Dieting, cardio and strength training can flatten your tummy.
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Spot reduction isn't possible. This means that you can do hundreds of crunches a day and still be burdened with a layer of fat covering your abdominals. To reduce this fat and get a flat tummy, focus on reducing fat from your entire body. You can accomplish this by eating a sensible diet, and taking on regular exercise. When your body fat diminishes, your belly fat will also reduce -- and since this fat is linked to health conditions, such as heart disease and high blood pressure, you won't just look better, you'll also improve your health.1.
Eat a healthy, reduced-calorie diet that emphasizes fruits and veggies, lean protein, such as fish and skinless chicken, reduced-fat dairy and whole grains. Monitor the amount of calories you eat every day, and aim for a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories so you lose one to two pounds per week, as recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Practice portion control and replace unhealthy, weight-loss-sabotaging foods with healthier alternatives.
Engage in moderate cardiovascular exercise for half an hour on most days of the week to burn calories. For instance, go jogging, use an elliptical or rowing machine, ride a bike, jump rope, or climb stairs. On one or two days, integrate bursts of high intensity intervals in your workout, because this more effectively burns fat, as stated by the American Council on Exercise. After warming up, speed up to a vigorous pace for one minute, and then slow down to recover for two minutes. Repeat the intervals five to six times, and finish your workout with a cool down.3.
Perform resistance exercises on a minimum of two, nonconsecutive days of the week. For optimal muscle stimulation and caloric burn, perform combination and compound exercises that engage multiple joints and muscles. For instance, do squats with shoulder presses or biceps curl, lunges with lateral raises, or step-ups with torso twists. To fire up your workout even more, minimize the rest period between the exercises so you swiftly go from one exercise to the next. This type of training, also known as circuit training, has a cardiovascular and muscle-strengthening benefit.4.
Strengthen your abdominal muscles with targeted exercises as part of your strength-training routine. Although solely doing these exercises won't reduce belly fat, they will strengthen and tone your muscles, and once the excess fat reduces, a well-defined physique will show. Include exercises, such as V-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, lying toe touches and bicycle crunches.
- If you're new to exercise, start slowly. For instance, walk briskly for 15 minutes on three days of the week, and only do one set of eight to 12 repetitions per strength-training exercise. Once you gain confidence and develop proper form, gradually increase your exercise duration and intensity, and aim to do two to three sets per strength-training exercise.
- See your doctor before changing your diet or starting to exercise, especially if you have an injury or health condition, or have been inactive.