“How can I tone my stomach?’ This is definitely the question I get asked most on social media. Here are my six tips to tone your tummy!
1: Abs are made in the kitchen
First and foremost – when it comes to a flat tum always remember this phrase – abs are made in the kitchen. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet so no matter how many times you hit the gym you won’t see a change if your diet isn’t on point. It really is massively down to what’s on your plate. Many of us are great to workout but it’s the self-control outside the gym that is central to achieving that toned stomach. It sounds dull but leafy greens, green veg, lean meat, fish, eggs, whole-grains, water and healthy fats eaten often throughout the day will all go a long way to helping you get what you are looking for. A few added tips:
⁃ Be consistent with your meals – don’t skip meals.
⁃ Eat 5-6 small meals a day
⁃ Be aware of the foods you are taking in and what nutritional values they have.
⁃ Drink plenty of water
⁃ Get to know the foods that don’t work for you, that cause you bloating or discomfort.
2: Less Crunches, More Deadlifts
This is something I tell clients time and time again. Sit Ups and Crunches are not the way to build strong abdominal muscles. Sure they can help wake the abs “pop” a little more but the way to build your abs is through larger compound moves. My favourite is the deadlift. If you are challenging yourself with deadlifts you are doing far more for a toned tummy than hundreds of abs exercises. Build a solid core through compound moves and add a few abs exercises to really feel and see the difference. My bottom line here is – if you want to see a tighter toned tummy, you need to be building a strong core.
3: Lift Weights
Making sure your day-to-day gym routine involves a solid weights plan will go a long way to carving out those abs you are looking for. Squats, deadlifts and core exercises are all major contributors to gaining that toned tum and change it up every 6-8 weeks or so – challenge the body a little more. If you are new to the gym or unsure how to start with exercising with weights – ask the staff for help. There is no shame in learning something new.
4: Ramp Up Your Cardio
Don’t just plod away on the treadmill for 30 minutes – challenge yourself. Introduce intervals into your cardio sessions. Go hard for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds then repeat. Be inventive. Get off the treadmill once in a while and pick up a skipping rope, find a good hill to run sprints, set up a mini circuit in a quiet area of the gym. You can also opt for a #Finisher at the end of each weights session in the week. I always post mine on my Instagram so make sure you are following me (Leannemoorefitness) and add it to your weekly weights routine. Remember if it doesn’t challenge you – it doesn’t change you.
5: Stress Less
That’s easier said than done I hear you say. The trouble with stressing is that if causes our bodies to release cortisol – a hormone that can unfortunately hinder weight loss and keep stubborn body fat around. And guess what part of the body is loaded with cortisol receptors? Yep your tummy. Here are a few things to try:
⁃ Take ‘you’ time. Set aside 10-20 minutes to light a few tea-lights and have a bath, read a book or just sit with your own thoughts. Put down the phone and switch off.
⁃ Take a Yoga or Pilates class. Not all gym sessions have to be about “wrecking yourself”. Taking even one calmer class per week will go a long way to offering a bit of “you” time. (And you’ll probably find it’s your toughest session of the week!!)
⁃ Exercise. The gym is a big stress buster!
⁃ Sit and have breakfast when you can. Start your day right! I try to do this at least three mornings of the week. “The success of ones day is determined by their ability to have a leisurely breakfast!” Now I swear by it!
6: It’s not all about abs
I feel I should point this out at the end of this section. I used to be obsessed with having abs and as I grew older I began to realise that abs don’t make you happy. Sure it’s ok to want to tone your tummy, but your bigger goal should always be – to be healthy, happy and confident in the skin you are in. And that is so much more than having a 6-pack. Eat well, move more, do the best you can for you.
I hope you liked this little post, don’t forget to follow me on social media for more tips on training!