I’ve decided to do a little feature each week called #AskLeanne so that I can get to answering some of the questions you send me.
This week I’m answering – “How can I tone my stomach?”
This is literally the number one question I get asked week after week so today I’m doing up a little blog post with my top tips.
1: What’s On Your Plate?
First and foremost – when it comes to a flat tum always remember this phrase – abs are made in the kitchen – because it is COMPLETELY true. 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, 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.
- Start main meals with a little shot of apple cider vinegar to help digestion.
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 abdominals. 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 – then deadlift.
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. I change my weights plan every 6 weeks or so depending on the goal I have set myself. 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. I also offer PT sessions and online plans so if you want to get in touch my email is: [email protected]
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 (I usually head to an unused class room – stick my headphones on and go!) Or opt for a good HIIT session! I always post a HIIT Workout Of The Week on my snap chat so make sure you are following me and add it to your weekly weights routine as your cardio day. 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. Now I’m a BIG stress head so I know how hard it is to accept the phrase “stress less” but little things could make all the difference.
- Take ‘you’ time. Set aside 10-20 minutes to light a few tealights 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!
I hope these tips help!
Love Leanne x