The majority of women cite their stomach as their most self-conscious area. For many, it seems that no matter how many crunches you do, your abs look the same day in and day out. However, some of that might be because the old adages that you’ve been following have been proven wrong. Keep on reading on to find out what the latest research says you should do in your quest for a flatter midsection.
Abs are sculpted in the gym, but made in the kitchen. Your workout routine is vital for sculpting your abs, but don’t neglect your diet. Nuts contain healthy monosaturated fats. Whether your preference is almonds, walnuts, or cashews, just make sure that you watch your portion sizes, as nuts are dense in calories. Greek yogurt is a great snack option, and can even serve as a nutritional breakfast. The way Greek yogurt is processed leaves it with a higher protein content than conventional yogurt. It’s also a good source of probiotics, which is vital in maintaining a healthy gut environment. Beans contain a hefty dose of protein, which will keep you fuller for longer so you’re less likely to reach for that candy bar when the mid-day hunger cravings start. They are also full of filling fiber, which also helps to keep you fuller for longer.
Hit the iron. If you’re a cardio bunny, consider adding strength training and resistance training to your workouts. Contrary to popular belief, women will not get bulky when they lift weights because their bodies simply do not contain enough testosterone to allow them to do so. Lifting weights adds lean muscle mass, which takes up less room that fat mass. The more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate is, which means that your body is more effective at burning calories even when you are not exercising.
Ditch the “100 crunches a day rule”. Crunches are bad for your lower back and also puts unnecessary strain on your neck. Instead, do plank variations since they are more effective. There are numerous variations that are out there: side plank, regular plank, reverse plank, the chaturanga plank, the list goes on.
If you are someone who goes to the gym regularly without breaking a sweat, consider switching up your routine! Whether it’s adding more reps, trying a new machine, or signing up for a different group exercise class, break out of your normal cycle. When your body gets used to a certain workout routine, it will stop working as effectively, which is often when people start seeing plateaus. Tricking your body by changing your routine will help it burn more calories.
Integrate HIIT into your weekly repertoire, or High Intensity Interval Training. This is not recommended more than two or three times a week, as its intensity level requires the user to allow their body to fully rest in between sessions in order to get the full benefits from the next workout. It is a type of interval training that alternates short bursts of intense anaerobic movements with less intense periods of recovery. It’s a type of cardiovascular exercise that is better at improving cardiovascular fitness, glucose metabolism, and fat burning than steady state cardio. Though it’s not as effective as weight lifting for building muscle, it does shed away the fat so that you can see your muscles underneath better.
Get your shuteye. Lack of sleep can cause you to gain weight because it increases your appetite, leaves you with less energy and motivation to go to the gym, and to make poorer choices overall. When you’re tired, you’re more likely to reach for that bag of potato chips instead of that bag of carrots and hummus. Suffering from sleep deprivation is a vicious cycle which can quickly lead to overall poor lifestyle paths. Lack of sleep also decreases your metabolism, which sabotages your weight loss efforts even further.