Tired of struggling with your weight? Healthy eating, regular cardiovascular workouts, and strength training can fix that. But what about your stomach? The most troubling spot to “target” to get sexy and strong is your abdominal region, especially for hard-working mothers who have given birth once or twice (or more!). No other place around the body is more important when it comes to fat loss, since visceral fat (the fat around the stomach) can send organs into a chaotic mess of dysfunction. If you crave the sleek, sexy look that comes with a flat stomach, the following tips can help you to achieve the best abs you’ve ever had in your life!
Tip #1: Take Control Of What Goes In Your Mouth
Let’s set the stage right here: your body keeps an accurate journal of what goes in your mouth. I want to challenge you with something that will help you lose fat and weight fast and in the long run.
Also read the labels! So called “diet foods” have more chemicals in them than your body can handle! The lack of real food sends your body into a confused state, wondering what to do with all these chemicals and instead stores them as fat because it doesn’t know how to effectively use them as energy.
If you are unsure about the food, ask yourself this: can your grandmother access this food when she was little? If she couldn’t, it’s a good indication this food is a product of man made chemicals. Additionally, consider your body like a car, give it good fuel like fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein. Eat every 3 to 4 hours and avoid eating during times of stress, exhaustion, or extreme emotional moments. Your body will thank you. Take control of what goes in your mouth!
Tip #2: Become Best Friends With Your Spice Rack
Spices are known to increase metabolism and burn fat. Toss out the “spicy sauces” from the shelf that are only full of sodium and go for the real heat and spices. These metabolism boosters include fresh jalapeños, habaneros, serrano pepper, cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, and cumin. Many of these also aid in blood sugar regulation and digestion – all functions that are on your side for fat loss.
Tip #3: HIIT The Fat Away 3-4x A Week
One study in particular, done at Canada’s McMaster University, confirmed that high intensity interval training (HIIT) improves muscle growth and fat loss faster when done for shorter periods (10 one-minute sprints with one minute period slower pace, 3x a week) than regular moderate long workouts (1 hour, 3x a week). HIIT is also an excellent way to save time and boost metabolism – a double punch!
HIIT is my favorite form of fat burning exercise because it is so efficient and effective. Personally, I practice this form of training about 2-3 times a week for 30 to 60 minutes. I do not do this every day. It’s not good for your body – it needs rest (lighter day) to recover. Make time for abdominal training 10 minutes a day, 4 to 5 days a week and preferably after your HIIT training.
Tip #4: Watch Out For Six-Pack Destroyers
No matter how many fitness classes you attend, how many calories you watch, how many crunches you do, there’s always going to be those “destroyers” out there you may or may not be aware of that will ruin all your hard work you’ve put into getting that sexy six-pack. Watch out for these “offenders”! Clean your diet of…
One of the worst six pack ab offenders! Soda is not only filled with sugar (or artificial sweeteners), but the carbonation will cause your body to bloat. Studies even show that people who drink soda (diet or regular) are fatter. Your risk for obesity goes up by 41%! The University of Texas revealed that soda – most specifically, diet soda – caused a detrimental hormonal response. The result? Cravings for refined carbohydrates, sweets, and increase in calorie intake overall, as well as increase in production of a fat storage hormone.
How to succeed: Write down the reason why you reach for soda. Remember, we are changing habits to a healthier lifestyle and NOT a quick fix. There are many healthier alternatives that your body will love more – and you will feel the difference, I promise you. Try tea with a sweet alternative like Stevia, iced tea with lemon (no added sugar), even iced water with slices of fruit. There are so many great options out there, I’ll tell you it’s more fun to discover new teas than just running to the store to get soda.
I’m sure you know about this one. If you strip all the nutrition out of a food, there will be a lack of those great building blocks you’re going to need for a head-turning six pack. Let’s be real here. We all love more “bang” for our buck. If I told you that you were getting very little quality (nutrition) for how much you spend, wouldn’t you want the quality stuff? Do your body a favor. Read the labels. Example: Have you noticed the bleached enriched flour in your foods (if you can call them that) like donuts, crackers, cakes, cookies, breads? Why would I feed my body bleached enriched bread when I could get a hearty loaf of bread with whole grains that fill me up and make me more energized? In relation to abs, these white, processed refined carbs cause spikes in insulin and blood sugar, which equals easy fat storage. Get rid of them!
