T Nation

Love Handles w/ Low BF


I'm getting really frustrated with the love handles. I'm pretty lean (@ 12%BF) but still have this spare tire around my gut. Even when I was at 10%bf and 20lbs lighter my waist was the same. I saw a show on TV (one of those makeover shows) and a doctor said some people can never get rid of the handles no matter how lean without surgery. It's a genetic thing.



The doctor who said that bought his yacht sucking fat out of lazy people.


you sure your not just mistaking your obliques for love handles?


According to the regional fat storage study by Charles Poliquin, Supra-illiac (love handles) accumulation is highly correlated with insulin resistance.

With that in mind, the type 2 diabetes pill Glucophage (or similar) might help. I used low doses of a similar product called Metformin years ago, and it worked well while dieting.

As far as diet, I think the higher fat/lower carb type diets work better (in theory) for insulin resistance.


I agree. Seems like ever since I switched from the Anabolic Diet to a high carb diet, my love handles have gotten a bit larger, even with the same intensity, etc.

Probably will switch back to it, but just miss having fruit whenever I want it :slightly_smiling:


As a FFB I hear you on the love handle issue. It's really frustrating. I can start to get veiny in the arms and so on, but the love handles are sitting there laughing at my efforts and messing my with shape.

There's a fairly new ultrasound treatment which actually destroys fat cells (once you get fat and your fat cells multiply, they never really go away again). Since it isn't invasive surgery, it's something that I might consider saving up for.

People can call you lazy or whatnot, but different bodies have different natural "settings". Perhaps with anabolics or other serious effort I could get rid of them, or perhaps I wouldn't have them if I'd never been fat, but I don't think I'm willing to be saddled with the bastards forever.

I know a lot of people get bent out of shape about these things, but personally, I think that if you've spent years achieving a muscular and lean shape, but due to the past your body won't cooperate, then it's fair to consider extraordinary means. It is your body, the opinions of other people aren't important.

However, I'll decry the easy way out as well when people haven't put in the years of effort to find out whether or not their body will respond to reasonable efforts.


Good info. I'm at 10.5% right now and it's all in my lower back/handles. I'm going to look into this.


I have the same issue. I weigh around 185lbs and would guess I'm around 12% BFP. My Tanita bioimpedance scale says around 8% but I don't put much value into that reading.

My love handle region is one of my biggest frustrations. After a day or two of limiting my carbs to less than 10g a day, I can measure almost a 0.5 inch reduction around the spare tire. I'm sure it's all water since it comes back after moderate carb days of around 75-100g a day.

I think I'm going to go a week or two without having a cheat day and reevaluate.


After 20 years of lifting and 14 years in the Marine Corps, I'd say I've put in reasonable efforts to loost the spare tire. I've never been fat, but the handles have always been there (even when I was 140lbs in high school and at my skinniest and when I graduated Officer Candidate School in peak condition running almost 6-minute miles). I'm at the point where I'm almost ready to have the surgeon just suck it out. 10%bf was after 12 weeks of strict dieting. Not REAL hard to achieve, but not something I could maintain for a long time. My current 12% is easily maintainable.

My stomach is flat and rock hard. Wide shoulders and thick well-defined chest and back (I'm genetically gifted there). However, my handles give me a square, blocky look from the front (I have a really nice 4-pack). When I put my hands behind my back and squeeze my spare tire in I look really good (nice V taper). I bet my handles add about 4 inches to my waist.


Can you elaborate on this? Not sure how you would take it and how it would work.


Try working your Obliques from the rear. I found that most of my "love handles" are more to the back than just on the side.

Me Solomon Grundy


The higher fat (good fats) and lower carb seems to really take mine away also. I notice as soon as I consume something high carbs I notice it first in my lower abs and love handles. I have been cutting away at them but is has been pretty slow. This is where most guys store fat and the last place it comes off of. I know for me I will have to be below 10% to have ripped abs and no love handles. I guess everyone is different.


FYI Glucophage is just the brand name of the drug metformin.

For someone else who inquired, metformin works to increase insulin sensitivity and decrease both liver and intestinal glucose absorption. Based on what was mentioned above about Poliquin, taking something like this might be of some benefit. I haven't read anything about that study however.


I hear age has alot to do with it...no matter how active and lifting oriented you are, it's just not as easy to lose them like it is when you're 18.


What is the treatment, and where can one find more information about it? Does the procedure have a specific name? If so, i can just google it.


By the way .. Semper Fi. I'm guessing we ate some of the same dirt.

2ndBn 9th Marines , 82 to 86.



See, that's exactly what I'm talking about.

There is no reason in the world that you shouldn't be able to enjoy having a nice tapered look after all that hard work. Sure, sure, there is all the "be happy with who you are" stuff, but if it makes you unhappy, look at the risks and rewards and do what you want man.

Me, I've got a couple more years of work before deciding whether or not my body is willing to cooperate.


I think it was invented in Israel and goes by the name "Ultrashape". If I'm not mistaken it has finally become avaiable at various places in the USA.

Digging deeper into my cloudy memory, something about a couple grand for a series of treatments with each treatment reducing measurements by some fraction of an inch.

It's non-invasive and you don't need sedatives or anything... so you walk in, pay up, and walk out... repeated for some number of treatments.


Semper Fi, Hard-dog! I'm just a nasty airwing pogue. Haven't eaten any dirt yet, but I'm sure I'll get a chance soon. Only 6 years to retirement and some of that will most likely be out in the big sandbox. I'm in a non-deploying training command right now, but I transfer back to the fleet next summer.


Right now I'm torn between the "I'm all natural" bragging rights and the "could look like a Men's Fitness cover model with a little surgical gut-suck". Friends at the gym tell me I should be a trainer (not many 36 year olds out there who still lift heavy and stay in great shape). My local gym actually offered me a training job with automatic customers based on this (and the fact that I'm a Marine). I wouldn't even have to get certified. I would feel like a big fake if I were a trainer with liposuction.

But back to the original question...are some people just genetically predisposed to have fat around the belly, regardless of bodyfat measurement?