Getting a flat stomach requires a three-point plan of action that consists of dieting, fat-burning exercises and an abdominal toning routine. Starting a workout plan is tough, but by staying committed, it becomes second nature. When other obligations start stacking up and you begin to think about how much easier life would be if you could just skip the gym and pick up some fast food, you need to remember all of the reasons you started this challenge in the first place and understand that now is the time to get the body you want.
There are 3,500 calories in 1 pound of fat. Reduce your daily calorie consumption by 500 to 1,000 calories, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Doing this results in a loss of 1 to 2 pounds of body weight per week. This approach is deemed most effective for long-term success by the CDC because it’s aggressive enough to yield noticeable results, thereby keeping you motivated. Read nutritional labels and pay attention to serving sizes. Log your calories in a daily journal.
Eating high-quality food keeps you full longer and reduces cravings. Eat lean proteins like fish and poultry, natural carbohydrates like grains, vegetables and fruit, and cut down on foods high in sugar and fat. Spending your daily calorie allowance on high-quality foods keeps you full longer and provides a steady stream of energy throughout the day. Divide your diet accordingly; 55 to 65 percent carbohydrates, 20 to 30 percent fats and 12 to 20 percent protein.
Complete at least 300 minutes of moderate exercise or 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. According to Mayo Clinic, you can determine if your exercise intensity is moderate or vigorous by how you feel. When performing moderate exercise, your breathing picks up, you develop a light sweat and you can carry on a conversation without hindrance but are unable to sing. When performing vigorous exercise, your breathing is deep and rapid, you develop a sweat within a few minutes and you cannot say more than a few words without pausing to take a breath. The elliptical, treadmill and stationary bike are effective gym machines to use for aerobic exercise. Jogging, bike riding and jumping rope are effective aerobic activities you can do at home.
Located in the center of your body, your abdominal muscles are used for most of your daily movements. This makes the abdominal a well-conditioned muscle that recovers quickly between exercises. Perform knee ups, V-ups, crunches, leg raises, lying leg raise crunches and knee-in crunches. Do as many reps as you can for each exercise. Do not rest between exercises; treat the listed exercises as one set. Rest for 30 seconds between sets, and complete three sets of this routine. Work your abs at least three times a week.
Jason Cooley began writing in 2005 as the owner of a personal-training business, authoring advertising copy and business contracts. He has since served as a writer with Oral B and On Top of My Diabetes.