Cook At Home As Much As You Can
When dining out you rarely know exactly what ingredients are included in your meals, but cooking at home brings you a lot more control over what you eat. If you’re trying to eat a healthier diet to reduce fat, cooking at home is a big help. Another great part of eating at home? You’ll most likely save a bunch of money, too.
Creating The Illusion Of A Flat Stomach
How Muscle Is Actually Built
Research shows that building muscle requires a particular type of stimulus specifically tension, fatigue, and damage and the typical light weight, high rep, toning workout nonsense is laughable at providing it.
Building muscle also involves gradually getting stronger over time , and using the same super light, not-at-all-challenging weights over and over again for months/years is the opposite of that.
In addition, muscle is most effectively built when using a well-designed weight training program that incorporates optimal amounts of volume, frequency, and intensity. The typical toning workout for women takes none of this into consideration.
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Tone Pecs And Abs Quickly
To get a toned chest and stomach, you first have to burn off the layer of fat covering the pecs and abs. The only natural way to get rid of fat is to burn more calories than you take in, meaning that you must create a calorie deficit.
Although there are many factors at play in weight gain, a flabby chest and stomach are largely the result of consuming too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. When you take in more calories than your body needs for immediate energy and support of physiological function, those extra calories are stored as fat.
When your body is in a calorie deficit, it begins to tap into those fat stores, burning the fat and altering your body composition and overall appearance. Your diet is essential for creating that calorie deficit. Regular physical activity augments a calorie-controlled diet to create the deficit needed for fat loss.
I’ve Just Had A Baby Can I Do These Exercises
As we all know, a woman’s body changes a lot in her lifetime, and most significantly during pregnancy. To that end, stomach exercises that worked for you before, might not work now. You’ll likely have lost a lot of core strength, and getting into postnatal exercise is something that requires hyper-attention to the safety of you and your postpartum body. Before you try anything, you must get permission from your doctor. That’s a non-negosh, OK?
Once you’ve got the doctor all-clear, PT and postpartum specialist Charlie Launder suggests keeping the following five things front of mind as you jump back in:
For more of Launder’s expertise as well as a plethora of post-natal workout wisdom, check out our full post-pregnancy workout guide.
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What Is Muscle Tone
In this context, muscle tone refers to having a sufficient amount of muscle mass, plus a low enough body fat percentage for that muscle to actually be visible.
So, the less fat you have covering your muscles, the more toned and defined and sculpted you will look. The more fat you have covering your muscles , the less visible your muscles will be and the less toned you will appear.
In a nutshellMuscle Fat = Tone
So, whenever a person says they want to tone up, theyre really just saying they want their muscles to be more visible than they currently are.
How do you make this happen, you ask? By either:
- Losing more fat.This is the most common reason why someone isnt as toned as theyd like to be. Their body fat percentage is too high and theres a layer of fat sitting on top of the muscle they want to see. This makes the person look soft and flabby rather than lean and toned. I show examples of this type of body in my Body Fat Percentage Picture Guide.
- Building more muscle.Other times, the person will have a low enough body fat percentage, but theyre just lacking a sufficient amount of muscle mass. This makes the person look thin and skinny rather than lean and toned. I also show examples of this body type in my Body Fat Percentage Picture Guide as well.
- Doing a combination of both.And in other cases, its a little of both. The person is lacking muscle and has too much body fat.
Butits really not anything like that at all.
Need Help With Your Diet And Workout
Dont waste another minute of your time searching for what to do. Ive already done the research for you and created step-by-step plans that work. Select your goal below
- I Want To Build Muscle If you want to build lean muscle without gaining excess body fat, spending all of your time in the gym, using a diet or workout that isnt customized to you, or doing myth-based nonsense that only works for people with amazing genetics, check out: Superior Muscle Growth
- I Want To Lose Fat If you want to lose body fat without losing muscle, feeling hungry all the time, using stupid restrictive diets, doing 100 hours of cardio, or struggling with plateaus, metabolic slowdown, and everything else that sucks about getting lean, check out: Superior Fat Loss
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Keep In Mind That Hormones Play A Role
If you’re struggling to lose lower belly fat, underlying hormone imbalances could be playing a role, explains Maritza Worthington, a functional nutritionist who specializes in digestive and hormone health. “In my experience, the top two culprits behind stubborn belly fat have to do with either excess cortisol or estrogen dominance,” she says. “Typically hormone imbalance issues dont happen overnight, and are the result of insulin resistance, malnutrition, lack of exercise and a high stress lifestyle.”
Worthington shares a few pointers:
- Eat regularly and skip the fastingthe body actually stores more belly fat when skipping meals. “This could be because the body experiences higher cortisol/stress from starvation, and as a coping mechanism stores more belly fat , not knowing when the next meal will come,” she says.
- Focus on balanced meals and avoid eating protein or carbs alone. “Theres a reason why your body uses macronutrientsprotein, carbs, & fatsfor optimal fuel. And skipping one of these macronutrients can actually work against your metabolism.”
Always Warm Up Properly
A warmed-up core is a happy core. Because your abs are connected to your lower back, it’s extremely important to start any workout with a proper warm-up to prevent injury. Prep those muscles for the challenge to come with some light marching in place and gentle standing rotation of your midsection. Try this quick full-body warm-up before any fitness class or at-home routine.
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Dont Forget About Strength Training
Now, we dont want you to forego strength training completely. After all, increasing muscle mass does burn more calories.
Plus, you want to maintain what muscle you do have and not lose it during the weight loss process.
Just like you cant spot reduce fat, you cant tell your body when to burn fat and when to burn muscle. Wouldnt it be great if we could? We would all have the perfect body in no time.
One of the great things about strength training is that it helps you burn fat even after youre done exercising.
