You’re at the beach with your family or friends. They’re beckoning you to join them in the water. Ashamed to be seen in your swimsuit, you reluctantly linger behind, sheltered in your swimsuit cover-up.
A few of us have been blessed with great tummies! For most of us, however, it takes a lot of hard work to obtain and maintain a tummy worthy of being shown off in a swimsuit. As the Easter season approaches, wouldn’t you like to have a flat, flab-free stomach that you would be proud to flaunt at the beach or swimming pool?
A balanced diet is necessary for building strong bones and muscles (including abdominal muscles).
What To Do?
The first step to having a poochless abdomen is getting plenty of aerobic, calorie-burning exercise. No matter what anyone says, you cannot spot reduce! You must engage in cardiovascular activity to burn calories and lose the fat from your entire body! No matter how many toning and strengthening exercises you do, no one will notice, if the sculpted muscles are hidden beneath a layer of fat! And, once you’ve lost the fat, you must continue with your cardio program to keep it off!
Ideally, you need to invest a minimum of 30 minutes per day, 3 to 4 days per week, doing some sort of cardio workout.
What About Crunches?
Next, be aware that doing the right kind of abdominal workouts, the proper way, is also a key to developing and maintaining a flat belly. Some exercises, such as improperly performed crunches, may actually make your stomach bulgy. Take the advice of a trainer, Maria Leone. Maria tells us in the January, 2004 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine that “crunches and many other traditional ab moves work primarily the superficial layer of your stomach muscles. This builds those muscles, but doesn’t pull them in to give you a flat tummy or a leaner waist.” Leone goes on to explain that, to have a lean, flat stomach and a smaller waistline, it is necessary to tone three types of muscles. You must tone “your rectus abdominus (the top layer of muscle), your obliques (the ones on your sides), and crucially, your transverse abdominus, the deeper layer of muscle that wraps around your midsection and connects your navel to your spine.” The transverse abdominus is the muscle that you want to really focus on, because this muscle holds your stomach in and gives you the flat look you desire.
Extra Tummy-Flattening Power
For extra stomach-toning benefits while getting in your cardio workouts, choose moves that target the abdominal muscles. The founder of Performance Fitness Concepts, states that your stomach muscles can get a good workout when you’re engaged in exercises that are done while standing in an upright position. Tighten your stomach muscles and keep them taut during these exercises to receive the most benefits. “the elliptical trainer, running, and walking on a treadmill set at an upward incline are the best workouts for toning the midsection. Pass on the stationary bike, which doesn’t have extra ab benefits.”
Don’t Forget Diet!
Exercise is crucial in winning the battle of the belly bulge and keeping your waistline slim and trim! But, diet is equally important! A balanced diet is necessary for building strong bones and muscles (including abdominal muscles). And, it’s necessary for maintaining a healthy metabolism. So, watch what you eat! Plan your meals wisely! Don’t overindulge! Train yourself to eat smaller portions of a healthy variety of foods from the Food Pyramid!
Remember, too, that you should consult your healthcare professional prior to beginning any diet or exercise program!
Good health to all!