Remember when you were in high school and keeping a flat, well-toned tummy was as easy as playing on the soccer team and eating when you felt like it? Well, if you’re like most people, age has gotten the best of you and keeping your rock hard abs rock hard and in shape takes a little bit more effort. A lot more, if you’re honest with yourself. But that doesn’t mean that having a well-toned, knot-tight tummy is an impossible feat.
Excited at the thought of regaining a youthful, flat and tight set of abdominal muscles? Prepare to push yourself and turn your pooch and droop into a flat, hard pile of muscles.
Charmaine Ironside feels that these four steps are key in getting the body you desire!
First Step: Ready Your Mind
Like anything worth doing, turning your flab-ulous body into something fabulous is not an easy task. You can’t do it in a day and you’ll have to make substantial sacrifices, but the end result is worth the effort.
So if you’re anticipating a quick fix for your abdominal issues, go back to sleep, because that’s only a dream. But if you’re okay with putting in some hard work, you’re going to do just fine. Because for a sleek and sexy set of abs that will be sticking around for a while, you’ll need to put in a lot of time and effort. Only when you’re willing to go the distance should you keep reading to find how to firm up your abs. Otherwise, you’re only chasing a dream that will quickly turn into a nightmare when it doesn’t come true.
Second Step: Eat for Your Abs
Look at your diet and what do you see? If there are loads of processed, high-fat, high-cholesterol foods in your daily meal plan, a change has to be heading your way. Otherwise, you’ll never thin out your chubby middle. These are all foods that your personal trainer will suggest against!
What kinds of foods should you substitute for your pound-padding delicacies? Basically anything that comes straight off a tree, vine, or stalk. By eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of whole wheat, you take away all the bad fats that tend to hang out around your middle and instead fill your body with immediately useful and beneficial vitamins and nutrients.
At the same time you start to beef up your fresh whole foods intake, you should also consider trading in your three-meals-a-day routine for more frequent feedings. By consuming smaller, more frequent meals, you’ll be full throughout the day, which allows your metabolism to run higher. This increased metabolism helps you burn calories, and by eating more often, you’ll actually wind up eating fewer calories, giving you a double dose of calorie reduction that will immediately impact the shape of your midsection.
Third Step: Do Your Sit-Ups
This one may seem obvious, but there’s something you should know about the sit-ups or crunches you’ve been doing every day: You don’t have to do quite so many.
Yes, it probably feels good to turn out 250 of them at one sitting, but you can likely get the same results with one-tenth as many sit-ups. So save yourself a little time by performing 15 or 20 sit-ups with picture-perfect technique. Instead of rushing through each repetition as if you’d rather be doing anything else under the sun, perform each sit-up slowly and steadily. Pay close attention to your body as you do the exercise, working to make sure your abdominal muscles are being flexed throughout the entire range of motion your body goes through in each sit-up. Also, make sure other muscles, such as the legs or arms, aren’t lending your abs a helping hand. Otherwise, your abs are getting quite the workout you may think.
Fourth Step: Get Oxygenated
Any time you’re trying to tighten up a body part, you may be tempted to grab the heaviest weights you can find and heave it overhead until you can’t hold it any more. It’s only natural. However, if you want to tone your tummy into a tight example of abdominal perfection, you’ll have to do something besides pumping iron and doing your sit-ups just right.
You’re going to have to strap on those legwarmers and do some aerobic exercises. Okay, you don’t necessarily have to enroll in an aerobics class if you don’t want to, but you have to get plenty of aerobic exercise. Whether you decide to walk, jog, or run on the treadmill; swim laps around the pool; get involved in dance, spin, or karate classes; or spend some time on the stair stepper, performing aerobic activities on a regular basis for 30 minutes or more (much more if you want to speed up your way to your flat-tummy goal) is essential to getting your tummy toned and tight.
Remember when performing these exercises that you cannot obtain a flat stomach within a few days or even weeks. The goal of aerobic exercise is to get you sweating and help you burn off fat from all parts of your body. Therefore, you may notice other parts of your body slimming up before your stomach. But give it time. Keep up the good work and your stomach will slowly and surely shrink away to the slim shape you seek.
Fifth Step: Do These, Too
In addition to eating well, getting plenty of aerobic exercise, and slowing down on your sit-ups, there are some ab-specific exercises that you can perform to help increase your chances of becoming the toned-tummy person you desire.
Here are two ab-tightening exercises to add to your repertoire to tighten up your tummy in record time.
Inchworm Strength—It sounds funny, but has serious results. First, get in the regular push-up position and complete a push-up. When you reach the height of your push-up, things get a little different. Raise your hips in the air and keep your knees straight as you slowly walk your feet toward your hands. When it becomes uncomfortable or you feel like you’re going to fall over, walk your way back to the starting position and repeat 10 times.
Wall Sits—Standing about 18 inches from a wall, lean your back against the wall. Slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your knees are at approximately a 90-degree angle. Keep your back pressed flat against the wall and count to 30 (stay longer if you’ve got the strength). For an added workout, place your hands below your thighs and slowly extend one leg straight ahead, while retaining your posture. Return that leg to its original position and repeat with the other leg.
There are dozens of other exercises meant to target your tummy, so if you want a little extra help burning off the extra calories in your midsection, ask your trainer for some more tips. Just remember—if you’re not eating healthily and giving your entire body an aerobic workout on a regular basis, you’ll never be able to trim your tummy down to the sleek and slender shape you desire.