What machine works to tone my abs? Are sit-ups good for you? Will sit-ups reduce my stomach pouch? My belly fat is out of control! These are only a few examples of messages I received from those who want a flatter stomach.
Let's first talk about what lies beneath the stomach. Just below the skin is the subcutaneous fat. Visceral fat is located inside the abdominal cavity, packed around our internal organs. In excess, visceral fat can pose potential health concerns.
My flatter stomach tips worked for me during my competition training. I believe success comes when we are ready to make changes in our daily eating and exercise habits.
To see results while dieting, eat clean - lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbs, along with eating often and logging your food daily, is at the top of my list. Try drinking more water; stay away from sodas. Reduce the amount of processed foods and candy. Check the food labels for sugar. Four grams of white refined sugar is almost equal to a teaspoon. Our favorite soda may have as much as 46 grams of sugar, which is about eleven teaspoons of zero nutritional value. Be mindful of the so-called healthy cereal bars or protein bars, they pack a lot of carbs and sugar.
Incorporate some type of physical activity at least five days a week, one that you will enjoy so you'll be more likely to stick with it. If you're already doing cardio, try bumping it up by exercising in your targeted heart rate zone: 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. To calculate this, subtract your age from 220 to find maximum heart rate. Multiply the maximum heart rate by the 60 to 80 percent for your targeted heart rate. Before starting a new program, check with a physician; they may recommend a targeted heart rate zone.
During my high school days, I remember asking my mom what I could do to reduce my belly bulge. She recommended holding my abdominal muscles in tight while on the school bus, at my desk, and during my physical activities. Pull the abdominal muscles in tight toward your spine. By doing so, you also will have perfect posture. I believe my mom was ahead of her time. This advice is something I continue doing and advise my clients to do, as well as contracting abdominal muscles during weight-training exercises.
One hundred crunches and purchasing expensive equipment is not necessary. I work my abs at least four times a week, moving from one exercise to the other. My ab routine includes floor crunches, standing crunches, stability ball exercises and, my favorite, handing leg raises.
It's not going to be easy; it takes patience, hard work and dedication. The key to a flatter, healthier midsection is commitment. With that, comes success.