27 Jun How To Get A Flat Stomach
One of the most common questions I get is “how do I get a flat stomach?”
There are two parts to the answer.
Everyone has a six-pack, but for most of us, it’s well hidden under a layer of fat. To be able to see your stomach muscles means losing some of the fat covering it.
Unfortunately the body decides where fat will come off when we use it, so exercising a certain part of the body doesn’t mean the fat will come off that area. If it worked like that, tennis players would have one arm with no fat and the other would have fat on it. Clearly this isn’t the case.
The good news, especially for men, is that the fat around the middle is a preferred source of energy. So some men can reduce their “gut” quite quickly.
As I’ve stated in previous newsletters, the key to losing body fat is to eat less (if you are eating too much) and to burn more calories by exercising more and, more importantly, increasing your metabolism. The best way to increase your metabolism being strength training two or three times per week.
Reducing your body fat gives you a greater chance of seeing the muscles under there, but it is still important to strengthen them so here’s what I suggest.
Contrary to popular belief, sit-ups and crunches aren’t the best way to strengthen your abdominal muscles. In fact, doing too many might be counter-productive and could lead to injury.
I recommend doing exercises in which you use your abdominal muscles to stabilise your body, rather than move it. In effect you are holding your stomach tight.
Here’s a simple exercise to try. It’s called the Plank.
Lie on the floor on your stomach with your chest propped up on your elbows (like a sphynx).
Lift your legs and stomach up so the only parts touching the ground are you forearms and toes.
Hold it for 30-60 seconds. Repeat 3-5 times.
There are a lot of variations to this that can make it harder and use the stomach muscles slightly differently but do this to start with.
Try doing it while you watch TV at night or while reading a book (that you can lie flat on the floor). You could even do this in an airport while you are waiting for your flight!
This exercise builds core stability which helps to protect the back as well as flatten your stomach.
Do this every second day for a couple of weeks and see if you can feel the difference. I’m sure you will.