Try as you might, you won't be able to find a machine at the gym that will specifically zap your love handles. That’s because such a machine doesn't exist. It's impossible to burn excess fat in a selected region of your body, but that doesn't mean you can't use gym machines to build a healthier physique. The right exercise regimen, complemented by a consistent reduction in your caloric intake, can have you saying goodbye to your love handles once and for all.
It would certainly be convenient if you were able to choose the fat deposits you wished to burn off your body, but that concept, called "spot reduction," is a common weight-loss myth. Getting rid of your love handles requires you to put your body in a weight-loss state known as a caloric deficit. You achieve this state by keeping your body's caloric burn above its caloric intake; in this deficit, you experience fat loss all over your body, including from your love handles.
Aerobic machines such as the treadmill, stationary bicycle, rowing machine, elliptical trainer and stair climber increase your heart rate and require the use of multiple muscle groups, which can generate a significant caloric burn. The rate at which you burn calories depends on factors such as the machine, its degree of resistance, your body weight and your workout intensity. A 155-pound person who uses a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes at a moderate pace burns about 260 calories, while the same person burns about 335 calories during a half-hour workout on the elliptical trainer, according to Harvard Health Publications.
Strength training should have a role in your weight-loss workout regimen, even if it doesn't burn calories at the same rate as cardiovascular exercise. In addition to its ability to keep your body fit, strength training can raise your metabolic rate by as much as 15 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This boost means that your body will burn calories at a heightened pace, even when you're inactive. The result is more calories burned per day, which helps you in your weight-loss effort. Your strength-training workout should always work all your body's major muscle groups to ensure you develop a symmetrical physique.
Although a strength-training workout should target all your body's major muscle groups, it's valuable to work your obliques to target the muscles beneath your love handles. An effective exercise that works your obliques with the help of a gym machine is leg raises in a captain's chair. Overall, you can use a variety of weight machines to target your major muscles groups in addition to your obliques work. For example, you can do squats with a Smith machine, work your pectoral muscles in your chest with the lever bench press, your deltoids with the lever shoulder press and your gastrocnemius muscles in your calves with the sled seated calf press.
- American Council on Exercise: Myths and Misconceptions: Spot Reduction and Feeling the Burn
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Balancing Calories
- Best Health: The 4 Best Gym Machines for Weight Loss
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- ExRx.net: Smith Squat
- ExRx.net: Lever Bench Press
- ExRx.net: Lever Shoulder Press
- ExRx.net: Sled Seated Calf Press