So you have decided to pursue the dream of achieving a flat stomach seriously? You have perhaps made up your mind to put your body through a range of punishing, but effective flat stomach exercises. Congratulations.
But is this enough?
Sorry to break the bad news, but this is only half the battle won. Whether you will succeed in your efforts to achieve a flat stomach depends considerably on your commitment to a healthy diet plan. Often people feel that if they work out hard enough, they don’t have to bother about what they eat. This could not be farther from the truth, particularly if you want to achieve a flat stomach. In fact, some experts say that achieving a flat stomach depends 80% on nutrition, 10% on exercise and 10% on genetics. Though the temptation is high, do not interpret this to mean that you can achieve a flat stomach by diet alone without exercising. This is also not true.
The truth about achieving flat stomach is to reduce the overall fat percentage in the body. This helps blast the layer of fat in the midsection area and reveal the abdominal muscles present there. The second component of flat stomach is toned and strengthened abdominal muscles.
To reduce the overall fat percentage of the body, it is necessary to limit calories intake. This can be achieved through the right diet that increases burning of calories and promotes weight loss in addition to flattening the tummy.
The second aspect – strengthening and toning the abdominal muscles can be achieved through flat stomach exercises.
Thus to achieve a flat stomach, exercise alone is not sufficient. Exercise has to be paired with the right diet.
Avoid simple carbohydrates like white bread, pasta candies and pastries, which lead to greater accumulation of fats in the body, defeating your very purpose viz – getting a flat stomach.
Replace carbohydrates with low fat (lean) proteins like egg whites, chicken, fish etc. Proteins build muscle and increase the body’s metabolism promoting greater burning of calories.
Avoid foods like legumes, broccoli, cauliflower that cause bloating and constipation. Foods rich in sodium can also cause bloating due to water retention. Keep your digestive system in top order by increasing the quantity of fibers in your diet. For instance, eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices.
Certain foodstuffs like red bell pepper (spicy food) are proven to increase the body’s metabolic rate and burn more fat. Include more such foods in your diet.
The most effective exercises for flat stomach are those which focus on stabilizing and strengthening the core muscles. These exercises build long and strong muscles and produce long term flat stomach results. Yoga and Pilates are effective for this purpose. Exercises that focus on ‘spot reduction’ do not help much.
Cardio exercises and strength training exercises that increase the metabolism and burn calories should also be part of your workout regime for achieving a flat stomach.
Thus the best flat stomach results cannot be achieved solely through exercise or solely through diet. A sensible combination of the two works best to obtain a flat stomach.