The Secret to Flat Abs

Overview

Achieving flat abdominal muscles is difficult because it’s a goal that encompasses a variety of different elements, including a proper diet, plenty of hydration and the right type of exercises. Not only will flat abs help you look and feel great, they’re also a good indicator of your overall health; according to a 2010 CBS News article, too much fat in the mid-section is the greatest risk factor for type II diabetes.

Diet

Obtaining flat abs may require losing a few pounds by way of eating the right foods. Consume foods that are high in nutrients but low in calories, such as almonds, fruits, vegetables and low or non-fat dairy products. Also ensure that you’re consuming enough fiber. The Mayo Clinic recommends that adult males and females consume 38 g and 25 g of fiber per day, respectively. High-fiber foods keep the stomach feeling full for longer, so you’re less inclined to snack between meals. Fiber also promotes digestive health, which reduces bloating and gives those abdominal muscles a better chance of being seen.

Hydration

Another key element in achieving flat abs is staying hydrated. The simplest approach to proper hydration is to consume eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day. On days where your aerobic activity is higher than usual, or when it’s extremely warm out, consume even more. According to the Mayo Clinic, water carries nutrients across cells and is vital in flushing toxins from the body. In terms of flat abs, this means that water can flush excess sodium before it causes stomach bloating.

Potassium

Consuming adequate levels of potassium is another way to flush excess sodium from the body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Adults and children over 10 years of age should consume 2,000 mg of potassium daily. Bananas, citrus fruits and juices, avocados, salmon and flounder are all dietary sources of potassium.

Core Exercise

A proper diet is a great start, but it will only get you so far. In order for abdominal muscles to really stand out, they need to be toned as well. Participating in a Pilates class is a great way to strengthen, elongate and tone core muscles. Pilates classes are offered at most gyms and health clubs. If you prefer to work out solo, purchase a Pilates video. Pilates workouts are specifically designed to target abdominal muscles.

Crunches

The standard abdominal crunch or sit-up is one of the most effective ways to strengthen abdominal muscles. If you’re looking for an even greater challenge, try using a stability ball. “Fitness Magazine” recommends placing a stability wall approximately 2 feet in front of a wall. Place your lower back on the center of the ball and your feet flat against the wall with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Begin crunches with your hands behind your head. Perform as many reps as you’re comfortable with. For an even greater challenge, intermittently twist to the right and left side each time you perform a crunch.

About this Author

Maria Price has worked as an editor for an independent publishing company for the past three years. She also does freelance writing for The Examiner, and Helium. Price has a Master of Science degree from Drexel University in publications management.