How to succeed: Make painless changes – switch to whole grain, and make sure the label says WHOLE GRAIN. You can still enjoy your English muffin or piece of toast in the morning, it’s just all about the switch to a smarter option.
Chinese buffet, pretzels, frozen meals, hot sauces and processed shelf foods, what do they all have in common? Sodium! ALWAYS, ALWAYS check your sodium before thinking a certain food is a “smart option.” Not only does a large amount of sodium in your diet cause bloating, but it raises blood pressure, increases risk for osteoporosis, heart failure, kidney stones, hormonal imbalance, and dehydration. Americans especially consume too much sodium.
How to succeed: Aim for LESS than 2000mg of sodium a day. Again, read the labels. There are many options out there for reduced sodium, or try your hand at spices – the best way to season food! My favorites include cumin, cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder, and herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary.
We’re looking at processed foods here. Anything listed as “hydrogenated oil” or “partially hydrogenated oil,” PUT BACK. These are toxic not only to your dream six pack, but to your health as well. Some examples of trans fats are crackers, bakery items, margarine, even frozen food items like pizza.
How to succeed: If you are craving a cookie, make it from scratch with real butter and enjoy it once in a while. DO NOT buy it at the store because of convenience. I am furious that these screwed up oils are on the market! Throw out ANYTHING in your pantry or fridge that has this crap in it. There should be no excuses. Success is obtainable through this move alone, I assure you.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Continuing with the whole “sugar attack” I made earlier, high fructose corn syrup is right up there along with the trans fats. Why is HFCS such a big deal? There’s fructose in apples, right? Fructose is a sugar, but in its natural form like in an apple – that includes fiber, antioxidants, and other needed nutrients – it is great for the human body to use for energy. When you mess up the chemistry, it becomes to the point that the body no longer recognizes that the stomach is full, blood sugar levels and insulin spike, and you lose energy quickly (sugar crash) and again, will encourage fat storage to increase in your midsection, thighs, butt… you get the idea. Fructose in high amounts messes with appetite, therefore making you unaware of the “full” signal we need to know when we’ve consumed enough. It’s not a valuable, smart source of energy! Even in a Princeton University study, they discovered that rats who consumed HFCS gained MORE weight than those who consumed regular table sugar!
How to succeed: Read your labels, people! I feel like a broken record when I say this, but it’s the best way to know what you’re putting in your mouth – simple as that. Products like ketchup, salad dressing, fruit drinks, soda pop, they all usually have HFCS. A healthy, sexy six-pack will not thrive under chemistry experiments. Lower that sugar amount – HFCS and table sugar – and you will see great results.
Fried Foods (Especially Fries!)
You knew I was getting to this, right? Quick overview here – fried foods are literally drenched in oil, aka fat, to make them crisp. While mono-saturated fats are indeed healthier for you than trans fats or saturated fats, they still are fat and should be consumed with caution. Calories are the big deal here. Too many calories in the body means fat on your body, so listen up. French fries especially are a starchy carbohydrate and when you add in all that nasty oil, the greasy feeling you get after you eat them is no fake aftertaste. Again, we’re spiking our blood sugar and insulin, making it easy for the body to store those calories as fat. Your six pack abs say NO, THANK YOU!
How to succeed: Can’t live without the taste of fried foods? Bake or broil them! One of my son’s favorite meals is chicken tenders, so I’ll take chicken breasts, dip them in egg and then dip them in whole grain bread crumbs. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes and voila! There are alternatives. Feel free to search out the web for recipes!
Tip #5: Make Sure You’re Counting Sheep
Are you one of those people who cannot get any shut-eye until almost 3am? With how busy our lives have become, sleep is more important than ever. Especially if you are trying to lose weight and get a sexy stomach! When we get the needed 7-8 hours of wonderful sleep, our body is able to have the time to regenerate new cells and recover from all the hard workouts you’ve done. This is the time when our bodies produce HGH – in other words, Human Growth Hormone, which is what is responsible for productive cell regeneration and recovery. Keep your bedroom darkened with dark color shades, a comfy mattress and sheets, remove all lightened screens about an hour before bed, and make your bedtime relaxing with a regular routine such as a bath, slow music, candles, a book – anything that will make you feel calm and relaxed so you can have a restful night’s sleep!
If you like more great tips to lose belly fat fast for a strong and healthy body, click here