For a majority of people in the United States, if you asked them what part of their bodies they would tone up if they could snap their fingers and make it happen, the overwhelming response would be stomach/midsection/abs. It is, without a doubt, a trouble spot for many of us. And contrary to popular belief, spot training does not carry any weight, no pun intended. If you do a thousand crunches every day, but don’t change anything else about your lifestyle, you won’t see the results you are looking for. Here are some tricks you need to know for getting a flatter, firmer midsection!
Take a Chill Pill
First of all, chill out! When you are stressed, overwhelmed, or burdened by anxiety, your body sends out a sort of SOS that triggers a hormonal response. The so-called stress hormone, cortisol, can mess with your cravings, feelings of hunger/fullness, on metabolism of fat and energy, causing you to – you guessed it! – store fat around your middle. Thus the first step to a stronger core is relaxing, managing stress, and finding a healthy outlet for it. Fittingly, exercise seems to do the trick for many people, as do journaling and meditation.
Don’t Chow Down Before Bed
It is pretty much common knowledge now that eating a big meal before bed is not recommended. Not only will that make it harder to fall asleep, but it will also force your body to burn the calories from said food instead of burning that extra energy you have stored around your midsection. The best option is to eat a healthy, but not huge dinner, then nothing else until breakfast. Obviously listen to your body and practice intuitive eating, but note that flat abs are made in the kitchen first and the gym second.
Stretch Prior to Crunching
A classic mistake many of us make when doing ab workouts is avoiding a proper warm up. If you don’t stretch before doing crunches or sit-ups, you will likely end up using secondary muscles (hips, back, legs) to do most of the work, rather than your actual abs. Try placing something under your back and laying on it so your front gets a good stretch. This should prime you to kick those muscles in to gear!
*Disclaimer: Always consult your physician or other health care professional before seeking treatment or taking related advice herein.*
Story Credit: 12 tricks to help lose belly fat by Cosmopolitan
Photo Credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing
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