July 24 2017
Registered Dietitian Natalie Rizzo researches 5 trendy "superfoods" and discovers they aren't so super, after all.
Most girls I speak to on a daily basis all want to know how to flatten their tummy and tone up their abs. I’ve spent years working on my abs, figuring out the best formula to achieve a great midsection. What I’ve discovered is that it all comes down to three things: eating the right foods, exercising smarter, and proper digestion to remove any bloating. So, if you finally want to get the flat stomach, here are my key tips on how to tone up and de-bloat.
When it comes to toning your waistline, you need to make sure you have a good exercise routine and that you fuel your body with the right foods. You can be a saint at the gym, but if you are not matching it with the right nutrients, then you may never get the flat midsection you desire.
Doing 100 crunches day after day is not going to result in a flat stomach. Toned abs come from doing a range of different exercises that target the core in different ways to help the body melt fat. I take on a more holistic approach to achieving a great midsection, implementing exercises other than just ab crunches to get my results. I combine strength sessions (that target the core and whole body) along with HIIT (to melt fat off) to reach these goals.
Related: Best Abs Ever With This Workout
Incorporating strength training into your exercise routine is definitely a key ingredient for achieving a toned tummy. Lifting weights helps the body build muscle; the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be and the more fat you burn. That’s why I add weights into all of my workout programs. Please don’t worry girls— you aren’t going to bulk doing this either.
Having a flat tummy also comes down to reducing your body fat percentage. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been shown to be one of the most effective methods for shredding fat. A HIIT circuit is very simple. You take a handful of exercises and then perform each at high intensity, while keeping the rest between exercises to a minimum. The best thing about HIIT is that you can include exercises that target any body part you want. I like to create HIIT circuits that involve core, cardiovascular and resistance training in the one workout. By getting your heart rate up, you speed up your metabolism and help the body burn fat more effectively.
Eat the right foods
If you aren’t fueling your body with proper nutrients, you aren’t going to reap the rewards for all your hard work at the gym. A poor diet can often lead to feeling tired and lethargic. If you are undereating, this can also damage your metabolism. To get fit and feeling great, you need to eat a well-balanced whole food diet that will give your body proper nutrients. Starvation and deprivation diets will not work. To help tone up the belly, it’s good to stay away from foods like refined carbs. These foods spike your insulin levels, which then prevents fat burning in the body. Refined carbs are in foods like white bread, pasta, crackers, sugar and white rice. Replace refined carbs with healthy complex carbs from things like vegetables, sweet potatoes, brown rice or quinoa.
Related: Get Creative With Your Carbs
So many girls I speak to suffer from bouts of bloating. Some only get it every now and again, while others suffer from it on a daily basis. Nothing makes you feel more uncomfortable than having a swollen tummy. Bloating can come from many different things, but is mainly caused from improper digestion and poor food choices. Other causes can be eating too quickly, drinking carbonated drinks or overeating. I had years of experiencing bloating from undiagnosed food intolerances. Often after I ate, I felt terrible and was in major pain. Over the years, I learned a thing or two on how to deal with bloating when it occurs.
Drink apple cider vinegar to help with digestion
Apple cider vinegar is a great way to help the body prevent bloating, as it kick starts the digestion process in the stomach. Just have one tablespoon in a glass of room temperature water before each meal.
There are a lot of herbal teas you can drink that help improve digestion and get rid of bloating. Some of my favorite teas are peppermint, licorice and chamomile tea. Adding in fresh ginger root can also help reduce inflammation.
Related: Fuel Your Body With These Snacks
A major cause of bloating can come from an imbalance of good or bad bacteria in your gut. This generally happens when you have been on antibiotics. When the bacteria in your gut are out of balance, it can lead to all kinds of digestive problems. Taking a good quality probiotic daily, can help restore the balance and get rid of the bloat.
Check your protein powders
So many protein powders on the market can cause tummy upset. I’ve tried my fair share and there wasn’t many that I could actually tolerate. A lot of protein powders have all sorts of fillers and additives that don’t agree with people and cause bloating. Many protein powders are also commonly made from whey and soy protein, which many people are intolerant too. I prefer to get protein from whole foods as much as I can. If I do need a protein boost, then my rule is to stick to a clean, organic protein powder that doesn’t have any weird additives and fillers. I personally go vegan as I can’t tolerate lactose.
Hope you found some of these tips useful so you can start working your way towards a flatter toned tummy.