Increase Insulin Sensitivity, Eliminate Love Handles – T Nation Content – COMMUNITY

Four Proven Pudge-Fighting Strategies

Love handles and muffin tops are symptomatic of insulin insensitivity. Here’s how to increase it to make fat loss much easier.


Any guy can go from 25% to 15% body fat with training and a decent diet. Likewise, any female can go from 45% to 25% without too much trouble. But after that, things get problematic. The same diet that got you to that first milestone won’t likely take you to the second. Fat gets sticky, usually around the waist.

People blame their love handles on lack of sleep, age, genetics, and even cortisol. While all these things play a part in stubborn love handles and muffin tops, they’re largely symptomatic of low insulin sensitivity. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to fix your insulin resistance and specifically target the sticky spots.

1. Use Simple Diet Tricks to Increase Insulin Sensitivity

Without optimal insulin sensitivity, a lot of the carbs you eat get delivered to fat storage rather than muscle. While your instinct might be to adopt a low-carb diet, it doesn’t fix the problem (and a chronic low-carb diet leaves your muscle-building capabilities impaired). What you need to do instead is optimize insulin sensitivity. There are several dietary strategies that help:

  • At the start of a meal, eat some protein and fat before you even touch any carbohydrate. This strategy, according to research, leads to significantly lower blood sugar levels than eating carbs first.
  • Use vinegar as a salad dressing. It attenuates the glucose and insulin response from a carb meal and raises insulin sensitivity in general. Continued use can lead to an average weight loss of two pounds in four weeks. Also, take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed. Studies show that it can lower morning blood sugar by 4 to 6 percent.
  • Take one teaspoon of psyllium fiber (like sugar-free Metamucil) twice a day. It can lower all-day blood sugar levels by 11 percent.
  • Take fish oil. New studies show that not only does it rival the effects of exercise on blood sugar but, when combined with exercise, actually has a synergistic effect on blood sugar reduction. For best results, use a DHA-rich fish oil like Flameout (on Amazon).

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2. Diet Super Hard Two Days Per Week

When you eat frequently, as lifters often do, blood sugar levels are almost always elevated and your pancreas pumps out a near-constant flow of insulin. Research suggests that this constant flow of insulin gradually makes the body more resistant to its effects until you start to metabolically resemble a Type II diabetic.

What’s needed is a diet that ensures enough protein, carbs, and calories to keep muscle growing, but that also makes the body more sensitive to insulin. One strategy is called the “5/2” approach:

  1. Eat your normal healthy diet for five days each week.
  2. On the other two days, eat only two meals of approximately 400 calories each, 12 hours apart (like 7 AM and 7 PM). These two low-calorie days should be non-lifting days and non-consecutive. To ensure that there’s no possibility of muscle loss, have a scoop of MD Protein (on Amazon) as part of each meal or have two scoops (220 calories) and about a handful of nuts as one of those meals.

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This plan works because the semi-fasted days cause the body to become much more insulin-sensitive than it would from dieting seven straight days a week. If followed correctly, it allows you to get steadily more ripped with each passing week without losing muscle mass. Most importantly, however, the plan directly addresses that annoying insulin insensitivity problem.

3. Use an Insulin-Managing Supplement

Cyanidin3-Glucoside or C3G — sold as Indigo-3G (on Amazon) — is a naturally occurring anthocyanin. When isolated and taken in concentrated form, it has powerful blood-glucose-lowering properties that can treat the love handles caused by insulin insensitivity.

One of dozens of experiments showed that C3G caused dose-related blood glucose drops of 33% and 51%, prompting the authors of the study to say how favorably it compared to powerful pharmaceutical glucose-disposal agents.

Aside from modulating insulin, Indigo-3G increases glucose and lipid uptake specifically in muscles – great news for lifters and athletes. It also raises adipokinectin levels while decreasing leptin levels, which leads to less overall body fat. People who use C3G can actually eat more calories – including calories from carbs – and see them partitioned to muscle instead of fat.

Take a serving before your biggest meal of the day or just before starting your intake of pre-workout nutrition. Indigo-3G acts as kind of a metabolic/chemical liposuction that strategically attacks your sticky fat.

IG3Amazon

4. Target Your Training to Address the Problem

You’re no doubt lifting weights already and that’s obviously good. Additional muscle increases glucose disposal by simply giving carbs another place to go instead of fat storage. Likewise, resistance exercise, in addition to most types of aerobic exercise, increases insulin sensitivity. However, one type of exercise is especially effective in targeting stubborn fat: walk-runs.

Walk-running takes advantage of new research showing that walkers who vary their speed burn up to 20 percent more calories than walkers who maintain a steady speed. By slowing down, or even stopping and then accelerating, you’re changing the kinetic energy of your body and that requires more energy (calories). Combining the concept with running instead of walking turns it into an extremely effective fat-burning regimen.

Simply walk briskly for a time and then accelerate into a fast run. Once you begin to tire and your pace drops off, start walking again until you recover enough to break into another run. The distance you cover is irrelevant. Instead, set out to walk-run for a predetermined length of time, say, 30 minutes. Three 30-minute sessions a week slice off the waist blubber.

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