Everyone is always talking about the latest and greatest way to get flat abs. It takes a lot more than the latest gadget or 5,000 crunches to get the flat stomach you want. So where do you start?
You may have heard many times that abs are made in the kitchen. This is true and something you should take to heart. How many times have you finished your workout in the gym with crunches then you grab a soda, latte or sports drink that are filled with sugar? You just in that one drink, defeated the crunches you’ve done in the gym. Clean eating is one of the most important keys to getting flat, toned abs.
Clean eating is defined by eating healthy, nutritious foods as close to their original source as possible. Cut out all processed foods. For example, choose an apple over apple juice. Choose fresh fruit over a smoothie. Choose chicken breast over buying chicken nuggets.
Next cut out white flour, sugar, and salt. If you absolutely need some salt, switch to sea salt or try another type of seasoning such as Mrs. Dash. For sugar, give honey a try.
Include healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts plus be sure you are getting enough lean protein in your diet. Great sources of lean protein are chicken, fish, and Greek yogurt.
Be sure to keep track of what you are putting in your body and do not eat more calories than you need in a day. Finally? Drink enough water throughout the day. Not so hard right?
Complement your clean eating with exercise but understand it takes more than just crunches. Your core is not just your abs. Your core is from your chest to your hips plus your back too. You need strong abs AND a strong back for a fit core.
Start with your posture. Stand or sit up straight with your core engaged. Engaging your core means to put your shoulders back and down and pull your stomach in towards your back. In other words? Stand up straight as you have been told so many times in the past.
I’m personally very guilty of this as I am in my home office many hours each day. If I don’t catch myself, I’m not just hunching while working, I’m also hunching over when standing up. Not good. So let’s remind each other throughout the day to stand or sit up straight.
Now that we have our posture under control, let’s talk exercise. By far, the BEST exercise program for core strength and flat abs is yoga. One of the poses in yoga we for our core is planks. If you’re new to yoga or want to practice at home, this is the program I recommend: Shapeshifter Yoga.
Planks can be done several ways but the key is to hold your abs tight as you do when standing or sitting straight. For beginners, do three planks by starting on your forearms and on your toes and hold for 30 seconds.
As you get stronger, add time until you are at three, one minute planks. When you have successfully complete the one minute planks, switch it up with spider planks or side planks.
Because our cores are just not abs, include push-ups, lunges, v-sits, squats and crunches. Take your time and be sure to watch your form as you proceed through these exercises as proper form is not only important to strengthen your core, it prevents injury.
Combining clean eating with the proper core exercises will get you the abs dreams are made of. Now get up and get moving. You CAN do this.