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Want flat abs? Make over your diet

Regain that flat stomach by doing abdominal exercises.

Regain that flat stomach by doing abdominal exercises.Credit: geotrac,

Articles have a tendency to wrap up six-pack abs and abdominal exercises in one big, pretty bow, but that's not how it works. Any article that says you can get abs without mentioning a change in your nutritional program missed a huge factor. No doubt, you can have strong abs whether you're skinny or overweight, but you will never see a smooth, hard abdominal area without proper nutrition. If you want the skinny on your abs, here it is.

It takes more than exercise

Your abs will become stronger if you do the exercises correctly, but no amount of sit ups, crunches, twists, vacuums or reverse crunches will bring out your abs. The stronger your rectus abdominal, oblique and transverse abdominal become, the more support your spinal column receives. Though beneficial, it will not show your abs if you have a high body fat content. You should not stop doing abdominal exercises, but you should add these exercises to a nutrition and weight training program.

Calorie reduction

Begin your nutrition program by eating smaller, more frequent meals or smaller calorie counts. Although I don't necessarily suggest calorie counting, some people have difficulties watching their food otherwise. Find out how many you are allotted for the day before you lower your calories. Cutting back too much of your food without knowing your caloric intake is dangerous if it's too low.

Do the math

There are many programs and equations available to help with calorie counting. Determine the calories it takes to maintain your body weight, then deduct calories to lose roughly one pound a week. Also, remember these equations do not consider the amount of muscle you may already have, so alter the numbers accordingly.

Changing up the diet

Begin with small steps if you have never regulated your food. Begin by writing everything you eat in a food log for one week. Jot down the times you eat, as well. Study this food log and make note of the most important changes you must make immediately. Does your log show that you are skipping meals? Are you binging at night? Are you eating foods high in saturated fat? Do you consume enough water? Are your meals mainly comprised of boxed or canned food items? These are all very important questions to help you change your nutrition program.

Consistency is the key

Consistently eat meals and plan to eat smaller portions that include a fat, carbohydrate and protein in each meal. There are diets such as the Keto diet, which excludes entire food groups for a length of time, but it's best to eat each macronutrient. Also, realize that you have to eat to lose weight. Small meals throughout the day will keep your metabolism fueled to burn more calories.

Keep working out

Your nutrition, paired with a weight training program, is the best way to get a flat stomach. Unless you are a fitness athlete, there's no need to train every day. Try several weight training sessions a week with two or three cardio sessions, and increase it when you feel comfortable. Don't go crazy with sessions that are hours long; it's not necessary. Combine half-hour intervals of weight training with a good nutritional program, and you'll see the abs you've been developing.



Other articles by Lisa White:

Reducing the baby pooch

Three benefits of using a spotter

5 best ways to ruin your personal training career

Read more from Yahoo! Contributor Network on Shine »


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