You want to slim down and get that flat stomach. So, you opt for what many others do in your situation: hit the gym and hire a trainer to help you reach your goals. And, while this is infinitely better than doing nothing at all, it does come with some drawbacks.
You see, not all trainers are created equal. Sadly, many lack foundational fitness and nutrition knowledge. And those that are up to speed simply don’t have time to fully educate you during your 30 or 60-minute session. As such, this article will fill in a few gaps and lay out 6 flat stomach secrets your trainer is probably not telling you.
Secret #1: Diet is 80% of the game when it comes to a trim midsection. No amount of exercise can make up for poor eating habits. If you eat the wrong foods, it won’t matter how hard you hit the gym. You’ll never have a small waistline.
In fact, not only will junk food prevent you from losing weight, it can cause you to gain it – especially while on a training program. Working out increases appetite. Naturally, you end up eating more. So, more food of the wrong kind will only make your belly bigger. As such, make sure your diet is on point.
Secret #2: Abdominal exercises are not the ticket to a flat stomach. While situps and crunches do tone your midsection, they won’t help much in shrinking it down. Furthermore, too many of these isolation exercises can make things worse.
Stick to compound, full body exercises instead: squats, deadlifts, and cleans. These recruit a large amount of muscle fibers and strengthen your core like nothing else. The end result is a faster metabolism that sheds fat both inside the gym and out. Resistance training is the true ticket to a trim tummy. And this flies in the face of conventional wisdom covered next.
Secret #3: Long cardio sessions can lead to a fat – rather than a flat – stomach.
The idea of sweating on the treadmill like a hamster in order to lose weight is as old as time. But these long (and boring) cardio sessions are highly counter-productive. In fact, if you want to stay lean and mean, keep your workouts short: no longer than 45 minutes and definitely don’t cross the hour mark.
Too much time in the gym is a big stress on your body. This causes the release of cortisol which is notorious for breaking down muscle and storing belly fat. As such, swap your jog for a fast sprint. No only will you finish faster but preserve lean mass too. And over time, this will do wonders for your midsection.
Secret #4: Get enough sleep!
When it comes to weight loss we instinctively focus on diet and exercise. But did you know that sleep also plays a big role in the process? Not getting enough Z’s can make it extremely difficult for you to burn off fat. That’s because, just like long exercise sessions, this causes you to release more cortisol. Not only that, but skimping on sleep for just a few night in a row can also lead to insulin resistance. Now you’re really stepping into belly fat building territory.
So, take this secret to heart and get enough sleep. Turn off the tube, put away your iPad, and hit the sheets. Your stomach will thank you for it.
Secret #5: Avoid the bloat.
Bloating can make your stomach look fat even if it really isn’t. And it’s a real shame because trimming down your midsection is no easy feat. As such, make sure to avoid the things that push your belly out. Processed foods high in sodium are notorious for doing this. You’re probably aware of that.
But did you know gum without sugar can have a similar effect? That’s because the artificial sweeteners (sugar alcohols) used to replace it are not digestible. This leads to gas filling up your belly that makes it look big and stick out.
And this ties in directly with the final secret…
Secret #6: Keep your digestion humming with fibrous foods.
Fiber plays a key role in the weight loss process. I think everyone can agree with that. However, when it comes to the source of that fiber, opinions differ greatly. Most people recommend you get it from whole grains. Personally, I think you should avoid them like the plague.
Stick to veggies and fruits. They’re much more nutritious and won’t fatten you up. And if you doubt that whole grains lead to weight gain, take a moment to think about this. What are cows fed to make them grow faster? If you guessed grains, you’re absolutely right. Now, if whole grains are making cows fatter, what do you think they’re doing to you?
So, there you have it. These tips are simple to follow but effective nonetheless. And combined with the fundamentals, they’ll help you get that flat stomach – faster than you ever thought possible.
Now, get to it!