It's common for women to think that a ton of cardio and ab exercises is the route to a flatter tummy. Although cardio and abs will take you in the right direction, there are several aspects missing from that equation.
Whether you want a full on six pack or just a nice flat tummy in order
1. Diet. We have all heard Abs are made in the kitchen but for someone with little nutrition experience it's really hard to know what that means. From my experience with my personal fitness journey as well as my hundreds of clients, I have found a full nutrient dense diet to be the key to weight loss and/or a flatter tummy. Again, what does this mean? Protein, carbs, veggies, fruits, healthy fats, oils. The secret to a six pack IS NOT taking out food groups. If you want to read more on each food group and how they benefit your fitness journey click here and it will open a new window:
2. Resistance training. A common mistake I see is the cardio bunny. Often people don't know what to do at the gym so they hop on the elliptical or the treadmill. OR sometimes it's due to the misconception that a ton of cardio is the key to losing weight. However, participating in a well rounded fitness routine that includes resistance training will actually help you lose weight faster. Lifting heavy weight breaks down muscle and allows your body to burn off calories throughout the day as the muscle is repairing. With cardio, you're only burning calories as your performing the exercise. Further, the "fitter" you get, meaning the more muscle you have, the increased ability your body has in burning off fat.
3. Don't work your abs every day. You shouldn't work any muscle group every day. Your muscles need time to repair so they are capable of breaking down again. If you break down muscle that has yet to repair your muscle growth won't be as efficient and you'll likely experience injury. You won't see anymore progress in your abs with doing them every day then you will if you do them just every other day.
4. Don't do the same circuit constantly. We all fall into routine doing the same ab exercises we know off the top of our head. Our bodies are equipt to adapt which means after adapting to the ab routine we know and love, we will stop seeing progress. Introducing your body to a new stimulus is how we avoid the plateau and continue seeing growth.
4. Add weight to ab circuit. This goes along with introducing your body to a new stimulus -- meaning putting more stress on your muscles, which is a good thing!
5. Don't under eat. Starving yourself may make you lose weight, but once you start eating again you're going to put on more than before. Maybe you don't even consider under eating as starving yourself, but eating fewer than 1200 calories a day is not beneficial to several aspects of your health. In terms of a six pack or a flatter tummy, eating a full nutrient dense diet will shed fat faster and keep your body in a state of constant caloric burn --This will provide faster and long term results.
6. Don't use assistance in your ab exercises. Try not to use something that holds down your feet or grasp anything with your hands during an exercise. The best ab exercises are they one's you perform without touching anything but the surface you're sitting on.