Q. Glen, How Can I Flatten My Tummy?
A. "Endless abdominal machines, crunch boards, sit-up devices and tortuous torso routines promise flat bellies and chiseled abs. Hardly a one of them works worth a damn, mainly because their makers show little understanding of human anatomy.”
How does one achieve a tight and flat stomach? Is there a human being on the planet who doesn’t want to know the answer to this question? I see articles all the time that discuss abdominal exercises, infomercials that make false promises about a machine that will give you abs to die for and 10,000 other diet aids and gadgets that never tell you the truth.
Having studied human anatomy, nothing disgusts me more than watching one of those dumb ab machine infomercials make promises that their product will give a person a flat stomach. A lying abdominal machine will not give you a flat stomach, a seated abdominal machine will not give you a flat stomach and 1,000 crunches per day will not give you a flat stomach.
I’m here to tell you the truth.
There will be work to do on your part, but I’ll provide the basic formula for achieving the look you’ve always thought was reserved for other people. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 70. This formula works for everyone.
Here then is my eight-point plan to get tight abs and a flat mid-section:
1. NUTRITION: This is the most important component to achieving a flat stomach. Nothing is more important than food.
First, you’ll need to control blood sugar levels in order to lose body fat. This is best accomplished by consuming four to six meals per day. Don’t mistake the definition of a meal for a six-course extravaganza. A meal might be an egg white omelet (with vegetables) and oatmeal with some blueberries in it, chicken with one-half cup of rice and a large salad with some oil and vinegar, an apple with a scoop of protein powder or cottage cheese with some fruit.Get the picture? I’m referring to them as meals, but they’re actually feedings. Each of the meals is comprised of protein, a little carbohydrate and a little fat. In some cases, the fat is built into the protein. In other cases, it’s added to the meal.
2. RATIOS: It’s unlikely that you’ll get tight abs and a flat stomach by consuming 80 percent of your calories from carbohydrates. Ratios can vary quite a bit, but consuming more than 55 percent of your calories from carbohydrate will not be optimal for fat loss. Many people do quite well on extremely low carbohydrate plans and others on more moderate plans. As long as you follow the no more than 55 percent of calories from carbohydrate rule, you’ll be at a good starting point.
3. TIMING: I realize four to six meals sounds like a lot, but you must keep in mind that the body is always seeking to store body fat. It (the body) doesn’t care if you want to lose fat. In fact, your body would prefer to keep fat in order to accomplish its number one goal of keeping you alive in case of a future famine or drought.
Always consider the body from the inside out and not the other way around. In order to control blood sugar, eat every two to three hours throughout the day. When using the most effective nutrient ratios, this helps to control blood sugar (which, in turn, assists in body fat loss).
It’s important that you find maintenance calories first. Maintenance represents the amount of food you consume without any change in your weight. This will take some experimentation and some effort. You’ll also need to document your foods: total calories as well as grams of protein, carbohydrates and fats.
Sounds like a lot of work? Yes, it is! However, you only have to do a few weeks of hard work. After that, you’ll have your personal formula for success.
5. SLIGHT CALORIC DEFICIT: After you have found maintenance, simply reduce your calories by 200. Our goal is to have you eating as much as possible and still losing fat and retaining muscle. I don’t want you eating as little as possible (thereby slowing the metabolism and losing valuable muscle tissue).The first week, you may lose 4-6 pounds of water. After the first week, you should only lose about 1.5 pounds per week. The goal is to preserve muscle and make your body a metabolic inferno. If you’re not losing up to 1.5 pounds per week (it will fluctuate week to week), then reduce calories by another 100. Then, monitor your progress after one week. You’ll probably be right on track.
6. CONSISTENCY: You’ll need to be on this nutrition program six days a week with one day being somewhat of a cheat day. Unlike many, I’m not a big fan of the "cheat" day. I find that people tend to use it as an excuse to gorge themselves.
So, on Sunday for example, you’re allowed to have some pizza, a bit of ice cream, etc. But nothing extreme! When you pig out, blood sugar levels can be elevated for seven hours or more. This will absolutely halt your body fat loss and actually backfire.
7. WEIGHT TRAIN: At this point, you should be aware of the importance of resistance training. Just three to four workout sessions lasting no more than 35 minutes to an hour will do the trick. For every pound of muscle on your body, you’ll burn 30-50 additional calories per day.
Part of your program should include abdominal exercises to strengthen and build the abs. That way, when you achieve your low body fat level, your abs will be tight.
By the way, there is one great movement to help pull the stomach inwards; however, I’ll cover that in a future abdominal exercise article. I have to give you some reason to come back, right?
8. CARDIOVASCULAR EXERCISE: Perform three to five days per week of moderate cardio exercise for approximately 30-40 minutes. During two of the days, you can exercise at a higher intensity level to accelerate fat loss -- but, only if you reach a sticking point. If you’re a beginner, then remember to increase gradually.
Do this consistently, keep adjusting calories SLIGHTLY (with the help of our nutrition support staff and the specific nutrition program you selected from the site) and change your routine every three to four weeks. You will get a flatter stomach!
Is this easy? No, it’s not easy. That’s why so few people have flat and tight abs. Is it fulfilling when you achieve your goal of a flatter stomach? Definitely! As in most cases in life, the things we want and desire usually take some degree of sacrifice. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds to lose or 100 pounds, the formula works. So, how bad do you want it?
Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program.Please consult your physician !
Wishing You Great Health!
Any questions? Ask Glen