A paunchy midsection might look cute on babies, but it's not likely to elicit "oohs" and "aahs" when it's on you. Stand straighter, lose that muffin top and get sexier abs with tips on tightening your stomach. A combo of cardio, core-strengthening exercises and healthy lifestyle habits can help you get a tight stomach you're proud to show off.
Get Rid of Stomach Flab
To show off a tight stomach, you have to burn off the belly pouch with cardio exercise. You'll be able to see your stomach muscles tightening with consistent exercise. There's no such thing as spot reduction, so you won't be able to lose a jiggly stomach exclusively, but you can trim your midsection as you lose weight all over. Burn 250 to 500 calories each day to lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week. Moderately aerobic activities such as walking and yoga help you burn about 250 calories per hour, while vigorous, heart-pumping exercises such as running, cycling or swimming burn closer to 500 calories per hour.
You can trim the flab of your stomach and all over with cardio, but if you want to tightent those ab muscles, you have to strengthen them. Two to three strength-training sessions of 20 minutes apiece will help you tighten your stomach for that flat-belly look you're longing for. Do ab-toning exercises such as front and side planks, bodyweight squats, trunk rotations and supermans.
Rest Days for a Tighter Stomach
When you're anxious to have a tight stomach to show off in a midriff-baring top, you might be tempted to exercise your stomach muscles every day. But this can be counterproductive, leading to injury, fatigue or minimal results. Your abs are like any other muscles in your body; they need a day off in between exercise sessions for the muscle tissue to recover, repair and build. If you want to exercise every day, take a light walk or leisurely bike ride on the days that fall between strength training and vigorous cardio workouts.
Keep in Mind
While you engage in cardio to ditch the belly flab and do strength-training exercises to tighten your stomach muscles, you can boost your weight loss with a healthy, calorie-reduced diet. Shave 250 to 500 calories off your daily caloric intake without going below 1,200 calories per day, which you need to sustain your body's energy for everyday tasks. In addition to focusing on a diet rich in lean protein, whole grains, lowfat dairy and fresh fruits and veggies, incorporate foods that promote a flat belly, such as natural peanut butter, dark chocolate and guacamole.
- University of Rochester Medical Center: For Better Posture, Strengthen Your Core Muscles
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- American Council on Exercise: Why is the Concept of Spot Reduction Considered a Myth?
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Ab Exercises
- Fitness: Top 10 Firm Belly Tips (Of All Time!)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Common-Sense Strategies to Long-Term Weight Loss
- DoctorOz.com: Foods That Make Your Belly Flat vs. Fat
Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.