Spring is finally here! The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and those spring and summer clothes seem to be. . . smaller. While the warmer weather and the reemergence of the sun makes us all happier, it also makes it harder for you to hide that muffin top underneath sweaters and jackets.
Unfortunately, your stomach is often one of the first places you gain weight and one of the last places you’ll lose it. Don't we all know it! Belly fat is not only bad for the beach; it’s downright dangerous. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension revealed that “A larger waist measurement predicts the development of high blood pressure, regardless of total body fat.” Other studies have found that visceral stomach fat (versus the subcutaneous fat that you can pinch) is linked to higher total cholesterol, insulin resistance, colorectal cancer, and diabetes. It’s time to get serious about losing the spare tire around your waist—not only for aesthetic reasons, but also for your long-term health. And with just a few more weeks until beach season is here, there’s no better time to start shredding that fat so that you can reveal a flat, defined, sexy stomach. Or at least feel confident in that swimsuit!
So what to do?
A healthy diet—full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil)—is critical to getting a flat stomach. Ever heard the phrase “your abs are made in the kitchen”? It’s true!!
Don't know where to start or need a push? Join one of my Free 5 Day clean eating groups or have the meal plan emailed to you by clicking here.
My Favorite meal plan has to be the 21 Day fix however, it's simple clean eating with portion control containers to help you know how much of each category you should be consuming. It takes the guess work out of portion control without any weighting, calorie counting or measuring! This is the program I'll be following in these next weeks leading up to Summer. You can join me by checking out my 21 Day Fix bootcamp!
If seeing a flat stomach comes down to reducing your body fat through healthy diet and exercise, then why bother doing ab-specific exercises? One good reason is that “ab exercises” also strengthen your core, and a strong core can improve your posture and make you less prone to injury. Another is that the abs—like your biceps—are muscles and strengthening them is important. Doing exercises that target these will strengthen them so they appear defined when your body fat percentage is low enough for them to be visible. With that in mind, pop by and check out my Abs and Arms Challenge! It's Free and Fun!
For extra support in achieving that toned stomach, follow these 5 gut-busting tips:
1. Ditch the Refined Sugar It may look good and taste good, but refined carbohydrates and sugars wreak havoc on your midsection. It’s OK to have a treat once in a while, but try to keep these waistline killers to a minimum.
2. Stand Up Straight The more you slouch, the more your stomach pooches. According to WebMD, you should “align your ears over your shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over knees, and knees over ankles. Keep the fronts of the shoulders open like a shirt on a hanger. Draw your navel to your spine and keep your weight even on the balls and heels.” This posture will help you look much leaner and, over time, this isometric contraction of your abs will help strengthen them.
3. HIIT Training Engage in High Intensity Interval Training (also known as HIIT) and you can see more results in less time! This type of exercise, done in short bursts with brief recovery periods between sets, can help spike your metabolism so you burn calories for hours after you’re done working out. I personally love Insanity Max: 30 workouts and 21 Day fix Extreme for my high Intensity workouts!
4. Sleep Getting the right amount of shut-eye can help you get the flat tummy of your dreams. When you skimp on shut-eye, your body undergoes physiological stress, which causes your body to store fat. Strive to get 8 or more hours every single night. I for sure need to work on this myself. 6 1/2 - 7 hours a night is my average so says my fitbit so I better get to bed earlier if I want those abs this summer!
5. Reduce Stress Stress can be good or bad depending on how we deal with it. We need stress to change and progress, but too much of it can cause our bodies to enter a “fight-or-flight” biochemical process. This can make our bodies store fuel, slow down metabolism, and dump out chemicals [such as the stress hormone cortisol] which are more likely to cause . . . obesity in the abdominal region. When we’re stressed, we also tend to reach for comfort foods and find reasons to eat out more frequently. If you lower your stress levels (through time management, yoga, meditation), you won’t need to self-medicate with food and your hormone levels will be much healthier.
I've got a goal for the summer, one that I've been struggling to achieve and that's to have a flatter more toned stomach this summer! Who wants to join me this spring to feel more confident and healthier than any other summer? Comment below or email me I want to hear from you about your goals!