If you’re looking to strengthen and tone your core, you’re probably out there trying to find ways to get rid of some of that side fat. You probably know them affectionately as “love handles,” but toning up this part of the body can help improve your overall strength, functionality, and workouts in general.

Of course, you know the old gym rule – no pain, no gain! So it may take some dedication and lifestyle changes, but by following these tips for getting rid of side fat, you can turn your core into a well-worked out machine.

Clean Up Your Diet
If you’ve been around the fitness block, then you’ve probably heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen.” Honestly, there’s no more accurate statement. Sure, you can do side bends and oblique twists all day long, but if your diet isn’t on point, you’ll never get control of your side fat, or the rest of your core muscles for that matter.

There’s no way of losing weight in just one spot — the only thing you can do is burn more calories than you ingest, which will result in a leaner body overall. To get an idea of how many calories you need to consume to start burning fat, take a look at your current daily intake. You should aim to consume about 500 to 1,000 calories less than you burn each day. Doing so should result in a loss of one to two pounds per week.

Ramp Up Your Cardio
According to a study looking at the different types of cardio exercises, steady-state cardio isn’t the best way to burn fat. If you’ve been slogging away on the treadmill and not seeing results, then this is excellent news for you! Instead of plodding along on cardio machines for hours every week, try adding some high-intensity cardio to your training. You can add in high-intensity intervals, or increase your rate of perceived exertion.

If you regularly train at around 50 percent of your maximum effort, try bumping it up to 75 percent. Researchers have found that higher intensity cardio is more effective at burning abdominal fat than lower intensity exercise. And the great thing is, even if you hate cardio machines, you can still use bodyweight exercises or kettlebells to get an effective HIIT session!

Lift Weights
Lifting weights will add more muscle to your frame, and since muscle is more metabolically active than fat, you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not training. Aim to perform three to five weightlifting sessions per week and focus on massive, compound movements that target multiple muscle groups. Deadlifts, squats, rows and pressing movements should form the basis of your training.

Getting a handle on your love handles doesn’t have to be difficult, you just have to follow a plan and stick to it. Simply maintain a healthy diet with the right caloric deficit and include a few intense training sessions throughout the week. You’ll be well on your way to defined obliques in no time!