A: this is definitely THE number one question i get asked about. before i show you what i do to get them, there are some things you MUST do and consider before you can ever achieve them yourself.
- what you eat affects your tummy. and no, im not talking about just eating too much. i could eat 3 broccoli stalks and blow up like a hot air balloon. i mean really, of all things, broccoli. a number of other healthy foods can cause gas, tummy discomfort, and bloating...see what some of them are, here. even having to 'go' can create a significant bulge in your tummy. i can't do anything about that lol, but you must learn pay attention to how your body reacts to different types of foods. it can honestly take some time, but it's worth it to figure out what your trigger foods are. i now know what NOT to eat before slipping into a fitted dress or my skinny jeans.
- maintain a healthy, balanced, portion controlled diet. seems like the older i get, the ratio of working out vs. eating gets a little more lopsided. i thought it was the combo of having a baby and turning 30, but who really knows! either way, i just can't eat like i used to. it used to be 50% exercise, 50% diet. now, it's more like 75% diet in order to maintain my current size and shape. portion size never meant so much to me as it does now. overdoing it can literally ruin a hard workout in seconds. too much sodium makes my tummy poofy, and too much sugar makes it mushy. not saying you can't have either- just remain active and have everything in moderation. overall, stick to fresh, natural foods and cut out the processed, sugary junk.
- you won't ever (you hear me? everrrrr!!!!) get that defined, chiseled mid-section until you burn off that layer of fat on top of them. e.g. CARDIO exercise...and on a regular basis at that. now, having a 6 pack requires a very low body fat percentage. unless i'm gonna compete in a fitness competition or something, it's just not that big a deal to me. some type of cardio is definitely needed to keep them toned and flat though. what kind of cardio? sprinting/running, spinning, kickboxing, elliptical/treadmill, athletic training boot camps, etc. take your pick and do at least 45 min to 1hr. of cardio at a time, 3x's a week, minimum. as always, your intensity determines overall calorie burn and results.
- do core/ab exercises CORRECTLY. sigh. as an instructor, i see faulty exercise posture every. single. day. if you aren't using your abs/core to begin with, don't expect to see significant changes in them since you are getting help from other body parts! are you pulling on/with your neck? are you abusing momentum (rocking back/forth)? are you just mimicking the instructor and not focusing on YOUR abs? don't just go through the motions. listen to the instructor's cues (if you are taking a class) and focus on feeling your own abs being worked for maximum results.
- vary your exercises. look how many muscles make up your core! tons. aim to work your upper abs, lower abs, and right/left obliques. do a combo of different ab exercises to work your entire mid-section.
- water water water. water reduces bloating, aides in digestion after your meal, and flushes out those bad toxins. plus, you stay hydrated which is good for your skin and hair anyway. stop it with that sugary soda and juice and replace it with water. you can even do tea and use a natural sweetener if you just have to have a drink other than water with your meal.
6-8 hrs. of rest (preferably 8) every night. ever eaten a meal, gone to sleep, woke up, and could still feel it sitting in your tummy? such a yucky , not so great feeling. after having my little boy and enduring the every 2-3 hour breastfeeding schedule, i immediately noticed the effects it had on my body, physically. (not even gonna expand on the mental damage, lol). anyway, because i wasn't able to sleep for a period of 8 or more hours at a time for a good while, my body never really got the chance to recover fully, which means my food wasn't digesting properly. i had already lost the initial preggo fluid/water weight easily, but my weight loss came to a halt and started to creep back up again as lack of sleep also stimulates hunger. it was a vicious cycle. people are always surprised at sleep being criteria for flat abs..it's that serious. not enough rest can lead to unhealthy eating habits, less exercise, and eventually obesity.
i always had a faint linea negra, even before giving birth. it finally faded back to normal after about 5 months or so.
once you get these tips down, you will be well on your way to those flat abs. summer is almost here- get it together!!!