The reality is that if you want flat abs, you have to push away your plate and get sweating at the gym.
My clients often ask me what exercises they can do to shed their love handles. That fat on and around the abdominal area can also be referred to as the insulin band. It is your body’s way of telling you that you are feeding it too many carbohydrates. Your body can’t use them all, so it stores them around your waist. This is as much of a health concern as it is a fashion/vanity concern. The fat that you see is also surrounding your major organs and it can kill you. So listen up!
First, 80% of your weight-loss success depends of your diet. Focus on eating three 3-ounce servings of lean proteins and a minimum of five servings of vegetables per day. You can have two “cheat meals” a week, but any more than that, and you’re back in fat-storage mode.
Play diet detective: Question everything that goes into your mouth. Start with portion sizes. Typically, the culprit behind our weight-loss struggles is not what we eat, but how much we eat. Any extra calories that are not burned for energy can go straight to your waistline. Look especially at your sugar intake; whenever you consume too much sugar, the extra calories go straight to the insulin band. Make simple substitutions to your diet, such as switching to diet soda instead of regular soda. You’ll save 150 calories and 16 teaspoons of sugar right there, and that will flatten your abs fast!
You also need to do some type of aerobic exercise every day for 60 minutes to burn belly fat. Activities such as walking, jogging or cycling are great for burning the fat off.
Once you’ve gotten your diet under control and you’re taking your hour-long daily walk, start doing targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles below the fat. Here are three exercises (do them every single day for just five minutes) to firm, flatten and strengthen your abs:
Lying Leg Lifts
- Lie down on your back with your legs out straight and your hands underneath your lower back or under your buttocks for extra support. Lift your legs about one inch off of the floor.
- Keep your moves slow and controlled, aiming for 25 repetitions. Do 2-3 sets of 25 reps, building up slowly if needed.
- Keep in mind that this is a very difficult move. Some people need to start with 3-5 reps at first. Take your time and build up slowly.
- Lie on your back with your legs up at a 90-degree angle (if you’re not flexible enough to hold your legs straight up, do this move against a wall). You may also support your head, if needed, by gently holding your head with your hands.
- Looking up at your toes, try to touch your shoelaces with your fingers, 25-30 times. Do 2-3 sets of 25-30 repetitions, building up gradually if needed. Stay as high as possible and don’t forget to breathe in and out!
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and a fitness circle in between your knees.
- Contract the abdominals by squeezing the fitness circle, and reach arms and upper body toward your knees.
- Try to do this 25-30 times. Do 2-3 sets of 25-30 repetitions. Build up slowly and protect your neck if needed.