Personal training clients and gym class participants always ask me, "How do I lose my love handles?" Many think it's just with more crunches. It's not.
After having a baby with a C section, I created two of my DVDs called Slimnastics and Hard Core Abs that you can do on alternate days to lose the handles you hate and that middle belly flab. They that target what you really need for a sleek mid-section: a full body toning, heart pumping cardio workout, with obliques targeted yoga poses, weighted crunches and twisting planks.
Remember, losing the hated handles also requires a diet with small portion sizes in 5-6 meals a day, made up of mostly fruits, veggies, high- fiber (whole wheat) bread and pasta, and lean protein like eggs, fish and organic chicken.
Drink lots of water and green tea, avoid alcohol, sugar and fried foods, get enough calcium, a lot of sleep, (get the Slimnastics book for more on diet, working up to a hard workout, the full routine and a bonus 10 Plank Variation workout.)
Here is part one of my two part article "8 moves to lose the love handles you hate":
1 - Plank Knee Cross: Hold a regular plank and then balance on your left foot and bring your right knee under you towards your left elbow. Keep your hips low to the ground. Return to full plank and repeat on other side. Make it harder by taping the opposite hand to the foot or by "can-canning" the leg--after you bring the knee toward the opposite elbow, straighten the knee and kick the leg out toward the left. Bend it again and return to start.
2 - Outer Thigh Side Plank: Plank on your right hand or forearm and lift your left straight leg off the right leg and toward the sky. Lower leg and repeat ten times. Move into a plank on the other side and repeat. Make it harder by bending your lower leg and holding a weight in your top hand. Straighten the arm to the sky as you lift the top leg. As you lower the leg, lower the hand and weight behind your neck, keeping the elbow pointing to the sky the whole time to work the triceps in a half French press.
3 - Hip Taps: Get into a side plank on your left forearm. Lift hips off the floor and then lower them to tap the left hip to the floor and lift again. This works your obliques in an extreme way if you do twenty or more! Repeat on the other side.
4 - Thread the Needle: Get into a side forearm or full side plank on your right arm. Lift left arm to the sky and stagger the feet so the top (left) leg is in front. Sweep your left (top) arm toward the mat and "thread" it under your right armpit, reaching for the back of the mat while rotating your hips to face the ground and balancing on your toes. Rotate your body back to a side plank and repeat fifteen times then do the same on the other side.
5 - Plank Cross Crunch: Hit the obliques again by getting into a full plank on your left hand and stagger your feet with the bottom (left) foot in front this time. Bend your right elbow and put your hand behind your head. By balancing on your right (top) foot, bring your left knee across to your right elbow to "crunch" then return to start. Repeat fifteen times and then switch sides.
6 - Spiderman Plank: Get into a full plank on your forearms or hands. Balance on your right toes as you bend your left knee out to the left and towards your left elbow. Return to start and repeat twenty times, then do the other side.
7 - Cardio Knee Hop to Mountain Climber: Start by simulating a jump rope by twirling your hands and using the biceps to move your "rope" while bringing the knees up to the height of your belly button. Repeat for twenty. Next hit the deck. Cardio Mountain Climbers: To work the abs and continue the cardio burn, jump lightly onto the floor on your hands and feet into plank position. Keeping your gaze above your fingers and your hands directly under your shoulders, start "running" your knees in toward the chest one at a time, "climbing" the floor. Its almost the same as the standing knee hop but you are holding yourself up with your arms and abs.
8 - Cardio Side Kick Plie:
Stance: For a left side-kick, put your weight on your right leg with the knee and toe pointing out to the side at forty-five degrees.
Chamber: Think of the kick in four counts. Count one is hinging at the hip and dropping your right shoulder to the right, kicking the core into action while bending your left leg and bringing the left knee toward your navel.
Impact: This is count two. The common mistake is for class participants to kick to the side with their toe pointing to the sky. To correct this, flex the foot and straighten the left leg and impact with your heel diagonally up and toe diagonally down. Think of it like this, if you're inside a room your heel should aim for the corner where the back wall and the ceiling meet. Your toe should point to where the floor and front wall meet on he other side of the room. Another way to visualize this is that your front hip bone or "front pocket" of your kicking leg should turn down towards the floor and your "back pocket" should be rotated up to the ceiling. Look at your foot with each kick to ensure appropriate form. As you kick, drop your opposite shoulder towards the floor and your obliques will work to get the kick up in the air.
Retract: For count three, quickly retract the knee back towards the core and place foot back to the floor for count four.
Trainer's Tip: Adjust your target height. If you find it difficult to align your kick properly, instead of aiming for your opponent's head, aim for the stomach or knee. Master the foot alignment first, then work on the height. Even with a kick aimed at the (imaginary) opponent's knee, you are challenging your core and backside.
Fitness fit it in, and fit into your jeans! - Nikki
NikkiFitness, Nicole Glor, is 35-year-old fitness expert on Fox & Friends, and the star of 8 fitness DVDs including Hard Core Abs DVD, Fit Travel Workout DVD, Booty Camp, Red Carpet Runway Workout, Military Wife Workout, Baby Bootie Camp, and the Beach Bride Destination Wedding Workout (Amazon). Nikki's workouts have been featured in over 100 national media outlets. She is also an AFAA certified NYC personal trainer, group fitness instructor at Crunch in Manhattan, a 200 RYT YogaFit/Yoga Alliance trained yoga instructor, author of the new book "SLIMNASTICS", a fitness columnist for Military.com and a spokesperson for SilverSport antibacterial fitness products. Her "Slimnastics" workouts focus on multitasking toning and cardio intervals to cut workout time in half and boost metabolism. Get her newsletters, music playlists, video demos and DVDs at www.nikkifitness.com Search for "NikkiFitness" on Facebook and Twitter!