Blog Posts

Tips For Getting A Toned Tummy

fitness nutrition
toned tummy

Personal trainers and nutrition coaches often get asked: 'How do I get abs?', or 'How do I lose weight around my tummy?' If this is one of your goals, here are some tips that might help.

How weight loss works

If we believed the media you'd think you could lose weight in specific areas. However, when it comes to fat loss, it's like tipping water out of a bucket, you can't take water out of one part of the bucket - the water level recedes evenly.

We each have our own genetic tendencies to store fat in certain places, and these will usually be the first areas we put on weight and the last areas to lose it. Because of all this, we can't spot reduce fat from our tummy - no matter how many sit ups or crunches we do.

Nutrition is key

If you're after a toned tum, they say it's impossible to out-exercise a poor diet. You can make a good go of it, but it's hard work and in almost every case, unsustainable in the long run. This means focusing on eating a diet of quality whole foods, watching portion sizes, drinking plenty of water and eating mindfully.

Then there's the extra element of digestive health; pay attention to foods that make you feel bloated as it's a sign from your body that your gut isn't tolerating them well. Drinking plenty of water and reducing your intake of salt, alcohol and sugar may help reduce water retention.

The element of exercise

Even though nutrition is key, exercise can still play a part as it helps us to burn stored energy. Any exercise is great, but if you're going for maximum effectiveness, resistance training (such as weights or bodyweight exercises) can help you burn calories for up to 8 hours after a decent workout. It will also help build muscle which raises your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the amount of energy your body uses up while resting.

If you've had a baby - even if it was years ago - there's always a possibility of Diastasis Recti (a split in the abdominal muscles) which can contribute to a 'mum tum' appearance in the lower belly. It's thought this happens to 99% of pregnant women, in most cases it closes on its own over time, but sometimes it doesn't. A tummy split isn't as bad as it sounds and it can usually be resolved or alleviated with specific exercises - some mainstream exercises such as planks and crunches can worsen this condition, so it's a good idea to get checked.

Wellbeing & Hormones

Hormones triggered by stress can cause weight retention - especially around the belly. This is why a balanced approach across nutrition, fitness and wellbeing is important. It's also good to recognise that as women, our hormone fluctuations can greatly affect the appearance of our tums, as well as any results we're working towards; puberty, ovulation, periods, pregnancy, postnatal, perimenopause, menopause, postmenopause... sometimes we need to give ourselves permission that it's okay to not have a flat tummy and aim for inner health rather than focusing on outward appearance.

If we focus on internal health, the external stuff usually just falls into place on its own with time.

Image / DepositPhotos

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