Drop Those Love Handles

Drop Those Love Handles

February 1st, 2012 Mary Beth Torgerson in Local Regional News

We've asked five fitness experts to recommend the best exercises to tighten and tone the love handle area just in time for the month dedicated to all things love. No matter your age or your fitness level, the best way to get started is to jump in headfirst and experiment with new exercises.

If motivation is what you're lacking, try a group class that will keep you accountable, says our fitness model, Robin Godsey, a 12-year accounting veteran at Wilkins Crews & Associates and dedicated fitness fiend for more than 30 years. "When you see those people in class every day at 5 or 6 o'clock in the morning, they become like your family," she says. "They know when you aren't there and they will ask about you."

The Pretzel

This no-excuses style of working out with a group is perfect if you need extra oomph to get started with a fitness regimen, and Godsey says that you won't regret your decision. "I work out six days a week. I just like the way it makes me feel," she says. "There are days when I feel like not going, but afterwards I am always so glad I did."

FIVE FABULOUS EXERCISES TO TAKE OFF THE LOVE HANDLES:

JUMP ROPE

Recommended by Trevor Haines, owner of Dojo Chattanooga

"Jump rope until you're tired and then do it again," says Haines. Increase the number of jumps gradually based on your fitness level. A good starting point for a beginner would be three sets of 60 jumps and an expert level would be five sets of 120 jumps.

PRETZEL

Recommended by Amanda Holmes, owner of Pure Barre Chattanooga

Sit with right knee directly in front of you at a right angle and the left leg bent slightly behind you. Place hands on right leg to keep your chest upright and squeeze outer seat. Squeeze left hip and glute (this step will be imperceptible to anyone but you) for 30 seconds. Then repeat this exercise while lifting your left ankle off the floor. If you can, repeat it again and pulse for an additional 30 seconds while lifting your left knee off the floor. This exercise, done three or four times a week, promises jean-slimming results in about three weeks.

Warrior 2 pose

WARRIOR 2 POSE...

Recommended by JennyMac Merrill, instructor at ClearSpring Yoga

Side Angle pose

Step your legs about four feet apart and extend your arms out to the sides at shoulder height, palms facing down. Then turn your left foot and leg out 90 degrees to the left, lining the heel of your left foot up with the arch of your right foot. Bend your left knee, forming a right angle with your left thigh and shin. Stack your knee directly above your ankle in line with your second toe. Relax your shoulders away from your ears and turn your head to gaze out over your left hand. Reach through your arms, feeling a line of energy from the tips of your right fingers through the tips of your left.

...TO SIDE ANGLE POSE

From Warrior 2 Pose, place your right hand on the ground behind your right foot (on the little toe side). If your hips are tight, you can place your hand on a yoga block. Extend your left arm straight up, turning your palm down so your thumb is pointing behind you.

The Super Skater

SUPER SKATERS

Recommended by Dr. Kristen Harvey, owner and instructor of Scenic City Boot Camp

Place all of your weight on one leg. Slide the other leg behind the body in a skater motion. If necessary, briefly touch your back foot for balance. Bend the front knee 20 degrees short of 90 degrees. Hold 3 to 5 seconds. Return to a standing position, but keep all of your weight on one foot. Start with three sets of 12 repetitions and increase repetitions slowly as you feel more comfortable.

LEG LIFT

Leg Lifts

Recommended by Laurel Strength, instructor at Pilates Tonic

Channel your inner ballerina and place your legs in third position with your left heel sliding into the arch of your right foot. Place all your weight on the left leg and slide your right leg diagonally back. Bring your arms in front to counter balance, soften the front knee and lift your right leg up and down while pointing through your toes. If you really want to feel the burn, hold your leg up, flex your foot and lift it just an inch or two up and down in tiny pulses. Perform this exercise for about a minute and switch over to the other leg.