Do you find yourself struggling to fit into your favorite white shirt? Do you look at your stomach in the mirror and tell yourself it’s time to do something about it?
If your answer is yes, then the time to work on your stomach is now. Gaining too much belly fat could indicate health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, and more.
The fat gained around your belly is usually a result of consuming too much sugar, processed foods, and meals high in cholesterol and saturated fats.
The belly fat eventually affects your organs, putting you at risk of heart disease or diabetes.
It would help if you kept in mind that burning fat around your stomach requires a lot of dedication, effort, and commitment.
It starts by deliberately choosing what you eat. For example, you may need to cut down on sugars, processed foods, and cholesterol meals as much as possible.
While being conscious about what you eat, you need to be physically active. Burning calories is highly vital in reducing the fat around the stomach.
It’s advisable to be engaged in physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. It could be playing a type of sport such as football, tennis, basketball, swimming, etc., or it could just be a brisk walk. Your body must use the calories you’ve taken in during the day, so it’s not converted to fat.
Once you adopt this lifestyle of eating healthier and being active, you can target the stomach area and make it firmer and tight.
Flat stomachs look very attractive and appealing. It gives you the extra confidence you need to go about your day without any worry.
Here are five of the best exercises that’ll help you get a flat stomach.
Plank exercises are the best thing you can do for your core muscles. According to a study by the Journal of strength and conditioning research, planks help to strengthen your inner core muscles and abdominal muscles, leaving them in the best shape. It’s also been proven that core exercises help you burn more calories than other stomach exercises.
The plank exercise can be advantageous when done right. Planking helps you burn more calories than sit-ups. Planks help improve your metabolism because the stronger your core muscles, the more calories they burn even when you’re resting.
Planks also have their way of improving your mood. According to scientific research, plank exercises release many endorphins into your body, helping get rid of depression and anxiety.
In the beginning, planking can be pretty challenging for your muscles. Expect to see yourself vibrating after the first 10 seconds if it’s your first time.
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That’s the beauty of exercise; you can see your growth along the way. With consistency, you’ll last longer in your planks as your body builds endurance.
How to do a plank:
- Lie flat on your stomach on a mat.
- Bend your elbows and start to lift your body, keeping your legs straight.
- As you lift yourself, you have to support yourself with your toes.
- Lift your body until your head, neck, back, and leg are in a straight line.
- Hold position till about 10-15 seconds.
- Repeat steps 1-5 five times.
- The key is to be consistent and increase the plank time marginally.
Sit-ups are a very classic stomach flattening exercise. The exercise is very simple and effective as it uses your body weight to improve the strength of your abdominal muscles.
Out of all the stomach exercises, sit-ups have the most extensive range of motion, making them an ideal exercise to add to your program.
There are unlimited benefits from sit-up exercises. Apart from strengthening your core muscles, sit-ups improve your muscle mass.
A study conducted in 2016 revealed that older women’s chances of having sarcopenia (natural muscles loss) are drastically reduced when they do sit-ups.
Having strong core muscles help you to have good balance and stability. Sit-ups strengthen these core muscles allowing you to remain stable as you move throughout the day.
Sit-ups also improve your posture since the exercise aligns your shoulder, spine, and hips. Good posture helps with reducing pain, breathing, and improving energy levels.
A study on the US Army in 2010 revealed that sit-ups didn’t cause injuries and instead helped reduce back pain and injury.
Research by PubMed shows that the breathing involved in doing sit-ups helps strengthen the diaphragm and respiratory system.
How to do a sit-up:
- Lie on your back with your feet anchored, and then bend your knees to the limit.
- You can either put your hands behind your head, cross your hands on opposite shoulders, or put your arms by your thighs.
- Breathe out as you lift your upper body to your locked thighs.
- Breathe in as you return to the floor.
- If you put your arms behind your head, ensure they don’t push the neck or head too much. Also, move up and down with your abdominal muscles to fully benefit from the exercise.
- Start with about 10-15 reps.
- The key is to increase the number of reps as you progress consistently.
3. Bicycle crunches
This exercise is all about imagination because you don’t ride an actual bike; you imagine you’re riding one.
