March Break and vacation season is upon us – and before we know it, summer will have arrived, too. We all want to look our best in a bathing suit as we escape the last bit of winter, however, even if you have been working hard since January, you may be sabotaging your flat belly goals.
Bloating and water retention is a very common problem, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with a permanent pouch. There are a variety of ways that you can combat bloat and have a tighter tummy. The following are our best flat-belly tips.
Avoid Fried Foods
Have you had a friend meal and immediately seen your stomach expand into a food baby? Foods that are fried tend to be high in carbohydrates. These are also high in water and your muscles absorb them created water retention and bloat.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
Liquids like alcohol, soda pop, grab-and-go protein shakes, processed milk and even smoothies can be high in sugars, sweeteners and simple carbohydrates. If you are sensitive to chemical, these will also cause your stomach to expand when you consume too much. In
Meat and vegetables that are organically sourced have fewer chemicals, and this is good news for your belly. Why? Chemicals used as pesticides and to genetically modify food can cause bacteria to build up in your digestive track and lead to water retention, bad digestion and ultimately, bloating.
Hydration is key. If you are not properly hydrated, your body wants to store what little water it has. The average person should be drinking a minimum of eight cups of water a day. If you are active, you should aim to drink even more than this to replace fluid lost during exercise.
Incorporate Some Cardio
What happens when you sweat? Your body gets rid of toxins and water in the form of sweat. Spot toning with just strengthen exercises won’t get rid of fat. We suggest that you perform a combination of steady state cardio and high intensity cardio intervals for best results. This will help keep your stomach tight and firm.
Choose Dynamic Ab Training
You should work on really targeting and engaging your core one to two times per week. However, doing a million crunches won’t tighten your stomach alone. Try adding in planks to your regime. This works your entire core. What do we mean by core? Your abdominals, lower back and oblique’s. This will help create a tighter midsection all around.
Focus On Strength Training
Spot targeting your abs may seem like the best way to carve an elusive six-pack, but targeted ab moves will not create a tight and toned stomach alone. Did you know that one of the most effective way to train your ab muscles is with squats, which actively engage your core? Don’t skip out on leg day, and focus on dynamic strength training movements that engage multiple muscle groups at once – including your abs – without you even realizing it.
Get Adequate Sleep
Without adequate amounts of sleep, your body sends out a stress hormone called cortisol, and this hormone tells your body to store fat – especially around the mid-section. To prevent cortisol from being released in excess amounts, it’s important to get an average of six to eight hours of sleep a night.
This stress is very common and when you are stressed from life/work cortisol is also released. Try and combat this stress with mental focus, meditation or coping mechanisms. Remain calm and try not to get worked up. This takes some patience but if you don’t you can kiss your tight tummy good bye.
You can also manage cortisol by supplementation. There are many supplements that are available at your local health store that can combat stress. Such as phosphatidylserine, GABA, Omega 3, Curcumin, Rhodiola, and Ashwghanda to name a few.
Whether you implement some of these tips or all of them into your daily routine, we guarantee you will be healthier, happier, less stressed and have a tighter stomach to boot. Free yourself from bloat so you can enjoy your winter vacation into the summer.