Tips to Get Flat Abs

Having a flat stomach is often a major goal when people begin their workout plans. Achieving and maintaining toned, flat abs requires more than just a strenuous abdominal workout, though. You need a combination of diet, exercise and possibly lifestyle changes to achieve your goal of a flat belly.

Cardio is Key

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t reduce a particular area of your body by working on that body part alone. If you want flat abs, you’re going to have to engage in high-intensity cardio to lose the fat that’s covering your abdominal muscles. Complete a cardio workout for an hour a day, six times a week to get the belly weight off quickly and safely.

Choose the Right Abdominal Exercises

All abdominal workouts are not created equal. Certain ab exercises are better than others at working the core abdominal muscles. A 2001 study by the Biomechanics Lab at San Diego State University ranked 13 abdominal exercises to determine which were the most effective. The top five abdominal exercises were bicycle crunches, captain’s chair leg raises, exercise ball crunches, vertical leg crunches and the torso track. Combine two or more of these exercises to get toned, flat abs.

Eat More Fiber

Poor digestion, which causes excess gas and bloating, often causes a bulging lower belly. A high-fiber diet increases digestion and aids in proper elimination, keeping the lower belly looking flat. The USDA dietary fiber guidelines suggest a daily intake of 24 g of fiber for women and 38 g of fiber for men.

Eat More Protein

Protein is a great way to build muscle and burn fat. Eating more lean protein helps you build muscle and lose weight faster–and that includes gaining flatter, more toned abs. Try adding more tuna, salmon, chicken breast and eggs to your diet–these foods are a great source of protein while still being a healthy addition to any diet.

Don’t Stress

Leading a stressful life has a direct impact on the size of your belly. The stress hormone, cortisol, can cause excess fat to accumulate in your stomach. So it’s a must that you find ways to de-stress your everyday life. Try meditation, pursue a hobby or participate in an activity you love–but whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s something that will significantly reduce your stress levels so you will have an easier time achieving your goal of having flat abs.

About this Author

Tamika Johnson has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has been published in “My Home Improvement Guide,” “The Marketeer,” and for Web sites such as BitchieLife and CinemaBlend. Johnson holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Miami and a Master of Arts in English from the University of North Florida.