Fitness trainers often hear the question, "How do I get a flat and toned stomach?". Six-pack abs are one of the most sought-after physical attributes by women, but they're pretty tough to get because women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than men. It takes a combination of good nutrition and exercise to achieve a six-pack!
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1. Get serious about nutrition. You may have heard that abs are made in the kitchen; while exercise is obviously a vital part of getting that six-pack, so is nutrition! When it comes to nutrition, there are the easy things you can cut out like fast food and soda. It may be easy to just go through the drive-thru for dinner but it isn't helping your body in any way!
- Nutrient-filled diet: You should avoid processed food. When you switch to natural and whole foods, you get to eat more and fill your body with more nutrients! Try choosing water more often, snacking on fruits instead of your regular snack, and eating veggies with lean protein at meals. To be sure that you're getting tons of nutrients, make sure that you have veggies, fruits, proteins and healthy fats in your meals. Of course that means cutting out sugars and the bad fats, but it will be worth it when you start seeing that six-pack! (via WebMD)
- Five to six meals: You might have heard this idea that eating more meals a day that are smaller portions is better than three square meals a day. It's actually true! Instead of cutting calories from your diet, try eating more meals with smaller portions to keep your metabolism burning all day. This helps give you energy and keeps you from overeating. (via WebMD)
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2. Exercise like you mean it. The difficult part of really trying to get a six-pack is knowing that you have to burn off fat from your entire body, and not just your stomach area. It's just not possible to burn fat off from one single area of your body. The last of the bad news is that the fat from your abdomen is usually the last to go when burning fat and the first to come back. Just be sure that you stay persistent with your healthy way of eating and exercising!
- Cardio: If you really want your abs to show, you need to start burning fat; this means more cardio. To really get your heart rate up you can run, bike, swim, hike or any number of things. By raising your heart rate and metabolism you can start burning calories — and fat all over your body. Try getting in at least five cardio workouts per week that last for about an hour.
- Ab exercises: While burning off fat to show off your abs, you also need to tone your new six-pack. You can easily do the usual sit-ups and crunches and have a great midsection, but those will only allow your obliques and lower abs to lag behind. Here are some great ab exercises for you to try out:
- Reverse crunch: This is a great move to isolate and tone the lower half of your abdomen. Here's how to do it.
- Bicycle crunch: Work your obliques with this one. Try it out here.
- Stability ball planks: Try to hold this one for 30 to 60 seconds! Click here to learn how.
- Side planks: Working your obliques helps to tone your new abs. Learn how to do this one!
- Forearm plank: A great move to work your whole core. Here's how to do this one, or watch it below:
- Don't train every single day! You don't need to train your abs every day. Give yourself and your body a must needed break. Do ab exercises about two to three times a week. This not only gives your core a rest but also the time to recover and grow.
- Increase your weights! To really define your six-pack, you need to work on progressive resistance. This means that over time your abs won't get better unless you increase the difficulty of your exercises; otherwise you won't see any progress. That doesn't mean that you have to start lifting super heavy weights — you can just add a medicine ball or dumbbell when you do crunches and sit-ups.
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Once you start this regimen be sure to give yourself a break every now and then. Remember that a six-pack will happen over time and that you need to pace yourself. You can do this and you'll have a six-pack to show for it when you're done! If you have trouble staying on track, check out these ways to stay motivated.
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