A lot of people dream of having a body with a great stomach. Ab machine manufacturers take advantage of this by inventing new equipment, using models with sexy washboard abs to sell them in infomercials on TV, reinforcing the erroneous belief that if only you work your abdominals enough, it’ll be flat. The only time this may come true is if you have very low body fat and unusually weak ab muscles. And if you happen to be one of the very who fit these criteria, you’d still be better off saving your hard-earned cash and simply following the advice below.
1. WATCH YOUR DIET. It may seem obvious that you should eat healthy foods and only consume as many calories as you burn (fewer if your goal is to lose body fat). Still, this may be the number one reason your stomach is a lot flabbier than you’d like it to be. It doesn’t matter how strong and firm your abdominals are if a layer of fat covers them. In other words, all those crunches/ab exercises you’re doing WILL NOT also magically burn off the fat on your stomach. I’m not saying you should not include ab exercises into your workouts—pilates-style exercises AND crunches—but know that they’ll only strengthen your abs, not melt off the fat on top.
2. DO INTERVAL TRAINING. If you’re a glutton like yours truly, you must work out so hard you burn more calories than you consume. I don’t like to deprive myself of the good things in life, so I incorporate interval training into my workouts. Not only does interval training burn a lot more calories than steady-state cardio, but it drastically increases your fitness levels. Generally speaking, the harder you work out, the flatter your abs will be without you ever doing a crunch, especially if you include several full-body exercises. Read this article for maximum burn workouts.
3. IMPROVE YOUR POSTURE. Every day when I go to the gym, I see super lean people who work out like maniacs, yet some of them look either depressed or like they’re pregnant. (Well, if they’re females:). As I was teaching a small group TRX class, one of my participants pointed to a woman we often see work out around us and whispered: “Wow, is she pregnant again?” I looked at the woman and it took me two seconds to determine that this twelve-percent body fat person slouched so badly she in fact looked like she was about four months pregnant! Instead of standing up straight, her hips were pushed forward and her chest sunken in–partly due to over-training her pecs. Avoid this look by always walking tall and proud. Lift your chest and chin and keep your shoulders down/back and the rest will fall into place!
Do you have great abs? What’s your best tips to get a flat stomach?