You don’t need to do a thousand crunches to get a flatter stomach.
In fact, doing this is probably a waste of time and has no real benefit. There are a lot of misconceptions about having a flat stomach and getting abs. For some people, their abs show up very easily. For me personally, I store fat in my stomach and hips, so it is much harder for my abs to show. Everyone can introduce steps in their daily routine to reduce bloat and help flatten the stomach. I have stopped caring so much about whether or not my stomach looks perfect, and instead I focus more on feeling good and proper nutrition. By doing this, my stomach has become more flat naturally, without doing a million crunches or long cardio sessions. Here are some of the best tips that have worked for me when trying to get a flatter stomach:
1. Drink a TON of water.
You probably hear this all the time, but that is because it is one of the best things you can do for your body. Drinking lots of water will help flatten the stomach because the body can flush out everything much faster, and it also helps the body perform all the everyday functions more efficiently. If you are dehydrated, your stomach will look bloated and not flat because it is retaining salt. This is why after a hot yoga session, your abs are more likely to show because you just flushed out lots of salt and retention from your body. If drinking water is boring to you, I recommend adding some lemon slices, orange slices, or lime slices.
2. Focus on full body compound exercises.
A lot of people think that doing thousands of crunches will give them abs, but this is so far from the truth. Do more full body movements that engage all your muscle groups, because these also engage the core as well. You will be burning more calories, even after you finish doing them because these exercises require full body engagement. Examples of full body compound movements include deadlifts, squats, chest presses, and lunges. Lifting heavy does NOT make you bulky, instead it will make you leaner and more defined.
3. Nutrition is key.
You cannot expect to have a flatter stomach if you are eating like crap. Tons of salt, processed food, and sugary junk all lead to bloat, water retention, and fat accumulation. We want to do the opposite when trying to get a flatter stomach. Focus on eating tons of fruits and vegetables. These are detoxifying to the body and all the vitamins, minerals, and fiber will help flush everything out and lean out the stomach. Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, almond butter and avocado are also excellent to include in a balanced diet. Fat does not make you fat. Processed junk does.
4. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol leads to dehydration, and dehydration leads to bloating, which is the opposite of having a flat stomach. If you drink, try to moderate your alcohol consumption. Having a glass of wine or two is fine with dinner, but binge-drinking wrecks havoc on the body. Try substituting things such as kombucha for alcohol, which is a probiotic. This leads perfectly to the next point…
5. Focus on probiotics and prebiotics.
Take a probiotic supplement everyday. Try to get a high quality probiotic, meaning it must be refrigerated and contains a diverse range of strains. If you do not want to take a pill, probiotics can also be found in kombucha, cultured yogurt, sauerkraut, and apple cider vinegar. Prebiotics are food for the probiotics, and are equally important to include. Prebiotics are found in raw garlic, raw onion, banana, apples, leeks and flaxseed. Having a healthy gut is critical for having good digestion. When the digestive system is working properly, the body can eliminate toxins efficiently, and therefore the stomach will appear flatter.
I am not trying to say that you need to have a flat stomach to be attractive. I personally feel my best when my stomach looks tighter and more defined. These are tips that anyone can apply that do not require doing a thousand sit-ups or starving yourself. When you start to incorporate daily lifestyle changes and make it a habit to eat well everyday, then you will naturally start to notice your stomach getting flatter along the way. It’s not a race or a competition. When you treat the body holistically, everything else falls into place. Remember you cannot spot-reduce a specific area. When you begin training smart and doing exercise you love, then your body will start to become more shapely and defined overall, not just in one specific area.
Here is a quick ab circuit. I am doing side planks, bird dog crunches, and hanging leg raises. Do 3 sets of 20 reps to feel a good burn in your core. These movements engage all of the core, not just one section, which is why I really love adding them into my routine.