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How to Get Flat, Sexy Abdominals

Updated on February 19, 2008

Weightlifting adds muscle, which burns the fat.


Being a physical therapist who also has a Pilates and personal training business, I frequently get clients who think that the key to getting flat, sexy abdominals, is to simply take Pilates classes once or twice a week and then do a bunch of cardio. The truth is, it doesn't work that way. Achieving flat, sexy abodminals takes planning and hard work, plain and simple.

Here are 5 tips you can do to get your flattest abdominals ever:

1. Work On Your Nutrition. Your diet is 80% of the equation; the rest is proper exercise, getting sufficient sleep and managing your stress (more on these topics later). What good does it do if you've got rock hard abs but a thick layer of fat lying right on top of the muscle? Get off of the latest fad diet and use these general guidelines to get lean:

- Eat every 3 hours and incoporate some lean protein and complex carbohydrates. Incorporate "good fats" into your diet, including fish oil, avocado, flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil.

- Make sure to eat the least processed foods possible. If you don't know what the ingredients are, you probably don't want to eat it! Sugar and highly processed foods are the main culprits of our obese society.

- Watch your portion sizes. Most restaurant-style servings are big enough for three people. Scale back and measure your food so that you know how much food comprises one serving.

- Chew your food thoroughly to allow maximum absorption of the nutrients and to allow your body to feel satiety.

-Avoid reading, watching television or doing anything else except eating when you're eating your meals! How many times have you wondered, "What did I just eat?" or "I'm still hungry, but I just ate a full meal!"? When you eat, pay attention to what you're putting into your mouth: Feel every sensation; be aware of the textures of the food; smell the aroma and be thankful and have gratitude when you eat. You'll find you'll enjoy your meals more and eat a lot less!

2. Drink Enough Water. Depending on your body size, your water requirements will vary. In general, you need .8 ounces of water per pound of bodyweight. Being properly hydrated is imporant for your internal regulation of all your bodily processes, fat burning, temperature regulation, and even hunger. Oftentimes, if you are not properly hydrated, you will substitute food for lack of water. Sufficient water intake can help curb your food cravings.

3. Exercise Intensity is Key. New studies are coming out that show interval-type training, which utilizes brief periods of intense spurts of exercise, burn more calories and provide a prolonged fat-burning effect.

4. Incorporate Weight Lifting Into Your Program. People think that long bouts of cardiovascular exercise is going to get them lean and ripped. Unfortunately, people don't exercise intensely enough and oftentimes experience repetitive motion injuries from this type of exercise.

Weight lifting with proper intensity builds muscle, which, in addition to toning your body, stimulates your metabolism to help burn calories and fat.

Some exercise tips:

- Pull your navel to your spine with all of your exercises.

- Do exercises that involve major muscle groups, like squats, lunges, push-ups, etc. You'll work more muscles, get an intense workout, burn more calories and get done with your workout faster. What type of plan could be better?

- Do you know that doing 100s of crunches will eventually cause postural problems (forward head, concave chest, humpback) and neck/low back pain? Contrary to popular belief, this may be one of the worst exercises you can do for yourself! I'll write another Hub Page to dispel abdominal training myths.

5. Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep. Get seven to eight hours every night. The recovery portion of your workout (yes, this means sleep) is a very important aspect of your program. In addition to repairing our muscular system and rejuvenating the body, sufficient sleep decreases the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for appetite control and fat storage around the abdomen, so you can see why it's important to get your beauty sleep!


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      msmirastrology 8 years ago

      Sometimes getting enough sleep can be a challenge, especially when you have young kids haha. But we have to try when we can. Thanks for the insightful hub.

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      Racerx12345 8 years ago

      @waschbrettbauch: Thanks very much for your praises!

      @paintlandscape: Yes; I completely agree with you that it's important to work opposing muscle groups. It's crazy how much money the U.S. spends for neck and back pain (billions), when all that's needed is a little education on simple changes one can make to prevent it!

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      Teri 8 years ago

      Believe it or not, naps do count for sleep! 20 minutes during the day is sufficient, and try not to nap in the later part of the day, or else you might find yourself unable to go to sleep during your regular bedtime!

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      paintlandscape 8 years ago

      Couldn't agree more when it comes to crunches. I always advocate doing back exercises when training abs. Working one muscle group without working the opposing group always leads to postural problems.


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      waschbrettbauch 8 years ago

      Wonderful information! I think one who follows the instructions as well will never face problem of fatty abdomen. Certainly, we all should avoid highly processed food to get rid of fatty abdominal. The five tips to get flattest abdomen are quite praiseworthy. Thanks!

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      DeerFeederHelper 9 years ago

      Do naps count towards adequate sleep?