The desire to lose the belly fat and get a flat and sexy abdomen is one of the top reasons people join gyms and start working out or dieting.
Regular strength exercises targeting the abdominal muscles and cardio workouts that promote fat loss are both useful for getting ripped and achieving the much wanted 6 packs, but no matter how much effort and time you put in your workouts, unless you also fix your diet and sleep schedule, you significantly reduce the chances to achieve your fitness and beauty goal.
Why a flat belly requires a more complex approach
Let’s say you already exercise daily and watch your calorie intake, but your diet isn’t the healthiest one. Maybe you treat yourself with a sweet dessert on a daily basis, or you grab a hotdog on your way to office and add some ketchup or dressing to enhance flavour. Even if you don’t exceed the amount of calories your body needs to function properly, and even if your weight doesn’t oscillate, it’s still possible for your abdomen to look puffy and untoned.
Gym rats know that abs are made in the kitchen. As you know, your body uses carbs as main source of fuel, but when you eat too high amounts of these nutrients, the body stores the excess in the form of fat. Unfortunately, most of these fats go directly in the problem areas: belly, thighs, hips and buttocks, so the best approach for preventing fat accumulation is to eat a balanced diet that includes lots of protein and fats, and keep an eye on the daily calorie intake as well.
Exercise burns calories so if you stay active and practice some form of physical activity every day, you can enjoy more of your favourite foods without worrying about the extra kilos. But let’s assume you already have a very clean diet, that consists of balanced amounts of fats, protein and carbs, and you exercise on a daily basis, at a moderate intensity. Your belly is not flat, on the contrary, it looks bloated and the thin layers of fat do a great job in hiding the six packs. What’s to do in this situation?
The simplest answer is fix your sleep schedule and make sure you manage stress levels properly, as both the lack of sleep and stress overload favour weight gain in the core area.
3 lifestyle changes that guarantee a flat abdomen
1. Add more protein and fat to your diet and limit the carb intake to maximum 40% of your daily calorie intake. Make sure most of these calories are taken from vegetables and fruits, and skip the pastries, commercial cookies, pizza, pasta and junk foods. Stick with oats, brown rice, buckwheat and other minimally processed grains.
2. Mix cardio with strength training and don’t exercise only your abs, as this will cause the abdominal muscles to get tired and will prevent you from performing the exercises properly. To maximize the calorie burns and get in shape faster, do lots of exercises for the lower body and back, as these muscles are larger and burn more energy. Also, exercising your back muscles contributes to a better posture, and your belly is less likely to stick out if your posture is correct.
3. Get at least 6 hours of restful sleep per day to prevent mood swings that can cause emotional eating, and to keep the hormone levels in balance. Skipping sleep hours can alter the levels of hormones like cortisol and ghrelin, first one favouring the accumulation of fat around the waist and on the belly, while ghrelin is responsible for your appetite.
Stress also interferes with the production of these hormones and it makes you more prone to overeating, so make sure you have enough time for meditation, relaxation and self-care each day. No matter how much you want your belly to look flat and toned, remember that weight loss is not a marathon, so overtraining and extreme dieting shouldn’t be part of your routine.
If you focus on building a healthy lifestyle, staying active and eating nourishing foods, and if you get enough rest, hydrate your body properly and stay positive, chances to build a slim and attractive figure and to get rid of the belly fat once and for all increase considerably.
Don’t wait any longer, start today!
I perfectly understand if you feel overwhelmed right now, and don’t know where to start your weight loss journey from, or if you feel that your body is too “damaged” to ever look toned and fit again. Guess what! I see such cases on a daily basis and if you take a look at the gallery of happy clients I’ve trained until now, you’ll understand that NOTHING is impossible if you’re willing to put in the time and effort.
Yes, knowing all the theory is great, but completely useless unless you actually start applying these principles. To make it easier for you to switch to a healthy lifestyle that will help you maintain your ideal weight and a flat abdomen, I’ve put together an 8-week body transformation plan. Make sure to get a copy and feel free to contact me if you need help with putting this plan in practice!
You can purchase my 8 Weeks to Fit book here www.8weekstofit.com