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(BLAIR MOREAU - MERCY HEALTH PARTNERS) - We've all heard of them and we don't want them, the dreaded "Love Handles." The sides of the waist where fat accumulates. Most people are misinformed on how to successfully lose this unwanted fat deposit. Abdominal product companies will have you think that by purchasing their product the love handle fat will melt right off. If only it were that easy. The problem is you can't strength train fat. Losing love handles requires much more than doing thousands of crunches, it requires:

1. Proper nutrition (fuel): Love handles are fat that has accumulated on the body. So the first thing that must be done is clean up your eating habits and get rid of the junk food.

2. Amp up the cardiovascular exercise. I am not saying you need to spend hours on the treadmill. Just increase your current program a bit and challenge yourself.

3. Workout the abdominal muscles. Abdominal exercises will strength the muscles that lie under the fat layer. By increasing the muscle strength it can boost the metabolism, which can help with fat burning.

4. Abdominal exercises to perform:

a. Stomach Vacuums: Effective exercise for working the abdominal muscles that don't get targeted on a regular basis. Stand straight and tall, pull your stomach in as far as you can and hold it there for as long as possible. Relax and then repeat for a total of five times.

b. Modified Crunch: Lie with your back on the floor. Cross legs Indian style and perform a crunch. Do not pull on your head and remember to breathe. Repeat ten times

c. Elbow to Opposite Knee Crunch: Lie with your back on the floor. With knees bent place the foot of one leg on the opposite knee. Crunch and bring your the opposite elbow to the suspended knee. Repeat ten times each side.

d. Flutter Kicks: We need to also strengthen the back, this helps to balance the torso and reduce the fat on the back. Lie on your stomach with head up slightly. Place your arms straight and by the side. Lift your feet off the floor and flutter your legs rapidly back and forth for a count of ten per leg.

Love handles will only disappear if you increase your metabolism by exercising regularly for a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic activity. These exercises only strengthen muscle laying dormant under the fat. Be sure to clean up your eating habits!

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