Hitting the gym regularly helps keep your belly fit and trim. Cardiovascular exercise, a healthy diet and abdominal exercises work together to give you a leaner, fitter midsection; however, incorrect technique and ineffective workout regiments can make your stomach appear even larger than before. Banish that unwelcome belly bulge by correcting your form and reassessing your fitness routine.
Posture and Form
Slouching forces the muscles in your abdominals outward, making them appear larger. Sitting up straight with your belly button pulled in gives your stomach a flatter appearance while strengthening your ab muscles. Slouching and letting your stomach muscles hang out while you perform crunches, situps and other ab exercises also trains your muscles to build outward, increasing their bulging appearance. Keep your abs engaged by drawing your belly button toward your spine as you exercise.
Endless crunches alone won't make your pants fit better. Building abdominal muscles without burning the fat on top of them can make your stomach appear and feel larger rather than slimmer. Maintain a healthy diet and devote 30 minutes each day to cardiovascular activity like walking, running or cycling to help reduce your overall body fat percentage and flatten your stomach over time.
Winning the battle of the belly bulge may mean changing your exercise routine. Crunches and situps often only work one or two muscles, while a core training program strengthens your internal and external obliques, back muscles and glutes, as well as your abdominals. Try methods like Pilates and weighted resistance exercises along with fat-burning cardio workouts. When in doubt, consult a person trainer to determine the workout routine that best suits your goals.
A bloated belly may be a sign of digestive issues or other internal problems. Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and hormonal fluctuations commonly cause bulging in your stomach. Failing to drink enough before and after your workouts can cause your body to retain fluid, contributing to belly bloat. Working out too soon after eating may slow digestion, making your stomach feel heavier and larger. If your belly bulge is accompanied by nausea or pain, see your doctor to rule out a food sensitivity, hernia or other medical concern.
Sarah Badger is a certified pilates and group fitness instructor, writer and dance teacher. Her work has appeared in "Dance Spirit" magazine and several literary journals. Badger earned her bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from Marymount Manhattan College, and currently owns a dance and fitness studio in upstate New York.