T Nation

The Love Handle Mystery


I must say I'm a little disappointed in the unfair existance that is life. I'm struggling to understand the phenomenon that is...... "the love handle". Where do they come from? What causes them? Why do guys that don't work out and drink beer NOT have them but guys that bust their ass in the gym, run sprints, eat right (me for instance) have them and can't seem to get rid of them. What is the deal? Is there a secret?

Is this this Cortisol thing true? Do I need to be popping some kind of Cortisol "blocker"? I want these things gone and I want them gone NOW!!

Anybody got any advice they can share?


You just have to get very lean to get rid of them.

Push away from the dinner table, exercise more, and give yourself time. Eventually, you can make them disappear. But they will always be one of the last places to lose.

There is no mystery to getting rid of love handles. It's strictly diet, exercise and time.

Anyone who has love handles and says they are lean (<12% bodyfat), I dare them to show us pictures and a print of the bodyfat testing method to verify. More than likely, they are not 12% or less. But everyone on here seems to be at 12% whenever they post their stats.


I have to agree with this. Everytime I bulk past 13% they become pronounced. Not that I care, because it is bulking. Hell, I am whittling my way down to 10-11% right now (I'm at 13.5% approx.) and can still grab them.


Nate Dogg you are on to something... I also beleive it has something to do with posture.


Good points. The thing is that I do on a regular basis push away from the dinner table, I do work out more... and more... and more... and I have delt with these things for years. I guess the lowest my bf% ever got was 14%... and I still had love handles. Frustrating beyond anything I can say.


If you are unable to get below 14% there has to be a some variables that you are over looking. I am an endo and don't have much trouble getting below twelve. Anything below 9-10% though takes more careful planning and the diet is usually torture.


Nate, here's my numbers:

this was done via skin fold at a local hospital wellness center by a Physical Therapist (not a certified trainer)

Triceps - 6
Abs - 10
Chest - 8
Thigh - 14.5
Height 5'7"
Age 34
Weight - 166lbs.

Bodyfat - 10.1%

I still had big lovehandles. I posted pictues in the love-handle thread in the 35 and over page.



Mystery solved. It could be that your psoas is dominant over your abs. This would cause a forward pelvic tilt and the appearance of "love-handles."

If it aint that it IS something to do with posture IF you are really at 10%, which I honestly kinda doubt. Not to be an asshole but that is VERY low.


Try this...

Stand in front of the mirror, suck your gut in (tighten the abs) and thrust your pelvis forward like you got Pam Anderson in front of you.

Let the upper-back roll until you the love handles dissappear. Does this prove my point? If not then I am wrong, but this is my bet.

ART or Rolfing or even the Alexander Technique are the only things I know of that correct this.


I had to read the thread and see the pics for myself.

I do find it hard to believe you are 10% bodyfat. I'd say you're really 12-13%.

However, you could be a freak of nature and not be able to lose those love handles unless you are much leaner (<9%).

I have pics of myself in my profile when I was lean in 2001 and in 2003. In 2001, I was 12% bodyfat (3-point skinfold test) and didn't have any love handles. However, anything above 12%, and I do. Obviously, the pics of me from 2003 are much less than 10% bodyfat, and there is no indication of love handles. You can even see the veins in my lower abs/torso/hip area.

If you were leaner, more than likely, they would go away.


I was leaner than the picture looked. I took the picture in my bedroom with my 1MP digital camera, bad lighting, no pump, no tan, and no oil. I could probably get down to 7-8%, but I certainly couldn't maintain that. 12% is a natural place for me (I can maintain that without much effort). My plan is to get my arms and shoulders so freaking big that my handles won't look so bad.


What's with all the global statements as if everyone has the same leaning out pattern or their bodies react the same to different fat percentages?

People. Are. Different.

It's frustrating being someone who's a little bit older or a little more prone to carry fat and be told that it should be the same for you as for some 19 year old person who's never held any appreciable body fat.


Are you copying my post? - Fat Sides (T Vixen Sorority) LOL


Strange thing with mine,(they appear when I bulk and go beyond 10% bf), is that my left side handle is bigger than my right. Weird.