There’s no denying that achieving a flat, sexy stomach is the goal for almost everyone who exercises. We see it in magazines, movies, on television and billboards. It’s no wonder we all want to fit in.
The problem is that there are thousands of different ideas of how to achieve a flat stomach but really, it’s not too difficult if you know which variables to focus on.
Here are 5 of my favorite tips for achieving a flat and lean, sexy stomach.
Lose Body Fat
You’ve undoubtedly heard that your abs are made in the kitchen and quite frankly, that’s the truth.
Your abdominals are a bit interesting in that they don’t have great ability to grow outwards, such as other muscle groups, like your biceps. Essentially, it’s difficult to increase the size of your abdominals to any significant extent.
The reason this is so important is because it means that you probably won’t have much luck simply doing crunches and hoping that your abs will begin to show up. No, what you’ll need to do is lose or reduce the layer of body fat that is covering your abdominals, which of course, is always easier said than done.
Rather than doing crunches all day, I recommend that you start by adjusting your diet to ensure that you’re in a negative energy balance. That means you want to ensure you either restrict the calories you consume, increase the amount of calories you burn through activity, or some combination of the two.
Quite literally, you could have the best six-pack in the world, but no amount of crunches with reveal it if you have too much body fat covering those abs.
Eat Smaller Portions
While this isn’t necessarily a long-term solution, eating smaller portions can help you see and feel a flatter, sexier stomach.
Depending on the types and amount of foods you eat, digestion rates can vary radically. For instance, eating a 12-ounce steak will take significantly longer to digest than will a protein shake. If you’re eating large amounts of slow digesting foods, that food will sit in your gut and stomach for hours, which can lead to discomfort and the appearance that your stomach isn’t as flat as you think.
In addition to consuming smaller portions, I recommend that you slowly incorporate fiber into your diet rather than all at once. Fiber absorbs water and can make you gassy. Not to mention, it can lead to the feelings and appearance of bloat, which aren’t conducive to a flat stomach.
I recommend sticking with smaller portions to avoid excess food sitting in your stomach. I also suggest that you take special care when consuming fiber, as too much can cause gastrointestinal distress and unsightly bloat.
Try Limiting Your Carbs
Did you know that carbohydrates actually help hydrate you? It’s true and that’s the main reason behind this suggestion. Not because carbs lead to fat gain, rather, limiting them will help you retain less water, giving you a more defined physique.
When you consume carbohydrates, each gram is digested and broken down into a simpler molecule, known as glucose. You’ve probably heard of this molecule going by the name of blood sugar and that’s because that’s exactly what it is.
Once converted to glucose, these carbs travel through the blood to provide energy or to be stored for later energy use. When glucose gets stored in the muscle and liver, it’s converted into a form known as glycogen.
When glycogen enters the cell, it also brings with it around 3 grams of water, for every 1 gram of glucose. That’s a lot of water to hang on to, especially if you’re eating a large amount of carbs in your diet.
While you might not always want to restrict carbohydrates, doing so short term can help you lean out a bit, giving you a more defined, sexy stomach area. I recommend that you try reducing carbs by 25-50% for a few days to see how your respond. Doing so might reveal your abs a bit and give you an idea of how carb restriction can influence the appearance of your physique.
Work Your Core Directly
Even though I mentioned that abdominals don’t have much room to grow, directly working those specific muscles is still the best way to ensure that the abdominals muscles alone are defined and strong.
Additionally, and this is purely theoretical, there is new evidence that exercising body parts before doing cardio might help you spot reduce body fat. Essentially, when you exercise using resistance, fat is released from cells locally in the area you worked. For example, if you train your core, you can expect that fat cells around that area will release their contents into the blood.
When you follow this up with some low intensity cardio, you’re ensuring that fat gets used for energy during the cardio. It’s a plausible technique and I recommend you give it a try. Here’s an example:
- Hanging Leg Raises
- Decline Weighted Sit-ups
- Rope Cable Crunches
- Ab Rollout
- Rest 5 Minutes
- Complete 30+ minutes LISS cardio
It’s that simple, but overall, it seems to be effective. Just know that this has not been confirmed to work and it’s likely that you’ll need to practice it regularly to really see results.
HIIT training, otherwise known as High Intensity Interval Training, is one of the best techniques for building a flat, sexy stomach. That’s because HIIT increases hormones that specifically target stubborn fat.
When you exercise at a high intensity, you increase the release of hormones known as catecholamines. These catecholamines are technically stress hormones that dock onto receptors of fat cells to release their content into the blood. In effect, you’re directly increasing fat burning by using HIIT.
In fact, HIIT is best paired with normal cardio. Since you exercise at such a high intensity, you’re not burning fat during the workout, but more afterwards. Normal cardio on the other hand is really good at burning fat, but not great at releasing it.
That’s why HIIT and normal cardio is the best option for a flat stomach. Here’s an example of how I might carry this out:
- Cycle HIIT: 4 x 10 second Sprints
- Rest 10 minutes (HIIT is very demanding)
- Walk or Cycle at a low intensity for 30+ minutes
It’s really that easy and in my opinion, more effective than either alone.
5 Tips To Get A Flat, Sexy Stomach
Everyone wants a six-pack but few know exactly what you should do to achieve it. Really though, the steps you need to take are relatively straightforward.
Overall, you want to lose body fat to reveal your abs, rather than attempting to reveal them only through exercise. Really, a combination of nutritional manipulation and smart training strategies will be your ticket to a flat, sexy stomach you’re proud of!