FOR both men and women, achieving a flat belly is like earning a badge of honour. But the reality is that regardless of the amount of definition they are able to add to their bodies, many people still struggle to lose that 'stubborn' belly fat.
If you are interested in scoring a flat stomach or starting your journey to perfect abs, take advice from Gisel Harrow, personal trainer and fitness expert at Express Fitness, Liguanea.
“A flat, sexy, toned stomach is very desirable and is quite achievable; however, exercise alone won't help you to achieve it,” Harrow warned.
She said that blasting fat from your midsection will require a radical shift not just in the types of exercises you do, but equally important is proper nutrition.
“Ever hear the saying 'Abs are made in the kitchen'? Well, you'd better believe they are. To get a flat stomach you'll have to eat a clean and balanced diet incorporated with cardio and core training,” she advised.
She said that cardio exercises are not only equipment-free but include some of the exercises both sexes partake in, for example running, skipping, walking, cycling, aerobic workouts and swimming. She recommends doing 30 to 60 minutes a few times weekly, at least. She explains that with cardio exercises, what happens in the body is that your heart rate rises for an extended period, and when this happens it conditions your heart and contributes to fat reduction. Eventually, you will begin to shed excess fat, not just from the stomach but from other areas of the body as well. You will also see a reduction in muscle fat which will ultimately see you becoming more toned.
Secondly, Harrow said that you need to focus on core exercises.
“Core exercises are also an important part of torching belly fat and getting the midsection you desire. So you want to do sit-ups, planks, obliques and lying leg raises, to name a few. These target the entire core to strengthen and tone,” she advised.
Harrow added that eating a balanced diet is an important step to ensure that your hard work done by exercising is equally supported. She said that we can easily undo the efforts made through exercise by choosing too many foods that are packed with trans fat — such as fast foods and pastries. The contents of these foods not only add calories, which we will have to work extra hard to burn off, but the preservatives and additives in these foods often interfere with the body's biochemical functions, which in turn slows the body's metabolic rate. Therefore it will take a much longer time to shed excess fat.
She recommends that you go for a diet that is high in fibre and protein, choose complex carbs, drink plenty of water, stay away from alcohol, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and get the recommended seven to eight hours' sleep as often as you can. With this approach, Harrow said you will be on your way to not just a flat stomach but better health.