Who doesn’t want a beautifully sculpted, sexy stomach?! I hear it from students and clients all the time. “How do I get rid of this?” they ask, as they grab and pinch belly fat. Well I have compiled a list of what it takes to achieve that toned tummy you are longing for. If it were easy, everyone would have a shot at the cover of Fitness Magazine! But it is do-able… And YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Your first thought might be that you don’t want to “deprive” yourself of the soda and chips you love so much. But here’s the deal. You are actually depriving yourself by eating them! What I mean is that you are filling up on foods that are missing the nutrients your body needs to survive and thrive. Make this a habit and our body actually goes into starvation mode and holds onto your body fat because of it. By replacing the empty calories with nutrient-dense ones, your body gets what it wants and allows fat to be eliminated. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying never splurge, but even when you splurge, you can do it without filling yourself full of empty calories! For example, I make a killer popcorn with coconut oil on movie night. And when I get a sweet tooth, one of my favorite treats is coconut milk ice cream. Give it some time and you will never miss that chemical, fake buttered popcorn or Ben & Jerries!
2. Get in your cardio workouts.
Cardio workouts (workouts in which you have your heart rate elevated for over 30 minutes) are important in two ways. First, it’s the way to keep your heart beating strong, which keeps you alive. And second, it burns fat. Pretty simple.
Your core basically encompasses your body from your chest to your butt. Increasing your core strength means not only sculpting a sexy, toned midsection, but also strengthening your body in such a way that will improve your posture, give you stability, and prevent injuries. If focus only on your abs, you will set yourself up for bad posture, back problems, and injury. Most exercise machines take your core out of the exercise by acting as your stabilizer. This is neither functional nor efficient. Instead of doing the leg press machine for example, do squats. Instead of chest press, do push-ups (you can add weight to your back to make it more challenging! Get creative, have fun with it! Flip tires 😉 Do dumbbell rows from a plant position, so you work your back and core at the same time! For examples of exercises that utilize your core, click here.
4. Stay hydrated.
Water retention leaves us puffy and bloated. Not so helpful when your goal is a flat stomach! The most effective ways to prevent water retention are to stay hydrated with plenty of water throughout the day, keep your sodium intake low, especially iodized salt found in processed foods (I use either Celtic or Himalayan Sea Salt at home), stay away from junk food and eat whole foods with lots of fiber, and exercise.
5. Eat anti-inflammatory foods daily.
Chronic inflammation can be one of the main underlying causes of illness and premature aging. It can also cause weight gain and swelling, which is why its included on this list. But the truth of the matter is, reducing inflammation in your body can literally save your life. The good news is that there are some simple ways to prevent and treat inflammation. Eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties, while eliminating inflammation-causing foods is first and foremost. Eating a whole-foods, fiber rich, nutrient-dense vegan diet is synonymous to an anti-inflammatory diet. Processed food, refined sugar, and saturated and trans fats cause inflammation. Regular exercise is also helpful in reducing inflammation, as is avoiding allergens (such as dairy, gluten, and peanuts for some people), and managing your stress.