YOUR FAB AB GUIDE
Crunched, planked, piked and mountain climbed your little heart out but still can’t see your six-pack? You’re not alone! Getting a flat, toned tummy can be one tricky feat. Especially if you can’t seem to figure out what you’re doing wrong.
Unfortunately, comforting carb-filled dishes and an aversion to leaving the house means that in winter, your flat summer belly is often the first to go. It’s also the hardest to get back! Because despite what many people believe, crash dieting and hundreds of crunches won’t get you anywhere.
When it comes to getting rid of ab flab, there are four factors you need to keep in mind. Keep all these factors in balance and you’ll be on your way to flat abs, fast! Here’s what you need to do…
For a high intensity workout, you need high levels of energy, which you won’t have if you don’t get enough shuteye. Not getting enough sleep increases your stress hormone cortisol, which has been linked to belly fat accumulation. On top of this, studies have shown that tired minds tend to make poor choices when it comes to food. So make sure you get your 8 hours!
Not just any cardio though, we’re talking high-intensity. These types of workouts torch belly fat way faster than your casual beachside stroll. Music to your ears right? Didn’t think so. But the good thing is, you don’t have to do these workouts for hours on end. Working in a few short high intensity workouts a week will not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but will also keep you burning belly fat all day long. We personally love F45 training which is actually... wait for it... FUN. Yep, it's over in 45 minutes and the workouts change daily so that you're never bored. Give it a try.
Seems obvious, right? Well, for the most part the message is simple – cut out the junk. But there are also certain foods you should be eating more of as well. We’re talking high protein foods like lean meats and eggs, high fibre foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, low-gi carbs like quinoa and brown rice and foods that are rich in good fats like oily fish, avocado and nuts. Here are some of our top meal suggestions:
- BREAKFAST – ½ cup cooked oats with 1 cup natural Greek yoghurt, ¼ cup berries and ¼ cup desiccated coconut.
- LUNCH – 115g cooked salmon with ½ cup brown rice and ¾ cup cooked broccoli. Serve with a wedge of lemon and a season with a touch of salt and pepper.
- DINNER – 100g-cooked chicken breast with 1½ cups spinach or kale, ¼ avocado and ½ cup cooked pumpkin (cubed). Drizzle with olive oil and apple cider vinegar.
Building lean muscle mass is one of the best ways to make sure your body burns calories at an all time high. And as important as all these other factors are, the reality is to get abs you have to do ab exercises! Here are some of our favourite moves….
Lie face up on your back, with your knees bent and hands on the floor. Push your palms down into the floor as you raise your legs up towards the ceiling (keeping them bent) until your lower back lifts off the floor, squeezing your abs the whole time. Slowly return your starting position. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
Kneel with your elbows on the ground and then straighten your legs so that you’re in a plank position. Lift your right arm off the ground and lift it towards the ceiling, twisting your body to the right as you move. Hold this position with your right foot slightly in front of the left. Push your right hip up to the ceiling and then lower it down again. Repeat these raises for 10-15 reps before returning to plank position. Do the same for the left side. Complete 4-5 sets on each side.
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet lifted off the ground. Place your hands behind your head and lean backwards, keeping your back straight. Twist your body and bring your left elbow to your right knee, straightening the left leg. Repeat on the opposite side. Complete 15-20 reps.
Start in plank position with your legs straight and your elbows on the floor. Slowly lift one arm off the floor and straighten it out in front of you. At the same time, raise the opposite leg off the floor, being careful not to lift it higher than your back. Hold for 3 seconds and then return to plank. Repeat on the other side. Complete 5 sets on each side.