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  • Writer's pictureTimothée Le Barilllec

3 tips for a flat belly

Technically, everyone's stomach is already flat. But most people have excess fat covering their abdominal muscles.


What you eat, what you drink, how often you exercise and your stress levels all contribute to the accumulation of fat on your abdomen.


Some people are genetically predisposed to carry more fat on their abdomen and it will be more difficult for them to lose enough fat to achieve a flat stomach. But it's not impossible!


Find out my tips for losing belly fat.


1. The importance of diet


To lose belly fat, you need to reduce your overall body fat percentage. You cannot reduce fat in any one area.


Foods that promote belly fat are processed foods, simple carbohydrates like white bread, cereals, white rice, pasta, etc.

Fibre allows the digestive system to function better. A healthy digestive system reduces bloating and helps to keep a flat stomach.


Drinking plenty of water can reduce water retention and bloating, both of which can make the stomach look bigger.

Drinking a glass of water before a meal can also fill the stomach and help with portion control during the meal.

Plain water can be drunk or infused with citrus fruits, cucumber or berries to make it more palatable. Drinking herbal teas or infusions is another great way to stay hydrated.


Alcohol of any kind is a major contributor to belly fat. And stress causes your brain to produce a hormone called cortisol. High levels of cortisol contribute to belly fat.


2. Increase your physical activity


I'm not talking about exercise at the gym or at home, but simply being more physically active throughout the day. Research shows that increased physical activity can reduce belly fat and improve overall health.


This means sitting less and standing up more. Here are some tips to easily increase your physical activity:

  • Get off the bus or metro one stop early and walk the rest of the way.

  • Walk the dog - don't just watch it walk.

  • Take the stairs: Avoiding lifts and escalators can help you burn a lot of calories.

  • Use a pedometer: A pedometer makes it easier to track your steps and encourages you to walk more.

  • Take your child or partner for a walk. It's also a great way to get together without a screen.

  • Garden: Doing some gardening will get you moving and probably tone your muscles.

  • Even if you're glued to your phone for work calls, you don't need to be glued to your chair. Get into the habit of walking during your phone calls.

3. High intensity interval training (HIIT)


High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a quick way to burn more calories during exercise.


It consists of short periods of intense movement interspersed with short periods of rest. This type of training can help burn more calories in a shorter time than some traditional exercise options.


Example of a quick HIIT workout to target your abs


Instructions: Perform each exercise below for 40 seconds, then rest for 20 seconds. Give it your all during each 40 second interval. This 5-minute workout is intended to be repeated at least three times to be effective.


Burpees

Burpees are one of the best HIIT exercises. It targets several muscle groups, including those in the stomach area. It is a full body exercise that increases your heart rate and helps you lose weight when combined with a low calorie diet.

You do not need any equipment to do this exercise.


Steps:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides

  • Get into a squat position and place your hands on the floor.

  • Kick your legs to return to the plank position.

  • Jump your legs forward to return to the squat position.

  • Return to standing position and repeat.


Jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are a high-intensity exercise that keeps your heart rate up and activates all muscle groups.


Although jumping jacks can't target your belly fat, they can help you lose fat from your entire body (including your belly, that is). Combined with other HIIT exercises, they are a real ally in your belly fat loss.


Steps:

  • Stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides.

  • Jump up, spreading your legs and raising your arms to the sky.

  • Return to the starting point and repeat.


Mountain climbers


Mountain climbers are great for cardio, strength and agility. They work a number of different muscle groups, so you can work your whole body in one exercise.




Steps:

If you are just starting out, try this classic variation of the exercise:

  • Get into a plank position, making sure your weight is evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Your hands should be shoulder width apart, your back flat, your abs engaged and your head aligned.

  • Bring your right knee towards your chest as much as possible.

  • Switch legs, extending your leg and bringing the other knee towards your chest.

  • Keep your hips low and bring your knees in as far and as fast as possible.

Criss-Cross

The criss-cross is a Pilates exercise that focuses on the obliques.


Steps:

  • Lie on your back

  • Bend your knees and raise your legs (hips at 90 degrees, knees at 90 degrees).

  • Place your hands behind your head

  • Lift your chest off the floor without pulling with your arms, looking straight ahead

  • As you exhale, straighten one leg until the knee is straight. At the same time, rotate your torso towards the opposite knee.

  • Breathe in through the middle.

  • Exhale as you switch sides, extending the other leg and pivoting to the opposite direction.


Warning

While it is important to get at least 30 minutes of (moderate) exercise a day, you should not overexert yourself. Sometimes when you overtrain, your body can produce too much cortisol (the stress hormone). Overtraining can therefore make it more difficult to get rid of belly fat.


There are many ways to design a personalized program that will work for you, so you can successfully reduce belly fat at your own pace.

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