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Check out these surprisingly easy ways to help you flatten your belly and it’s not all just doing abdominal crunches every day. Yes exercise is very important and definitely helps but the secrets to a flat stomach building abdominal muscles and reducing belly fat is tied into many changes implemented at once rather than one set answer. If you make follow the 10 secrets below you should see results in as little as 4 – 12 weeks depending on your size and shape. Diet is the number one key factor in getting the abs that you desire. Reducing unhealthy carbs, eliminating sugar and fats and increasing lean protein is key to building muscles and reducing body/belly fat. Targeting ab muscles and increasing cardio are also important. Staying focused on your goals, planning ahead and following through are the main components. Here are 10 Secrets to a Flat Stomach or, How to Get Amazing Abs!
1.) Ab Exercises – You are going to have to actively work on building ab muscles (duh – they are not going to magically appear). So chose some exercises that you can do all throughout the day to strengthen your abs rather than only doing an ab routine every now and then. Take breaks during the day to do planks which are targeted to your core ab strength. Keep a diary of how often and how long you do planks to see your progress. (Keeping notes is great for motivation and remembering to do them so apply it to other ab exercises as well like sets of crunches, sit ups, hanging leg raises or whatever you like to do. Just make sure to do them often.)
2.) Cardio –Kick your cardio up a notch and make sure you are getting in at least 30-45 minutes of high intensity, sweat producing, heart pumping exercise every day. If you want to see those ab muscles you are going to have to lose the belly fat. Remember to keep your abs tight the entire time you are doing cardio for much faster results!
TIP:Have some overdue phone calls to catch up on? Grab your cell phone and tie up those sneakers and hit the sidewalks of your neighborhood to make the best use of your time. (I usually save folding the laundry for phone calls, but walking while talking is a great way to pass the time especially if you don’t particularly love to exercise. And remember to hold your abs tight while you walk!)
3.) Protein – You have to up your protein and it must be lean sources that are low in fat and calories. As a general rule, women will want to target 50 grams per day and men will try for 60. The top sources of lean and high protein foods are egg whites, chicken breasts and fish. Make sure to eat protein at your meals 5 times per day and spaced out no more than 3 hours for each meal. (I am a vegetarian and constantly struggle with the need to get good protein while honoring my beliefs of ethical treatment of animals. Balancing the unhealthy consequences of too much soy and eating enough beans and legumes to get my protein is truly challenging. I try not to consume dairy as well, but made a personal decision to add yogurt to my diet along with fish and whey protein powders to provide my body with other sources of low fat and low carb proteins.)
4.) Fiber – While you may be reducing carbs to focus on building muscle, you will want to make sure that you are getting around 25 grams of fiber intake every day by adding fiber rich foods to your diet. Anything from dark colored veggies to low fat whole grains will help speed up your metabolism.
5.) Healthy fats – Stick to using healthy fats on your diet such as avocados, hummus and almonds. Use olive oils when cooking and making salad dressings instead of vegetable oil. Add about ¼ cup serving of avocado to your salads or turkey burgers for added healthy fat. Avoid all fried foods, mayonnaise, high fat dairy products, and cream based soups and sauces. Aim for no more than 20 percent of your calories to come from fat and keep saturated fats under about 15 grams per day.
6.) Water, water and more water – you must get your 10 glasses of water per day. You will feel fuller by drinking a glass before meals, feel more energetic so that you can work out and you will see much more muscle definition too. Water also keeps you regular and reduces bloating in your belly!
TIP: Read “5 Reasons to Drink More Water & 5 Ways to Really Do It“
7.) Avoid alcohol – Decreasing or altogether eliminating any forms of alcohol from your daily diet is essential to better abs. It is called a “beer belly” for a reason after all. Especially avoid beverages that are mixed with fruit juices and high calorie soft drinks. (While I am not a big fan of this tip because I do love my craft beers, it is true that limiting drinks to special occasions and drinking low carb/low calorie drinks make a really big difference in your muscle definition.)
8.) Reduce salt – By simply reducing the amount of sodium in your foods can help keep bloating to your belly at a minimum.(Often times when I am craving salt I can eat hot sauce instead but you can use Kosher salt and sea salt for a low sodium solution.)