Good Exercises to Get Rid of Belly Fat & Love Handles

When you want to get rid of that unsightly fat around your middle and sides, prepare to do more than just a load of situps and other abdominal exercise. Whether you have excess flab on your stomach, hips, butt, legs, arms or anywhere else, losing fat requires you to actually get up and moving.

Spot Reduction Myth

When you want to lose fat in a certain area, you have to do exercises that burn fat all over your body. That's because there's no such thing as "spot reduction." Doing exercises such as situps will be good for strengthening the muscles under the fat, but you have to do some type of cardio in order to lose that fat.

Big Calorie Burners

Exercises such as walking, cycling or golfing are going to help you burn calories, but if you have limited time to spend on exercise, it's good to pick exercises that pack the most punch. Some of the biggest calorie-burners out there are jogging, jumping rope and using the stair treadmill. For a 200-pound person, you'll burn 755 calories per hour running at a 5-mile per hour pace, 1,074 calories per hour jumping rope and 819 calories per hour using the stair treadmill. Since you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit to lose 1 pound of fat, doing any of those activities three to four days a week can help you lose roughly 1 pound a week -- provided you're not over-eating or adding additional calories to make up for the workouts.

HIIT

Long bouts of cardio will burn a lot of calories, but you do have another option to mix up your routine. High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a great way to increase your metabolism for the entire day following a workout, but it also helps you burn additional abdominal fat, reminds the American Council on Exercise. To do HIIT, alternate rounds of intense exercise with rounds of recovery. For example, run at a sprint for 30 seconds, and then walk for 30 seconds. Do that six to eight times and you'll get in a killer workout. Mix those workouts into your routine two days a week, on days when you might not have time for a full 30- to 60-minute workout.

Ab Exercises

You're starting to burn fat and slim down -- but as the fat comes off, you may want to spend time focusing on exercises that will make your muscles pop. Two to three days a week, do two or three abdominal exercises, giving your muscles at least one day of rest in between. To work the "love handle" area, try exercises that are thought to be some of the most effective for the obliques. According to a study conducted by the American Council on Exercise, the three most effective obliques exercises are the captain's chair, bicycle crunches and the reverse crunch, in which you raise your legs off the floor instead of raising your torso. For the rectus abdominis or "six pack" muscles, ACE says the most effective exercises are the bicycle crunch, captain's chair and crunches on an exercise ball. Aim to do two sets of 10 to 20 repetitions of each exercise.