Let’s face it, we all equally admire and envy the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Jessica Alba, and Alessandra Ambrosio for their washboard abs and flat stomachs. There’s no doubt they work hard for their toned tums, but without the luxuries of two-hour daily PT sessions, does it mean we can’t all have a trim bod too? We think not – which is why Savoir Flair has compiled the ‘Flat Stomach Guide’, including the secrets to slimming down and getting rid of stubborn stomach fat.
Abdominal fat is often the hardest body fat to shift. This is especially true for females as it’s where women are prone to storing fat, even more so during menopause due to decreased levels of estrogen. However, whether you’re prone to tummy fat or not, a bikini body is very much within reach with this simple formula. Exercise won’t beat the bulge alone, but combined with two other essential elements, it’ll be flat stomachs all-round in no time.
Reducing abdominal fat is a mixture of nutrition, fitness, and monitoring stress levels. The third, stress, is the component that people usually dismiss as irrelevant and unchangeable because “it’s part of daily life”, but in fact it can have a huge effect on weight gain and we’ll tell you why.
People who want abs tend to go to the gym and crunch for 45 minutes, wake up the next morning, repeat the same thing, and wonder why those abs haven’t yet appeared. Chances are, if you’re not seeing a toned tummy when you look in the mirror, it’s because you are carrying a little extra fat. In order to get definition, the most effective thing to do is a mixture of efficient cardiovascular training and weight lifting, not ab training.
Start doing sprint intervals.
HIIT (high intensity interval training) has been proven to be (by a long stretch) the quickest and best way to burn calories and fat, fast. Although the quality of calories you put into your body is also of high importance, ultimately if you are consuming more calories then you are expending, this will result in fat gain. By doing sprint intervals, you can dramatically increase the amount of calories you burn in a workout and hence your calorie deficit, resulting in fat loss.Here’s an example to try: Try doing 10 sprints on the treadmill at a ratio of 1:1, a one-minute high-intensity sprint followed by a one-minute slow jog, then repeat. The total time for this workout is 20 minutes and the calorie expenditure will be far greater than that of a 40-minute jog.
Always engage your core.
Core stability and the strength of the abdominal muscles are closely related to back pain and injuries. It’s a crucial element in every aspect of training and can help you reach new heights whilst supporting the body to prevent pain and stressful impact. Whilst doing exercises such as squats, lunges, knee raises, and practically everything else, always engage your core properly. This not only works on the core muscles for the whole length of your training session, but will help progress your training quicker.
Weight your ab workouts.
Just like with a bicep curl and leg presses, your abdominals need resistance during training too. If muscles are not ‘stressed’ during exercise, then they won’t grow and you will see no improvement. Incorporate weights in, bit by bit, when you feel a plateau in training, and always push yourself to the next level. Try exercises like weighted crunches and seated Russian twists using a dumbbell.
Ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? Well, there’s a lot of truth behind this tale. There is no point sweating it out in the gym every day, only to go and eat more than you’ve burnt, and even worse – to eat the wrong types of foods.
Increase protein intake.
We’re not saying protein is the only food you should eat, but it should be making up around 50 percent of each meal if you’re training most days and looking to decrease fat. Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but choosing complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains, instead of white bread and high-fructose fruits, is going to be a far better option. As a general rule, center your meals around quality protein, rather than the carbs, and you’ll find that the fat will drop off quicker and that your muscle growth will be faster.
Check portion sizes.
More often than not, we are handed plates of food far bigger than our stomachs need, or want. The size of your stomach is roughly the size of your fist, so keep that in mind when attending big parties and lavish banquets! When the feeling of fullness comes along, stop eating. It doesn’t mean food needs to be wasted – just order less in the first place.
Stress here, stress there, stress is pretty much everywhere. This detrimental concept of stress is something that has been allowed to leak into our lives so freely and take hold of us as and when it choses. It isn’t only affecting our moods in that particular moment; it’s actually making us store and hold onto fat, which, in return, results in more stress, and more fat. You get the idea.
In any stressful situation, our body releases a hormone called cortisol, a system humans develop for what’s commonly known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ mode. It is there to get the body ready for danger. However, the problem nowadays is that we get stressed so frequently throughout the day, with everything from traffic, work issues, and relationship problems, that we end up in a constant ‘cortisol spike’. This makes the body actually resist weight loss because it thinks it’s in trouble (stress) and might starve, so it holds onto and stores as much fat as possible – mainly in the abdominal area! So from now on, every time a situation is occurring that you feel may lead to stress, remove yourself from it and control your mind, telling yourself to stay calm and stress-free.