T Nation

Love Handles..Why?!


My problem has always been that i dont have an ounce of fat anywhere on my body EXCEPT on my handles and a bit on my lower belly.

i remember reading a post on love handles and some people mentioning glucophage because those of us with love handles that wont go away tend to be a bit insulin resistant... just wana know more on this matter. any suggestions as to wut ratio of carbs:protein:fat i should be consuming daily if my problem areas are my handles and belly?




It's all about meal timing.


Good question. I'm interested in the response from others.


Hm, I won't be able to help too much, but here's my experience:

Before I started properly training, T-Nation style, I was skinny and had a low bodyfat %, but still had "love handles" (i.e. little folds of fat that hung over my pants). I also had a visible six pack. I was about 5'8", 145 to 150 lbs or so.

Now I am slightly less skinny, and just have obliques, not love handles. I honestly don't remember when the love handles vanished, since I wasn't really paying attention to them. My diet hasn't changed much, but I started doing heavy deadlifts, squats (front, back, and overhead), and Olympic lifts (power clean and power snatch) regularly.

I also took up some basic gymnastic exercises (front and back lever and planche practice a la Coach Sommer's article at dragondoor). I also started eating small meals at multiple times through the day.

So which one thing did it? I don't know, but any one of them is worth a try.

One thing I did notice during my love-handle era was that whenever I played a sport that involved a lot of twisting and running (Ultimate Frisbee, for me), the love handles would magically disappear/become less flabby for a while after the game. Are you sure that it's fat, and not just flabby obliques? (Is that even possible?)


I have this same problem and If i am not mistaken fat around the lower back and midsection is primarily "brown" fat, so i came across GLA(Gamma-linolenic acid), and GLA is thought to activate brown fat so that it can be used for energy.

I don't know of any studies that prove this claim but after reading about GLA i think that it is definately worth a try if you have this problem


I agree. It's all about the nutrient timing.


I tend to hold water on my lower back - it gives me some love handles but I can make them go away in about 2 weeks by reducing my dietary sodium intake and using diuretics. The rest of the time I don;t worry about them so much.

I've never used Yohimbine but it's supposed to do you good in that regard also - I think it's included in the new HOT-ROX Extreme.


thanks for all the responses!

blooey, interestingly enough the majority of the time i spend in the gym i perform olypmic lifts and the other big lifts, i used to go to a gymnastics hall and flip around as well, and on top of all this i do a helluva lot of intensive cardio and conditioning work because of my kungfu training. and for my height and weight (5'7 at 155lbs) my strength:weight ratio is fairly high. AND i eat clean small meals throughout the day.....which is why i just dont understand why it's so hard to get rid of my handle fat that sits behind my obliques.!!

sacktown thanks, i'll look into GLA.

by the way, any suggestions as to wut kind of foods that contain healthy fats with little or no carbs?


I had the exact same problem, i started lifting and realised that what I thought were love handles were actually a combination of two things: very large hip bones and soft (not fat) obliques (this could be due to sarcoplasmic as opposed to myofibrillated hypertrophy, although I'm not too sure on this). I began incorporating a few sets of Russian twists and side bends and now have well defined, hard obliques.

Try working the obliques directly and that could help you on your way to a 'Yashiro physique'.


Oils= olive, fish, walnut, etc..

Nuts, fatty fish, avacados, olives, beef, chicken, eggs, etc..


I have the same problem and I have always stored my fat in the lower back/lower ab area. If you look at me from the front, there seems to be no fat at all on the sides anymore. But, my lower back still carries fat, I have to turn around to see it though. I too started to incorporate side bends, russian twists, etc. into my ab programs. I purchase HRX and am on my first day now. I will update my progress and see if these hard to loose fat areas go away. I have also heard, the longer it is there, the longer it takes to go away.


What is HRX?


HOT-ROX Extreme, I presume.


GLA may be worth a shot, but from what I've read in PubMed, adult humans have next to zero brown adipose tissue... which is used by some species for heat generation.


yeh, my proportions are all funky. i have big hip bones as well as well developed obliques (which is why i try not to work them as much anymore, other than high rep work), but i also have a small waist and ass! so it looks funky. i'd prefer the fat on my lower back/handles to be on my ass! haha!

oh yeh, i tried the uneven BB sidebend today and i really felt it targeting my lower back muscles/back part of obliques. im gona keep up these sidebends for a few weeks and see how it goes.

by the way, i ordered HRX a few days ago but i dont get it until july. so i figured i would eat clean, maybe 500-1000 calories above maintanence, and try to build a bit more mass and strength before i begin my HOT-ROX trial month.

thanx again for your responses!


I asked JB a question similar and he said abdominal fat is highly correlated to a cortisol imbalance.

"Originally Posted by keaster
Doesn't belly/low back fat suggest insulin resistance.

Yes, it does. Although, just a quick note, insulin resistance seems to be more highly correlated with intrabdominal/visceral fat than subcutaneous abdominal fat.

Also, be careful not to correlate them too closely in your mind. It's hard to say that one hormone alone is the problem with any body system or with any skinfold site. For example, the observance of high amounts of abdominal fat also correlates with problems in the stress hormone system, namely cortisol."

Unless your currently on AAS don't pop metaformin. It lowers total T, Free T , and LH. Get your cortisol in check. Try meditation and stress control techniques (visualiztion). It may sound gay but it works.

Try HOT-ROX Extreme or Abs+


Look up Dr. Berardi's stuff on this site, and use the links that jump to his personal site, too. His Precision Nutrition package has the kind of information you're looking for, along with a wide variety of recipies fitted to the eating style.


hehe, i used to meditate and do tai chi all the time...i stopped meditating just when i needed it the most and i gave in to the demon inside of me... but ur right, i should take it up again.

by the way, wut is AAS?


Actually i was thinking about this also but i did read that many adults do actually retain their brown adipose tissue, and this may be the same people who are having problems getting rid of their love handles.


Wow, that sounds painful. You getting enough fiber?