This post is broken up into a couple sections:
- How do I get a Flat Stomach?
- What are the best exercises for visible abs?
- What can you actually do?
- But can I target fat loss
How do I get a Flat Stomach?
This is one of the most common questions I get! There are so many scams out there with people trying to sell you pills, wraps and teas that it’s no wonder people are confused. People are always going to take advantage of the fact that, when it comes down to it, people are lazy but want quick results. People want to take a pill to lose fat or put on a waist trainer to get abs! In reality, the only thing that will get you a flat stomach is attention to your diet and nutrition. What your eating has everything to do with a “flat stomach” or visible abs.
Don’t waste your money on wraps, pills, waist trainers or ridiculous teas. Instead invest your money in whole foods or minimally processed foods. Spend more time paying attention to what you put in your mouth instead of doing 1000 crunches. Every gym has that one person who trains abs every damn day, and yet still isn’t anywhere close to visible abs. The reason person x doesn’t have abs or maybe even a flat stomach is because you can’t out train a bad diet. You can do all the ab exercises and cardio in the world, but if you aren’t paying attention to what you eat you’re only going to accomplish so much.
What are the best exercises for visible abs?
There isn’t one. The “best” ones will also depend on your ability level, mobility and if you have any prior injuries. Visible abs are the result of having a low body fat % (particularly in your mid-section). Ever seen really skinny kids with abs? It’s not because they’re doing crunches 3 times a week. We all have abs, however, for most of us they lay under a layer of fat. There are lots of great exercises that will help you build a strong core. Don’t forget though, that making sure to engage your core during all exercises is also important. You should be feeling your core when doing movements like squats and deadlifts. Even exercises like standing bicep curls have me focusing on my core. One of the best exercises for core are planks as there are so many variations.
Don’t forget that while aesthetics are great, having strong core muscles is actually important for your overall training. When your core isn’t strong, other muscles help out and or overcompensate to make up for your lack of strength. And while its absolutely amazing that the body does this, it can result in you having to fix other things. I personally had to go to physio for pain in my lower back. My physio told me I was overusing my back as a result of a weak core. He gave me a bunch of plank variations to include several times a week…ideally everyday…oops!
What can you actually do?
- Reduce your calorie by creating a healthy calorie deficit. More details here “How to Lose Weight”
- Reduce your alcohol intake. When there is alcohol in your system, your body focuses on burning off those calories first and all fat loss stops. Drinking also adds a lot of calories to your diet and usually ends in delicious but not so healthy treats!
- Eat slower to prevent overeating and reduce bloating
- Drink more water
- Reduce the amount of stress in your life. The stress hormone cortisol can cause some individuals to store more fat around their middle.
- Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation increases appetite, messes with your hormones and effects your ability to lose weight and be active.
- Improve your good gut flora which aids in controlling bodily functions including fat reduction and your metabolism. You can do this by eating a diverse range of foods: fruits, vegetables, legumes, fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha and tempeh, avoiding artificial sweeteners, eating prebiotic foods, whole grains and or by taking a probiotic supplement.
- Reduce your salt/sodium intake. Too much salt can cause you to retain water.
- Try an elimination diet. Eliminating foods and slowly reintroducing them can lead you to discover sensitivities to certain foods. Some people can benefit from removing certain foods or things like dairy from their diets. Don’t be one of those people that just goes “gluten free” without the ability to actually identify gluten! There are lots of different elimination diets available, the whole 30 is just one example of them.
- Try a low fodmap diet. This type of diet isn’t really a “diet” it is more of a way to help resolve digestive disorders be eliminating certain foods that tend to irritate people with tummy troubles.
- Include more resistance training. Weight lifting in my experience has helped to shred more fat than simply cardio!
- Track your macros. Finding out what macros make up most of your food consumption can be eye opening. Including more healthy fats in my diet has been extremely helpful in losing fat.
But can I target fat loss?
Click here find out.
Still wondering why some people always have flat stomachs?
Check out this article from Popular Science about fat distribution. “Here’s why your body stores more fat in certain places”