If you have some flabby belly fat you're trying to shed, you'll need to burn more calories than you take in each day from eating and drinking. In other words, you can't spot reduce the fat on your tummy to get awesome abs but you can lose the fat and tone the muscles to get the flat stomach you want. Exercise, including strength training to build muscle mass, will help you burn those calories and, combined with healthy eating habits, can get you weight loss results. And once you lose the fat, ab exercises and yoga poses will build the washboard and give your tummy that strong, sexy flat appeal. You need to lose fat and tone your ab muscles to get a firm, flat, and fat-free tummy fast.
Do aerobic exercise; it burns calories and increases your metabolism. Boosting your metabolism boosts your weight loss efforts because the faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn around the clock.
Strength train your body's largest muscles (in addition to the abs) to burn more fat. These include the glutes, quads, hamstrings and chest and back muscles. Your biggest muscles burn the most calories when you exercise them and when you're at rest, since muscles constantly burn fat.
Drink green tea every day. It has caffeine, which stimulates your metabolism, and antioxidants that slow your body's fat absorption.
Include cinnamon in your daily diet by sprinkling it on toast and cereal, any deserts you indulge in, or in hot beverages like coffee and hot chocolate. Studies show cinnamon lowers your blood's glucose levels, which helps you lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon also prevents bloating, keeping your tummy nice and flat.
Eat several small meals throughout the day instead of three larger ones. You'll end up burning more calories and feeling more energetic.
Don't skip breakfast! Skipping breakfast means your metabolism gets a very slow start to the day and can cause you to eat more calories than you otherwise would throughout the rest of your day.
Do classic crunches. They're easier than doing full sit ups, and they're actually more effective too.
Do leg lifts to work your lower abs. Lie down on your back with your legs straight. Keeping your ankles together, lift your legs up to a 90-degree angle with the floor and press your lower back down, engaging your abs the whole time.
Do various plank yoga poses, such as forearm plank pose, plank pose, side plank pose and dolphin plank pose. In these poses, tighten your abs for support, balance and control.
Do other yoga poses that tone the abs, like full boat pose and four-limbed staff pose, and try harder ones if you're experienced, like peacock pose and firefly pose.
- If you're trying to lose stomach fat, keep track of your daily caloric intake and how many calories you burn each day to help you make sure you burn more calories than you consume. Use a food diary and the Internet to check how many calories are in your food. There are sports watches and other tech gadgets that can track your calories burned in a day.
- When starting a diet, consult with your doctor first.
- Always be sure your diet gives you all the daily nutrients your body needs.
Lindsay Haskell enjoys writing about fitness, health, culture and fashion. She is a contributor for "Let's Talk Magazine" and "The Wellesley News." Haskell is completing her B.A. in philosophy at Wellesley College. She's also a fiction writer whose work can be read online.