Fitness may be your driving force for staying healthy, but a small dose of vanity is an acceptable reward after you’ve slaved away at the gym, slowly sculpting a toned body that makes you proud.
If you’re looking for quick tips to tackle pesky stomach bulges before summer, don’t miss this essential list:
1. Maximize the Cardio
In order to advertise those flat abs, you will need to develop them first! Your initial step is to lose the thin layer of fat separating your six-pack from the world, and the only way to do this is to burn more calories than you are storing. Your best plan of attack? Cardio exercises like jogging or HIIT!
2. Strengthen the Core
While it’s true that a thousand crunches aren’t going to do the trick, you can still firm up your waistline by regularly performing flutter kicks, squats, and planks. Join a yoga class for even more value, and lose weight while at work by sitting on an exercise ball instead of your standard desk chair.
3. Add Weight Resistance
Along with core attention, you should also be throwing some weight training into your workouts. The list of reasons for this is extensive: calories will drop faster, muscle growth will surge, and the metabolism will kick into high gear. To specifically activate your abdominals, concentrate on compound lifts such as squats, bench presses, and deadlifts.
4. What to Eat
The final piece of the sacred ab-puzzle comes from the kitchen. Flushing the system with ample fiber and loading up on protein are logical suggestions, but the rumors which advise against carbs and fats are inaccurate at best. Consuming healthy fats in moderation (nuts, olive oils, avocado) helps to balance out your hormones, while adding good carbs (sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal) into your post-workout meals, means they won’t turn into fat so easily, but will replenish your depleted energy levels.
5. What Not to Eat
No one needs to tell you that you won’t get a flat tummy with fistfuls of buttery biscuits and a side portion of fries, but there are other guilty foods out there which people tend to overlook. Fruit and honey may be rightfully praised as healthy sweeteners, but they are still exploding with enough sugar to pack padding onto the waistline. Similarly: broccoli, kale, and cabbage are nutritious goldmines, but they also produce a lot of gas which can cause bloating. Avoid these closer to your beach outings if you really want to impress someone.
6. How to Eat
It’s not enough to simply watch your diet either, as you must eat in the correct manner too. Ensure you chew your mouthfuls rigorously, which will ease the digestion process and reduce potential overeating by giving the food a chance to hit your stomach. In the same vein, minimize your portion sizes but eat more regularly, with four to six smaller meals a day.
7. Drink Loads of Water
Drinking plenty of water is always recommended no matter what the situation. In regards to your abdominals, it’s worth noting that a dehydrated body tends to retain liquid and then bloat the belly outward. H2O also naturally suppresses the appetite and helps to flush the body out, so this is a no-brainer.
8. Cut Down on Sodium
If you think you’re retaining water anyway, it’s more than likely that your sodium intake is to blame. Thankfully, this weight is relatively easy to get rid of, simply by dodging salt. Read the food labels, cook each meal yourself, and replace the flavouring with more interesting herbs and spices.
9. Cut Down on Alcohol
Sunshine is a great excuse to party, but sometimes you’ve got to make a decision about what you value more: your booze or your stomach? After a drinking session, your body likes to collect fat around the midsection for safe keeping until the liver gets rid of the toxins, which leads to what is commonly known as “the beer belly”. Not to mention that most alcohols are very high in calorie content anyway while intoxicated individuals tend to gravitate towards junk food too.
10. Intermittent Fasting
If all else fails, it may be worth looking into some healthy fasting techniques, as these patterns may not only flatten your stomach but have also been shown to give your insulin a chance to level out now that the onslaught of carbs is gone. The most commonly recommended schedules are to either abstain from food for 16-hours a day or 24-hours twice weekly.
10 Simple Steps to Get That Summer-Ready Stomach