It’s time to put away those bulky sweaters, get rid of those loose t-shirts and head to the lake, the pool or the park in your bathing suits and tank tops. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the biggest trend this summer is showing some serious skin - including rock hard abs. Well you can have a flat stomach, too.
Here are my top four tips to help you achieve a flatter stomach this summer.
What you eat has a lot to do with how your stomach looks. Eat a lot of fatty foods and you’re sure to gain weight. Don’t eat enough fiber, and you’ll prevent your body from getting rid of the food you’ve already eaten – giving you that noticeable pooch to your lower abdominal area. It’s time to get rid of those chips, cookies and cakes and start eating fruits and vegetables. Increase your daily fiber intake by adding a high fiber cereal to assist your digestion and help minimize that lower belly pooch. Increase the amount of water you drink to help speed up your metabolism, rid your body of toxins and keep your skin looking fresh, tight and smooth.
Ever notice someone who stands with a slouch? That position makes them look frumpy, pudgy and not very confident. Standing up straighter not only gives the appearance of self confidence, but helps your body look long and lean. When you stand or sit with correct posture, you engage the muscles of your torso, giving your muscles a consistent workout. Remember to pull your abdominal muscles in, rather than letting them just bulge out. Ladies, utilize your Keigel exercises to lift up and in on your pelvic muscles for a slenderizing look and lasting benefits.
Remember, you cannot “spot reduce” – meaning you cannot say to your body “I want to lose some fat right here” and have it miraculously happen. When we lose weight, we lose it all over our bodies. When you do a significant amount of cardiovascular exercise and raise your heart rate and your metabolism, you will begin to burn calories from the fat stores you have all over your body. The result is a thinner, healthier body.
There are many exercises that target your abdominals; there are many more that simply use your abdominals to assist other muscle groups. Both types of exercise are effective, both types should be incorporated into any workout plan. The exercises that use your abdominals to assist other muscle groups include any exercise where you are moving your arms or legs and your torso is working to stabilize you. Running, walking and swimming are the most common; be sure to engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button in while you feel your torso gently rotate from side to side. Kickboxing involves lots of twisting which, when done properly, gives your abdominals a great workout. When you lift weights, be sure to use proper technique and good posture to allow your abdominals to assist in stabilization.
The best exercises that specifically target your abdominals include many variations of the crunch. Whether on the floor, on a ball or on a slant board, the crunch is one of the most effective ways to target your abdominals. Here is the proper way to perform any type of crunch. Lye flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor. Your feet should be positioned roughly hips distance apart – about 18 – 24 inches. Gently tilt your tailbone up toward the ceiling so that your waistband is pressed down to the floor. Be sure to keep your waistband down on the floor to prevent straining your back and hips. Using your hands to support the weight of your head and neck, pull your belly button in toward your spine as you concentrate on using just your abdominal muscles to bring your ribs toward your hips. Be sure to exhale as you exert ( ribs towards hips ) and inhale as you lower ( shoulders toward the floor ). Vary the crunch by lying on a stability ball or a slant board.
Remember to pull your belly button in at all times for an instant tummy tuck. Enjoy the warmer weather with your flatter stomach!