I have been working out for 3 years and am in a good shape. My only problem is that I have extraordinary huge love handles and some belly fat that I can't seem to lose!

I workout in the morning 3-5 days a week. I have access to pool and I can do cardio. I've been on a diet for quite a long time, but I'm not losing the waist area fat. I'm 6 feet tall and weigh 93 kg. I'm planning to get to 87kg - 83kg, and people say I'm close to a mesomorphic body type.

What diet and workouts help the most in losing fat in the waist area (belly and love handles)? Are there any foods that I need to stop or take more?

My current diet, which I've been on for diets 2 months and lost 8kg, is:

  • a mid-size plate of white oats with honey and nuts
  • banana or an whole grain bar
  • salad with tuna or salad with 2 chicken breasts
  • apple or dates
  • a chicken based meal or fish based
  • around 2 beers a week

My workout, which also includes 15-30 minutes of swimming after each session, is:

  • Arms (7 workouts) + abs(2)
  • Chest (5)
  • Leg (6)+ abs(2)
  • Back (6)
  • Shoulders (4) + abs (2)

I switched to strength training last week.

2 Answers 2


Spot reduction (i.e., fat loss targeted to a particular of the body) is a myth. The areas from which fat is removed through metabolism are almost exclusively a function of genetics and hormones, and the particular exercise regimen that you employ cannot significantly alter your body's distribution of adipose tissue. Just continue to exercise and maintain a healthy diet and it's almost inevitable that you will eventually begin to lose fat from those areas of the body that you're trying to improve.

Per michael's suggestion, a few sources to corroborate my assertions:

  1. http://www.exrx.net/WeightTraining/Myths.html
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17596787 (Results are somewhat equivocal: possible upper arm sport reduction in men via skinfold measurement [not accurate in my estimation as hypertrophy and water retention can skew these results], none in women. Conclusion states: "MRI found a generalized subcutaneous fat loss independent of gender, supporting the notion that spot reduction does not occur as a result of resistance training.")
  3. http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/292/2/E394.full (Article states that lipolysis occurs to a greater degree in adipose tissue adjacent to working muscle than resting muscle according to some observations. Authors nevertheless conclude that "[m]ore calories are expended during aerobic, whole body exercise than by exercise with local muscle groups, and, accordingly, a person seeking to loose fat must be advised to perform whole body exercise." There's no reasonable way to interpret this article as supporting the notion of "spot reduction" as it is typically presented, i.e., the loss of fat targeted to a specific part of the body, without reference to overall whole-body fat loss and caloric demands of activity.)
  • so there is no certain workout that targets this area.
    – OmarQa
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 11:15
  • 5
    There are certainly workouts that target the muscles in that area, but that's completely different from targeting the area specifically for fat loss.
    – Greg E.
    Commented Jun 3, 2012 at 11:53
  • 1
    -1 No sources, no credibility.
    – michael
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 3:12
  • 2
    @michael, fair enough. I don't purport to be an expert and I didn't make any claims to be one in my post. Anybody who reads the claims of a random stranger on the internet should have the common sense to seek confirmation from a more authoritative source. I've done a fair amount of research on the subject and what I attempted to do was to summarize the general consensus. That said, point taken, I'll add a few sources. Now that I've taken your advice, let me reciprocate: try not to be so condescending toward well-intentioned contributors, and don't make assumptions about others are thinking.
    – Greg E.
    Commented Jun 5, 2012 at 0:04
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    @michael At some point, we're all going to have to realize that things can be true, and said to be true, without scientific references. If you want to change that on F.SE, the best course of action is not to stop by every few months and criticize someone, but to answer questions your own self, with the references you want. Commented Jul 10, 2012 at 2:34

There is no spot reduction.

Diet is critical, you don't provide enough details to comment on it.

You're not doing very much cardio. Swimming, while a great exercise, may not be the most efficient for explicitly losing fat. I'd consider doing HIIT for your cardio, and increasing the time/effort.

It's not clear what the numbers after the body parts are, pr how often you're doing your strength training, although the diet and/or cardio are likely what's holding you back at the moment.

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