip-width apart.
- Bend your elbows so that they are positioned near your chest and your fists near the chin.
- With the right arm, throw a cross by punching straight. As you do that, slightly turn your right hip forward and lift your right heel off the ground. A little reminder though: make sure to rotate your palm down when throwing a cross to prevent elbow lock.
- Pull your right arm back fast, then repeat on the other arm. To engage the core and make the move more effective, remember to turn your body to each side as you throw a punch.
- Instantly block face using your arms and twist on your left and then right, like when you try to avoid a punch, to complete one rep. Maintain a steady posture with knees bent when twisting your body.
- Do this for 30 seconds. Repeat using the other side as your leading side.
- If you want to step up your cardio exercises, do the cross and cover for an entire song.
Side Knee Strikes
Originally used in martial arts especially in Muay Thai, knee strikes are powerful movements that can accelerate your heart rate, making it a valuable addition to your cardio training. Perform side knee strikes by following the steps below:
- Stand on your left leg and slightly bend your knee.
- Keep your right leg extended with your toes tapped on the ground. Raise your arms overhead on your left side.
- Bend your right knee and start to lift your thigh towards the chest as you pull your elbows down to your thigh outer side. Remember to twist to the right to complete one rep.
- Repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides and do it again.
The best way to lose those stubborn love handles and other body fat is proper diet coupled with appropriate exercises such as cardio and strength training. The road to fitness is surely not easy; discipline and determination are what matter the most. But considering what you can gain from being fit, it definitely is worth all the hard work.