When you look at fit bodies, the benchmark for a really toned and conditioned physique is flat, washboard abdominal. Flat abs are the holy grail of any workout regimen. Regardless of gender, flat abs are always desired , and people will always be searching for ways to achieve that slim midsection. It is so desirable that a small fitness industry is practically built around the desire for a toned stomach. There are endless products and routines churned out constantly by those enterprising individuals that want to exploit the aspiration for flat abdominals.
How to get flat abs is really no big deal. Time and again, the experts have told us how to achieve this fitness goal and the answer to that question has always been a two pronged reply. Diet and exercise.
A flat abs diet is essential in conjunction with a flat abs workout to achieve results. You will also need to have a lot of patience especially if you are coming from a particularly large midsection. Many infomercials will promise flat abs in a week, but the truth to that is it will take hard work and perseverance to get the desired results. First let’s see how you can achieve this goal by eating the right way. One thing is for sure, ask anyone with a six pack how he or she eats, and you will find that they consume incredibly clean diets. Let us take a quick look into a flat abs diet.
Flat Abs Diet
Fitness Guru Dr. Oz presents 4 key principles upon which you should build a flat belly diet. He collaborated with nutritional biochemist Dr. Shaw Talbott, Flat Belly Diet author Liz Vaccariello, and 8 Minute Abs creator Jaime Brenkus to devise this plan to help you shed fat without feeling deprived or starved.
“1. Shrink Fat Cells
A recent study found that those who ate three yogurts a day while dieting lost 81% more belly fat than people who didn’t eat yogurt. All study participants were directed to eat 500 calories less per day. As part of the Flat Belly Plan, you should eat about 6 ounces of low-fat Greek yogurt before every meal. Why? It’s thought that calcium can help stop fat from entering your cells, improve your body’s ability to break down fat and help your body carry out fat through your bowel movements.
2. Shed Excess Pounds With MUFAs
MUFAs, or monounsaturated fatty acids, are the cornerstone of the Flat Belly Plan. These are plant-based fats, so the easiest way to remember them is to look for healthy fats that aren’t from animal sources, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, oils and olives. A study done through the American Diabetic Association found that a diet rich in MUFAs worked to reduce belly fat.
As part of the Flat Belly Plan, you need to eat three MUFA meals a day. Get a week’s worth of MUFA meals here.
The foundation of any MUFA meal has:
3 ounces lean protein
1 complex carb
Each meal should be 350 calories (or fewer)
3. Reduce Inflammation
The next part of the plan aims to reduce inflammation. Belly fat has been linked to inflammation and elevated cortisol (the stress hormone). Belly fat is even thought to be “toxic” to your system as it releases chemicals into your body that wreak havoc on your appetite and the way your body metabolizes food. That’s why anti-inflammatory foods are thought to be effective in fighting belly fat and breaking the vicious cycle.
As part of the Flat Belly Plan, have an anti-inflammatory snack in the afternoon. Snacks should be rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants that help curb inflammation. They’re the natural compounds that give berries and other fruits their vibrant color. Try a sliced yellow bell pepper with hummus or a bowl of mixed berries drizzled with dark chocolate. Click here for more anti-inflammatory food suggestions.
4. Beat Bloat
Drink ginger iced tea with mint and lemon to reduce bloat! Ginger naturally aids digestion, mint helps to reduce gas, and lemon juice is rich in antioxidants. Follow the recipe below and sip on this Flat Belly Tea all day long:
3 bags of ginger tea
1 cup fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups of water
2 cups of ice
In a large pitcher (about 24 ounces), steep the ginger bags and chopped mint for 5-10 minutes. Strain mixture to remove bags and leaves. Add lemon juice. Stir and serve. Store in refrigerator, serve chilled and sip.”
Flat Abs Workout
Now that you have the knowledge and means to stay lean thru proper eating, the second piece to the puzzle is to develop a strong, toned core. While there are many routines that can be utilized to achieve this goal, what we have outlined below instead are principles rather than specific exercises that you can live by. Just like the advice given by Dr. Oz, it does not delve into specifics, but outlines basic fundamental rules. The same applies here in your workout program. You are free to choose the actual exercises that you feel like doing, while being guided by the pointers below. These basic exercise tips are from the Wikihow site.
1. Do aerobic exercises daily. Cardio exercises will heat up your core temperature and improve circulation, both of which will aid in acquiring a flat stomach. Strive for at least 30 minutes a day minimum, but include one to two days of rest each week.
2. Take up dancing, running, Tae-Bo, swimming, cycling and walking at a good pace—anything that brings your heart rate up.
3. Try interval cardio training, such as alternating between sprinting and power walking. You can try sprinting for as long as you can. When you become too tired, you should walk. When you feel that you’ve caught your breath, sprint again.
Do these alterations for a total of 20 minutes at a time.
4. Include plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that require “explosive power.” They combine cardio with strength training. Some great plyometric exercises you can do at home include:
Modified jumping jacks. Start standing, then jump up with hands and feet spread apart, creating an “X” in the air with your body, then land back in standing. Repeat as many times as you can.
Squat-thrust push-ups. Start in push-up position, do one push-up, then push off with your feet and pull your knees up to your chest so your feet land between your hands(still on the ground in push-up position), then jump as high as you can, arms over head. Squat back down with your hands on the floor, then jump back to push-up position again. Do as many as you can do well with good form.
5. Do strength training to build muscle. Having more muscle will increase your metabolism, so you’ll burn calories faster over time.
Crunches work the upper abdomen, leg raises work the lower abdomen, and side bends work the obliques (also known as love handles). About 15 to 25 reps each day should be enough. If you can do more than that, try adding a weights to your routine. Note that doing crunches will only build muscle underneath your existing belly fat, but will not burn that fat directly.
Try compound exercises like deadlifts with heavier weights.”
There you have it. A guide to a diet that will help you shed fat, and exercise principles that keep fat burning optimal while you develop a strong core. Do these two pronged approach and you are likely to get a flat belly. Remember, we can talk about these fundamental rules all day, but the key element towards having the benefits of a flat belly will always be your motivation and determination to stay the course. Keep yourself disciplined and you are guaranteed to see results in no time at all.