Triceps dips ditch bingo wings. Crunches banish beer bellies. Calf raises crush cankles. Right? Wrong. Alas, no matter how much you believe it to be so, you can’t spot-reduce fat. When looking to lose body fat, you should first look at your diet. It doesn’t matter how long you spend on that ab curl machine, if you’re consuming more calories than you burn off in a day (a caloric surplus) then you will struggle to shed the weight.
Fat deposits around your body don’t function in a way that allows them to be burned off by single, isolation exercises. Typically, you’re predisposed to store fat in particular parts of your body due to the molecular make-up of your hormones. Love handles are a prime example: high cortisol caused by stress, surplus oestrogen caused by beer or low testosterone caused by poor sleep quality can all lead to a build-up of unwanted soft, squidgy tissue – along with countless other factors.
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In addition to fixing your diet, there is a simple training solution that does yield results: high-intensity exercise. When you train at a high intensity your heart rate soars to shift blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and you burn off a huge amount of calories to maintain your efforts and then recover to your resting metabolic rate.
This process can take up to 24-36 hours when you’re still churning through calories and metabolising fat deposits on your bingo wings, gut, cankles or love handles as fuel. Repeat this process often enough – and keep your diet in check – and that extra bit of bulge will melt away.
This 20-minute kettlebell circuit is full body, low rest and high intensity. Plus, it uses unilateral moves where you only work one side of your body at once, meaning your core has to work extra hard to keep your balance. The beauty of this is that once you’ve ditched that spare tyre, you’ll have a robust, functional set of abs on show. Much more useful than love handles.
This is a five move circuit. Pick a weight you can complete all the reps on each move with. Do the moves in order without rest between each exercise (but rest momentarily if you have to). Then rest for 60 seconds at the end of each circuit and repeat for a total of three to five rounds.
Hold your kettlebell by its ‘horns’ and squat down with your back straight, arms tucked in and chest up. Descend until your elbows touch the inside of your knees, then put your weight through your heels as you stand back up.
One-arm overhead press
Reps 8 each side
Hold the kettlebell in a rack position and then press it overhead, keeping the bell resting against your forearm. Lower the bell under control, pausing at the bottom of the move with the bell resting in the rack position. Finish all your reps on one side, then switch to the other.
Reps 12 each direction
Holding the kettlebell by the handle, bell up, rotate it around your head with bent elbows for the maximum possible range of motion. You’ll feel this one in your obliques if you do it right.
One-arm floor press
Reps 10 each side
Lie on the floor with the kettlebell held in one bent arm against your shoulder, keeping the opposite knee bent for stability. Press the bell overhead, pressing your free hand into the floor to stabilise the movement.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and push the kettlebell off your body to start the swing. As you lower, hinge at the hips by pushing your glutes back and keeping your knees as straight as you can. When you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, drive your hips forward so the kettlebell rises to head height. Guide it back under your hips, keeping it tight to your inner thighs.
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