1. Cut out all processed foodsGetting a flat stomach has a lot to do with fat accumulation over the abdominal muscles. Most people will accumulate fat on the stomach, butt, and hips as a result of a poor or unbalanced diet. Stomach fat is some of the toughest to burn off. Since spot fat reduction is not possible, crunches won't effect the flab sitting over the muscle. No specific exercise can reduce fat from the stomach region. It is 80% the effect of diet that people accumulate fat or burn fat off the body.
Since diet plays such a huge role in body fat, cutting out all processed foods will have an equally effective role in burning it off. Processed foods account for prepared restaurant foods, fat food, junk food, processed meats, processed dairy products, and anything else altered from its original state. Processed foods are high in sodium, possess far less nutrition and usually have preservatives.
Eating this kind of food is what has led to an obese population. Try eating foods that are prepared freshly at home. Shop for whole products at the grocery store or market, eat whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, and meats. These foods all come in their natural state and have not been processed or prepared before-hand.
2. Cut Down your CardioContrary to popular belief, cardio is not the most effective way to get abs. Cardiovascular workouts do help to burn a moderate amount of calories, but it is not the best way to burn up stomach fat. This is not to say that cardio won't help, but unless you are preparing for some kind of athletic event, cardiovascular exercise only requires a maximum of 30 minutes 3 times per week. If you find cardio boring and have been doing much more, you can safely cut it down. Then, spend more of your time in the gym lifting some weights.
Heavy Weights for a Flat Stomach
3. Start Lifting Heavy weightSince getting a flat stomach means burning up that extra body fat around the mid section, lifting weights becomes an advantage. Men and women alike who want a flat stomach should start lifting heavy weights to challenge the muscles to work as hard as possible. Using any combination of programs and exercises which target the whole body and all major muscle groups, the body will start burning fat.
Lifting heavy weights leads to more weight loss than cardio does. This is because after cleaning up your diet by cutting out processed foods, the body will start to drop weight accordingly. When weight is being lost, muscle mass will also be lost instead of fat, if the muscles don't have a reason to stay. “Use it or lose it” is all too true for the muscles in our bodies. By working the muscles, it forces the body to search for other sources of energy, working its way through sugar stores, and then on to fat.
Muscles also use more energy to sustain themselves when at rest and at work. This means that by lifting weights, the body will continue to burn the fat (hopefully off the abdomen), thinning that flabby layer hiding your abs.
4. Work on Core and Stability MovementsRather than sit ups and crunches, use stability and whole core exercises. These are exercises which target the entire core, and use the muscles in a similar way to how they would function naturally. A crunch is hardly a natural movement, and isolates the rectus abdominis muscle, whereas a core exercise can work the entire back, deep abdominal muscles along with all the smaller stabilizing muscles. One of the most common, safe and effective core exercises is the plank.
The plank helps to reinforce the stabilizing muscles, and can be used to combat back pain safely. To perform it: lie face down on the floor, you may also use a mat. Lift the hips up off the floor and place all your weight onto your toes and elbows. All other body parts should be raised, and the body should be parallel to the floor. Go ahead and see how long you can hold that position. An athlete may be able to hold this position for 2 minutes or more, and a good objective for the everyday person is about 1 minute. Start with 10 seconds, and increase by 5 seconds each try.
Variations of planks:
Another exercise for stabilization: Candle exercise
Try a few other core exercises, and add them to your weight training routine.
5. Overhead Exercises
The abdominals are most at work when the body is unstable and needs support. On the same track as the two rules above, getting the core muscles to work using more unique and effective movements leads to success. During your weight training routine, add in several exercises which require moving a free weight. Free weights are barbells or dumbbells; anything that requires the body to take control of the whole range of motion, unlike a machine. With them, perform movements overhead or away from the body, including push presses, snatch squats, standing shoulder press, frontal shoulder raises, and lateral raises, just to name a few.
A few abdominal exercises that require weights:
You can perform this exercise with or without weights:
A few abdominal workouts that include exercise ball:
Its these exercises that really work the core, strengthening the abdominals, even though you may not feel the burn right away.
Use these and other successful methods to get the flat stomach you've always wanted.