If you're fed up with creatively selecting your wardrobe to hide the love handles around your waistline, get ready to hear some good and bad news. The good news is you can say farewell to this pesky bit of fat through exercise, but the bad news is you can't target the fat around your waist alone. Aerobic exercises are effective ways of burning calories to lose fat; focusing solely on your obliques through exercises such as side planks won't burn calories quickly.
Before you start your workout, take a minute to get the idea of spot reduction out of your head. This concept, which dictates that you can burn fat in a specific part of your body by working the muscles in that area, is a weight-loss myth. Exercise burns calories and leads to fat loss, but you can't pick and choose the area in which you lose fat. You can strengthen your obliques, located on the sides of your torso, through specific exercises, but doing so won't specifically burn the fat around your waist.
Oblique exercises take several forms, but a common exercise that targets your oblique muscles is the side plank. This exercise is ideal to add to your workout regimen because as a body-weight exercise, it doesn't require any equipment but still provides a challenge. Another common oblique exercise is the Russian twist, which you can perform with a medicine ball, weight plate or dumbbell. At the gym, cable twists target your obliques. Harvard Medical School notes weight training burns calories at a slower rate than even a relaxed exercise such as yoga. A 155-pound person will burn just 112 calories in 30 minutes of general weightlifting.
The key to slimming down your waistline is to burn more calories than you consume, and aerobic exercise is a logical way to burn calories. In a single workout, you can burn several hundred calories to lead to fat loss throughout your body, including around your waist. Swimming, cycling, jogging and in-line skating are all common examples of aerobic exercise. A 155-pound person will burn 409 calories while swimming the front crawl for 30 minutes and 466 calories during 30 minutes of cycling at 16 to 19 mph.
Increasing Muscle Mass
Although oblique exercises don't burn calories as quickly as aerobic exercises, don't be in a rush to drop them from your workout program. A well-rounded workout regimen should include aerobic exercise and strength training. Increasing your muscle mass helps you burn more calories at rest. WeightLossResources.co.uk notes increasing your muscle mass can boost your basal metabolic rate, the rate at which you burn calories, by up to 15 percent.
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- CNN Health: 10 Exercise Myths That Won't Go Away
- ExRx.net: Side Plank
- ExRx.net: Weighted Russian Twist (on Stability Ball)
- ExRx.net: Cable Twist
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- WeightLossResources.co.uk: How to Make Your Body Burn More Calories
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.