Diet and exercise tips for toning your stomach
If you've booked your next beach holiday, or simply want to improve your fitness, you may be on a mission to get a flat, toned stomach. If you regularly overindulge in sweet treats or fast-food, you'll probably find that you carry more weight around your middle.
This type of fat can be stubborn and incredibly hard to shift, but with plenty of work and dedication, it's possible. Remember though, abs don't appear overnight, so if you begin to feel frustrated don't give up.
It's all well and good regularly exercising, but if you're not eating the right foods then your hard work won't pay off. Exercise and a healthy, balanced diet go hand in hand.
Follow these tips and you'll be on your way to a flatter, more toned stomach:
Static hill climbing
You don't have to be a member of a gym to tone up. Most core strengthening exercises can be performed in the comfort of your home. It might be worth investing in a soft yoga mat though, especially if you have wood flooring.
To perform this exercise, begin in a push-up position with your hands flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, with your legs extended behind you.
Ensure your body is straight and begin to raise each leg in turn, bringing your knee up towards your chest. Think of it as though your are running or climbing up a hill.
You can do this in 30 second intervals with a ten second rest in between each.
This exercise is great for toning your lower abs and trimming your waist. Lie on your back, while propping yourself up on your forearms.
Keep your legs extended flat on the ground and raise and lower each one in turn, or both together. You should be able to feel your stomach tensing as your leg is in the air.
Protein helps to keep muscle fibres and brain chemicals in check. Along with regular exercise, incorporating protein-rich foods – such as eggs – into your balanced diet will encourage a flatter stomach.
Eggs are a great breakfast food and perfect to eat before and after your workout. Eat them poached with a slice of wholemeal toast and an avocado or try them scrambled with a dash of parsley and smoked salmon.
Calcium is essential for muscle contraction and can be found in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. Consuming such vegetables can help to fuel your workouts.
As well as having a low calorie count, they're also highly versatile, meaning you can add them to salads, soups and stir-fries.