Achieving and then maintaining a flat belly comes down to perseverance and persistence. It’s not rocket science. Know the rules and stick to them.
Rule #1: Pull in in your inner corset.
Loads of crunches focus on the superficial abdominal muscles but don’t really work on your deeper muscles, which are foundation of a solid, flat set of abs. Your workouts need to target these muscles that lie beneath the superficial ab muscles.
Rule # 2: Burn fat – move it!
You can crunch all day long but if you have that extra fat to lose then your abs aren’t going to look that great. Include fat burning in your list of goals. To achieve this you need to burn plenty of kilojoules regularly through walking, running, skipping, climbing, cycling etc. Aim to work out at least 30 minutes per day on most days of the week and include resistance training two to three times per week.
Rule # 3: Eat flat belly foods.
Ok, well this may be an exaggeration but yes, there are things that you can do with your eating patterns that can help, or sabotage, your flat belly goals. Eat enough protein (think fish, eggs, chicken), minimise or eliminate excess sugar, and eat plenty of monounsaturated fats (think avocado, olives and fish). Avoid bloating by keeping your salt levels to the essential minimum and avoid carbonated drinks.
Rule # 4: Don’t stress
Life is too short – don’t sweat the small stuff. Stress is going to make you more inclined to reach for fatty foods and detour you off your path to flat abs. Plus, stress increases levels of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, which is going to increase your chances of storing fat – a double whammy!
Rule # 5: Train your abs 2-3 times per week.
In my opinion, training your abs three times per week is ideal. This allows enough stimulation without over doing it and you can schedule in a rest day between hard workouts. But don’t forget you should be pulling in your ‘inner corset’ all throughout the day – every day. This is one of your back’s protection from injury and lays a ground foundation for building lean, flat abs.