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Research shows that bicycle crunches strengthen all the central abdominal muscles, so it’s a must-have in your stomach flattening program.
Bicycle crunches are intense, and they target your transversus abdominis, also known as your deep abs.
Your deep abs ensure that your pelvis, spine, and hips are supported to avoid injuries while exercising. In effect, bicycle crunches strengthen your deep abs and help you avoid injuries.
Aside from strengthening your core and body, bicycle crunches also improve your coordination. The speed and concentration needed to do bicycle crunches help improve your coordination because of the opposite and simultaneous movements.
How to do a bicycle crunch:
Lie on your back and bend your knees to their limit while your feet are anchored to the ground.
- Place your hands at the back of your head.
- Lift your knees above your hips and engage your core by lifting your upper body. This position is your starting point.
- While breathing out, twist your torso as you bring your left elbow towards your right knee, which is hanging.
- At the same time, the left elbow and the right knee are engaging; you’re also straightening out the left leg.
- Count up to two and then return to starting position while breathing in.
- Do two sets of 10-15 reps.
- It is essential to increase the number of reps as you get more comfortable.
Burpees is a combination of exercises that helps you burn fat while strengthening your core as well.
The explosive nature of burpees helps you build your muscle strength as well as concentration levels.
Doing three different exercises in one motion trains your mind mentally and improves your concentration and focus.
Burpees is a very common exercise used in military camps because of how effective it is. It improves blood flow, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and brain function. So, if you’re to feed two birds (cardio and core strength) with one scone, then burpees are your choice.
How to do a burpee:
- Stand straight with your feet shoulder-length apart. This position will be your starting point.
- Squat properly with your arms in front of you.
- Swing your legs behind you as you jump into a push-up position.
- Do one push-up, and jump back to starting position.
- Swing your arms as you jump as high as you can.
- When you land on the ground, lower your body into a squat position.
- Then repeat. Do about 5-10 sets of 15-20 reps.
- The key is to not pause at any point; burpees should be treated as one motion throughout till the end of a set.
5. Boat poses
Boat pose is an exercise that falls under yoga and requires a lot of concentration. However, it helps build the spinal and core muscles.
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It also strengthens the abdomen, back, and hip. In addition, the boat pose opens up the lungs and stimulates vital organs such as the thyroid, which helps improve your metabolism.
How to do a boat pose:
Taking deep breaths during boat poses helps relieve stress as it calms you down and helps your body relax.
To achieve the maximum effect, make sure to stretch out your chest and make your chest broad throughout the exercise.
- Sit on a mat, leaning on your tailbone.
- Lift your legs to form a V shape with your body while sitting.
- Stretch out your hands, so it’s parallel to the floor.
- You the hold for up to a minute.
- You then repeat the process 2-3 times.
Additional info on getting a flat stomach
To reduce your belly flat and even go on to have a well-defined stomach, you need first to reduce your total body fat. Often, it requires a lifestyle change, and here are some additional tips.
- Move a lot – Aside from your formal workout sessions, aim to walk around a lot. Move briskly and ensure you don’t stay at one place for too long, being idle.
- Sleep is essential – It’s vital to have enough rest, so your body’s metabolism improves.
- Drink plenty of water – Water helps flush your system. Drinking plenty of water also makes you feel full, helping you resist the temptation of snacking.
- Eat well – You are what you eat. Make a deliberate effort to cut out sugars, processed foods, oily foods, and too much salt. Instead, eat more protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
How quickly would you start seeing results?
You need to understand that there isn’t a specific time to start seeing results on your stomach. Instead, several factors determine how fast you lose your stomach fat, including; body mass, body fat, level of exercise, etc.
Consistency helps as, with time, you will start to see progress. However, the bigger picture is that you remain healthy, and if you practice this new lifestyle, you’ll be assured of good health.
Remaining consistent in your fitness journey can be challenging. If you need help with accountability, coming up with a fitness plan, or need experts to help you exercise well, Fitness 1 gym is always at your service.
Fitness 1 Gym is a 24/7 gym located in Accra, Ghana, at One Airport Square.
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