People with longer torsos often seem to have the slimmest bellies, but virtually anyone of any size or shape can get a flat stomach. It takes commitment to an effective exercise program and a healthy diet appropriate for your size and calorie expenditure. Once you get an idea of how many calories you're consuming and expending on an average day, you can figure out what sort of exercise and diet you need to keep a flat stomach.
How You Gain Stomach Fat
A flat stomach is the result of managing your weight. When you consume more calories than you burn every day over time, you end up gaining weight. The excess energy gets stored as fat cells in tissues and builds up on top of muscles. Your abs are just one muscle group that can accumulate a build-up of fat between muscle and skin, causing your belly to be round instead of flat. However, doing ab-strengthening exercises won't melt off fat and get you a flat stomach. You can't spot-reduce fat in any location; you have to lose fat all over your body by burning more calories than you consume.
How Torso Length Affects Stomach Fat
Fat builds up on top of muscles, and your abs are a flat muscle surface. As fat builds on muscle, it builds outward. If you have a longer torso, your abdominal muscles are longer and have more surface area, so fat has more room to accumulate on the muscle before another layer of fat is put on. Therefore, the belly stays flatter with more fat if you have a long torso, whereas if you have a short torso, the same amount of fat would cause more belly protrusion. Since it's still the same amount of fat, however, you can lose it just as easily as the person with a long torso.
A flat stomach doesn't only look good, but it also indicates a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and premature death. According to Harvard School of Public Health, stomach fat consists of visceral fat -- a deadly type of fat that sticks to your organs in your abdomen. Each extra inch of belly fat increases your risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other obesity-related chronic and fatal diseases. Let health and longevity, as well as looking good in your swimsuit, motivate you to exercise and eat healthy.
Keep a food diary and find out how many calories you consume and burn on a typical day. The only way to burn off belly fat is to burn more calories than you eat and drink. Cut calories by switching from unhealthy and high-calorie foods to low-calorie alternatives, and exercise regularly to create a calorie deficit. According to the American Council on Exercise, stress releases hormones that increase the storage of stomach fat. Do yoga, meditation or breathing exercises daily to help you get results faster.
Ben Prien is a fitness writer, personal trainer and workout enthusiast. He's been writing fitness articles since 2012 and has worked at "Men’s Fitness" and "Muscle & Fitness" magazines. He specializes in sports conditioning, muscle training, weight loss and sports nutrition.