If you are motivated to improve your fitness levels and reduce your body-fat, here are some tips to get on track. Remember that diet and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to lowering your body-fat and creating a flat tummy, so take a dual approach to get the best results.
- Perform a balanced strengthening routine three times each week. Muscle is the body’s most efficient calorie burner. It’s what helps us get and maintain a flat tummy, but after the age of thirty, we lose approximately a half a pound of muscle per year. The good news is that working out can help to reverse this process! If you want to know if you are gaining or losing muscle, a body-fat test can provide great insight. If you start working out and your weight does not change, do not lose hope, you could still be losing fat. For a 160lb person, if your body-fat goes down five percent and your weight stays the same, that would still indicate a substantial fat loss of eight pounds. This is the reason why many health professionals remind you not to place too much emphasis on the scale!
- Change your workouts regularly. This is a very important tip: if you find yourself performing the same exercises each workout you will quickly reach a plateau. Our bodies can be quite good at adapting to the stresses we put on it, so if you don’t continually change exercises your body will adapt which will make it difficult to reach your goals. At minimum, try changing your workouts each month. Another option is to have a handful of workouts that you rotate so you are not doing the same exercises each time.
If you are hesitant to try new exercises because you are unsure of proper exercise technique, don’t hesitate to ask a fitness professional for advice. It is important to have good technique to ensure you are targeting the correct muscles and to avoid injury.
- Make small and healthy nutritional changes. One of the most common nutritional mistakes when trying to achieve a flat tummy is change too much at once. Not only is it unnecessary in order to get great results, quick and dramatic changes are almost always short-lived. Extreme diets that drastically lower calories may help you shed weight in the short term, but they usually have the opposite long term effect, that is why they are often referred to as “Yo-Yo Diets”. A healthy long term approach is to make one small change at a time. For instance, eliminating foods that are high in sugar is a great start. It is also effective to focus on limiting fluids that contain sugar. If you follow this up by limiting your portions by 10% you are likely to get progressive and noticeable changes that you can maintain.
Also, don’t forget to read labels so you know what you are putting in your body. Often sauces and garnishes are very high in fat and sodium, sabotaging your flat tummy by increasing bloat and weight gain. It is also healthy to focus on increasing your water intake. Be sure to contact your doctor before starting a new workout or nutrition plan.
Shaun Karp is a certified personal trainer. For further information call his office at 604-420-7800 or visit their web site www.karpfitness.com.