Lifting weights is considered anaerobic exercise and increases the excess post-exercise oxygen consumption . This afterburn effect can help in both HIIT and strength training by burning more calories with less work.
Aim to get two to three days of strength training in. Alternate with your HIIT days and make sure you get at least one full rest day to recover and recharge.
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What Muscles Constitute A Flat Stomach
The core isnt one muscle its a relationship between a number of muscles that cover your whole trunk, connecting your hips, spine, neck and shoulders, explains performance coach Brett Klika. The rectus abdominis, or six-pack muscles, are only part of it.
What Klika means is that those half-hearted bicycle crunches and other stomach exercises, stomach workouts and belly workouts youve been doing before bed are actually leaving much of your core out of the picture. Not to mention theyre potentially slowing down your progress, as well as being an unsafe way to train.
Aim for variety in your exercise and strength gains will follow. Trust us.
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Youre Not Tracking Your Progress
Another important point from Dr Luke. While every person is different and what weight loss plan works for them will be different, tracking your progress can serve as an encouraging reminder that what you are doing is working.
There are some great apps and wearable tech devices available that make it easier to stick to your plan. They can help you monitor your goals, your food intake and the calories burned during exercise. If these arent an option, write down a meal and exercise plan. This will help you stick to your goals and remain focussed, he explains.
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Eat Six Small Meals A Day
The secret to revving up your metabolism and getting rid of the abdominal fat is a change in diet. Start by eating five or six small meals a day. If you eat large meals and leave a lot of space between eating, your body will think you are starving yourself and as a result will store most of the calories as body fat, says Meghan Callaway, a Vancouver-based personal trainer.
She recommends eating your biggest meal of the day atbreakfast, within 30 minutes of the time you wake up. Its also important to drink lots of water during the day, which will limit water retention, aid in digestion and keep you feeling fuller between meals.
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You Need To Determine If You Have Diastasis Recti
Finding out if you have DR is important because if you do certain types of abdominal exercises, you can actually weaken the connective tissue there and worsen your abdominal separation.
If you would like to learn more, check out: How To Tell If You Have Diastasis Recti.
It goes over one simple test you can do to see if you have a gap in your rectus abdominis. It also goes over why you need to take care of it from a medical standpoint.
If you determine that you have DR, you should focus on closing your abdominal gap and strengthening your core muscles as soon as possible.
But in the meantime, you can also work on Steps 2 and 3 below.
How To Tone Your Stomach: Beginners Exercises
A great place to start if youre a beginner is a bird dog exercise. Lankester said: This is really working your deep core muscles and training your stability for the more advanced exercises.
How to do a bird dog exercise:
Another great exercise is a glute bridge, as they help to stabilize your core, as well as work the glutes and other muscles.
How to do a glute bridge:
Prioritize Core Strength After 60
According to AARP, falls are one of the leading contributors to death from unintentional injuries among adults 65 and older. The problem is a decreased ability to remain balanced, which relies on the neuromuscular, proprioceptive, vestibular and visual systems, according to researchers of the 2014 Journal of Aging and Physical Activity study, who suggest that core strengthening is one of the most effective and easiest ways to improve balance and prevent falls.
In fact, core-strengthening may be more effective than total-body strengthening for improving stability, according to authors of a 2015 study in Journal of Physical Therapy Science. The researchers divided 30 older adults into two groups, one of which performed standard strengthening exercises, while the other group performed core-strengthening exercises. After eight weeks, researchers evaluated weight distribution and stability in both groups and found that only the core-strengthening group showed significant improvement.
How Can I Get A Flat Stomach Or Make My Stomach Flatter
First off, if youre looking to make strength gains you probably dont wanta flat stomach.Strong abdominals if your body fat is low enough have a naturally muscular look.
However, and this is an important point to make strengthening your stomach muscles alone wont help you achieve the strong and lean aesthetic youre after.
That comes down to lowering your body fat percentage to a point where abdominal muscles are visible thats between 14 24% for women. However, common thinking suggests that most women should not dip below 18% body fat, at the risk of interfering with their hormones.
Also, if abs come at the cost of your mental health or you find yourself feeling preoccupied with fat loss, take a step back and ease off for a little while. Fuelling your body well with regular exercise, enough sleep and minimising stress is far more important than any body fat percentile. Trust us.
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How Long Does It Take To Tone Up
Note that time majorly depends on your body goals. For your body to get in shape, there is no predetermined amount of time. You find that the time depends on your objectives plus your level of commitment. That is your endurance, strength, weight loss, and body fat loss. Also, increasing your exercises is likely going to make you feel improved before you see any noticeable results. Well, not that there is no harm in overdoing your core exercises.
According to medical experts, your body may take up to three months for a noticeable change to occur. After three months, you are sure to have noticed a significant difference in your weight and fat loss. Although, it may take only a month to some people to tone up, especially if you have little or preferably no fat is covering your muscle. This is much determined by your diet and the amount of time spent on the exercises. Still, there are different cases for instance, if you have excess weight, got terrible habits like smoking, your body will take more time for a positive change to occur.
A Healthy Balanced Diet
Following a balanced diet that adheres to your recommended daily number of calories is essential for fat loss. Choose nutrient-dense whole foods over processed foods or foods containing refined sugar.
- Make small changes every day instead of trying to change everything at once.
- Monitor portion sizes to avoid overeating and consuming more calories than youre burning.
- Keep a food log in which you write down everything you eat or drink.
- Replace energy-dense foods with healthier choices fruits and veggies will fill you up and provide you with more essential nutrients and fiber than chips or cookies.
- Use a recipe analyzer to determine how many calories you eat each day.
For more guidance, try using a meal plan that calculates your calories for you.
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