1. Nutrition: A healthy diet is the most influential way to influence body composition, especially in the abdominal region. By minimizing the intake of processed foods, sugars, and unhealthy forms of fat, the body will more efficiently metabolize wastes and food alike, will likely reducing stored body fat in the process. Choose natural, label-less foods as much as possible.
2. Nutrition: Focus on fat-burning foods! Increase intake of vitamin-rich, low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables, healthier fats such as avocados, fish, lean-all natural meats, nuts, and olive oil. Healthy fats and protein increase satiety and lessen insulin spikes that ultimately lead to carbohydrate cravings and increased insulin resistance in the body’s cells.
3. Nutrition: Notice a trend here! The fight for finding abs is in vain if nutrition is ignored. Eat a protein-rich breakfast to start the morning metabolism and eat healthy, balanced foods and combinations the remainder of the day. Eat with a purpose and look at food as a source of fuel, not as a means to satisfy cravings, reduce boredom, or ease emotional distress.
4. Destress: Stress releases the hormone cortisol that ultimately leads to the accumulation of fat around the liver and in the general abdominal region. Identify and eliminate existing sources of stress and develop strategies to reduce stress in life, such as yoga, exercise, stretching, deep breathing exercises, sauna/spa services, meditation, reflection, and prayer.
5. Rest, Recovery, Sleep: Adequate sleep (generally 7-8 hours) helps maintain healthy metabolism, facilitate cell and muscle repair, and reduce the levels of our stress hormones. Incorporate a stress reducing strategy before bed to calm your thoughts and mind to help you sleep better. Aim to not eat 2 or 3 hours prior to bed, in order to allow the body to maximize its repair potential.
6. Detox: Alcohol and other toxins often lead to uncontrolled episodes of unhealthy eating, while simultaneously slowing our metabolism. The prevalence of toxins in the body from the environment, sugars, additives, and pesticides in rhe diet, as well as drugs block fat-burning receptors and impair our metabolic rate. Exercise, a real whole food diet rich in antioxidants, and limited exposure to environmental toxins are the best strategies for reducing the presence of harmful toxins in the body.
7. Be More Active, Burn More Fat: Find ways to be more active in everyday life to burn more calories. During exercise, achieving the proper exercise intensity and duration is the key to maximize the body’s fat-burning potential. Exercise diversity, partner workouts, group classes, music, and personal non-food related rewards are great motivational methods to increase the enjoyment of exercise and neutralize plateaus.
8. Form: In all lifts, particularly core exercises, focus on proper form to maximize results and minimize the potential of injury. Enlist the assistance of a qualified personal trainer or self-educate with the resources available at the bookstore, library, or online.
9. Ab Activation: Learning how to activate the abs prior to each rep (squeezing the belly button in towards the spine) will isolate the abdominal muscles, improve form and posture, and train the TVA muscles to tighten the
10. Incorporate Multijoint Exercises: A preferred series of exercises to strengthen the abdominals involve multi-joint movements such as high pulls/hang cleans, squats (regular, front, weight-overhead, split, one-legged, squat and presses), deadlifts (Regular, Romanian, w) shrug or high pull), and hanging exercises from a pull-up bar.
11. Progression: Train the abs similar to other muscles, rather than performing a million crunches or the same exercises repeatedly. Vary the resistance (weights, bands, med-ball, partner), angle (use bench, decline bench, physioball, hanging), speed, and plane of movement.
12. Stretching and Posture: Emphasize proper posture during walks, work, and exercise. Walk and sit confidently with the shoulders back and activate the core to encourage lengthening, increase core function in relation to the spine, internal organs, and energy transfer between the upper and lower body. Furthermore, stretching (Yoga works wonder to de-stress, strengthen, and stretch) also enhances range of motion and leads to a leaner-sleeker physique.