Who doesn’t want flat abs? We all do! Last week I was talking to a friend of mine who’s like a walking terminator and we were comparing notes on all the misinformation out there on six-packs and flat belly transformations. We both agreed that Instagram doesn’t help either. Don’t be fooled by the idea of spot reduction. It is impossible. And don’t believe any claim that you can achieve ‘flat abs’ with one specific exercise. It is plain wrong. Don’t listen to someone who tells you that you can just run off your belly fat. False. Neither should you fall for all the ‘flat-belly tricks’ – they’re marketing hype and not science.
Instead read below and find out the real truth about getting that six pack and that flat tummy that you can actually see and that we all want – because it is absolutely doable!
1. Burning overall body fat for flat abs
The most common reason you see flat abs on women is NOT because of exercise. It’s because of diet. Did you know that actually we all have abs … it’s just that for most of us they are hiding beneath layers of belly fat. Your body fat is distributed across your entire body. For women, the most common areas we see body fat stored is breasts, hips, thighs and tummy’s. Depending on your genetics, your body may distribute fat (more or less) to a variety of places on your body. And you may also have noticed that you don’t always lose fat in the way you stored it. This phenomenon is frustrating as you have no specific control over it. So, it is important to focus on making choices that you can control.
Up to 80% of your fat loss will come from nutritional changes that take into consideration both what you eat and how much you eat. That is, ‘clean eating’ plus consuming less calories than you burn (so you end up in calorie deficit). Calorie deficit means your body needs to draw energy from within itself as the calories from the foods you have eaten have already been burned. Ideally, your body would automatically take it from your problem area fat stores and you’d never have to ask, ‘ how to lose belly fat?’ again, but unfortunately that’s not how it works! Sorry! If you want to know more on this read this free giveaway ‘ Why you never get toned?”
Track how many calories you are consuming vs how many calories you are burning. Start with your snack food. Check out our cheats guide to calorie counting below to give you an idea of how much you should be consuming. Focus on clean eating, as a lot of processed foods are high in sugar and therefore calories.
2. Strengthening your overall core for flat abs
Your core muscles are really important. They are responsible for your posture, stability while moving and for the ultimate flat abs! A strong core will help prevent injuries and make functional, everyday movement easier.
Think for a moment about your posture. If your shoulders are slumped, then your belly tends to poke out. A stronger core will help you stand up tall (think about aligning your ears and shoulders over your hips). This will not only help your breathing and digestion, but will make you look leaner just from your better posture. No more slumping and belly poking out!
The classic plank is a foundational core exercise that fires up a multitude of muscles all at once. When done correctly and consistently the plank strengthens several abdominal muscles while also working the shoulders and back.
Utilise time in front of the TV to fit in some core exercises. Get into a push-up position on your feet or knees and concentrate on keeping your back straight and belly button sucked in to your spine. Try holding the plank for 30 seconds. As your strength grows, extend the time from there. Here is a free masterclass from Active8me founder and two-time Olympian on how to do a plank properly. Happy planking!
3. Tone ALL of your muscles for flat abs
Toning your abdominal muscles in isolation will NOT reduce your belly fat or produce flat abs. You know this because you know you cannot spot reduce fat as we’ve spoken about before. And you know that what you eat is largely responsible for your fat storage. But, here’s why total-body exercise (think compound movements) is important and why it can help you get flat abs.
Firstly, doing fat-burning cardio exercise is beneficial for balancing your calorie intake. It helps you burn those calories. Remember – calories in vs calories out.
Secondly, muscle burns more calories than fat. So, when you incorporate weights/ resistance training and maintain/ build lean muscle you ramp up your ability to lose fat – everywhere, not just your belly fat.
The humble squat is a simple and effective exercise for working your large muscle groups. You can start by using your own body weight as resistance and as you become stronger add hand weights, kettle bells or a barbell. Here’s another free technique masterclass on how to do squats. Do 15 reps for 2-3 sets, adjusting your weight depending on how advanced you are and how good your technique is. Remember to breath evenly as you do the squats, don’t hold your breath!
Flat abs look great. They really do. And strong abs are important as we pointed out. But do yourself a favour and forget the myths, gimmicks and marketing hype. At the same time, never forget that whilst flat abs may be the ultimate trophy, you will begin to notice many other ‘rewards’ in your health, fitness and general daily activities. It’s a win win! The Active8me programs are not about fad diets or miracle exercises. They are about living your best healthy, active life. They are about lifestyle and making the most of your health and the incredible bodies that we have – the most amazing thing we will ever own. So, whether you’re looking for a total body transformation or improving your fitness, there is an Active8me program to suit your needs. Check us out today!