A small waist and a tight tummy says a lot about how seriously you take your health and fitness. But there’s much more to it than thousands of sit-ups. Here’s exactly how to get the shape you want − in less time!
A tight waist is one of the best signs of a lean, healthy body. So why is it one of the toughest things to achieve? If you spend more than 5 minutes “training abs,” you’re doing it wrong. Here are 9 ways to cut your workout time and actually get better abs than before!
1. Shed some body fat
Abs are made in the kitchen. All that means is that body fat levels make a big difference when you want a smaller waist. If you feel as though you have a thick waist or puffy tummy, focus on dropping a bit of body fat. Just a small reduction can make a big difference to the size and shape of your waist.
2. Create a (slight) calorie deficit
Don’t suddenly slash your calories, cut out foods, or change your entire way of eating. All you need is a small calorie deficit every day. The best way to achieve this is to work out your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) and track your food so that you know the deficit. You won’t need to do this forever, but it’s a good way to understand calories in/calories out.
3. Get stress under control
Bet you didn’t expect me to start talking about your personal life in an article about abs! But the truth is, life stresses have a negative effect on how your body stores fat, especially around your tummy. It’s all to do with a hormone called cortisol. Our bodies pump out cortisol in response to any perceived stress. Find ways to reduce or control stress, and you’re likely to sleep better, snack less, and reach for fewer comfort food options. Plus your hormones will be doing their thing to flatten your stomach.
4. Prioritise sleep
Sleep is free, enjoyable, and available to all of us − so why do we resist it? Can you get more good quality sleep on a regular basis? Better sleep helps you lose weight, shed body fat, and flatten your stomach (remember that stress hormone, cortisol!). Plus if you’re well-rested, you’re more likely to exercise, get your daily steps in, and make better food choices. Sleep is key to a healthy, lean body.
5. Train your deep core muscles
Finally, she starts talking about training! Training is one part of having a tight waist, but it’s not actually that important. Your entire core gets trained during other movements, both in and out of the gym. Plus ab training doesn’t burn a lot of calories. But core training is important, because it strengthens your back and helps build a strong posture. Ditch the crunches. Start doing core training like planks, superman holds, leg/knee raises, and lower ab work.
6. Work your posterior chain
Your posterior chain is the entire back of your body, from your neck to your heels. Keeping it strong means a better posture, flatter stomach and nicer waistline! So don’t neglect your posterior chain. Train it with a range of back exercises, including deadlifts (if you can do them safely), hyper-extensions, kettlebell swings, good mornings, and glute bridges.
7. Think about your posture
This quick-fix will instantly improve the look of your waist in any clothing! Stand up straight, think about sliding your shoulder blades together and down, keep your chest up, and gently hold your tummy in. Pay attention to your posture all the time, even when you’re sitting, standing, and walking. It will translate to a better core over time.
8. Drink more water
Be honest, do you really drink enough water every day? Active people should drink at least 2 liters (more if it’s warm or if you train that day). Drinking enough water will help flatten your stomach by giving your digestive system a helping hand. More water means better nutrient absorption, less bloating, and a flatter stomach. Start the day with a glass of water, keep a water bottle with you throughout the day, and drink water or herbal tea in the evening. It’s easy once you get into the habit.
9. Get your diet in check
You don’t need to go to extremes. Small changes and good habits are far more important than any crazy fads. Healthy eating habits help your body drop excess body fat, and flatten your tummy. Eat more vegetables, salads, fruit, and berries. They’re packed with nutrients and fiber. And they’re filling − lots of volume for not many calories. Make sure you eat enough lean protein for your body weight. Keep an eye on portion sizes. Keep it healthy, natural, and simple 80% of the time, and you’ll see the difference!
No crunches at all?
You can carry on doing your regular ab exercises if you like. But remember that your core is like any other set of muscles. You are likely to gain some mass if you train your abs with resistance. The best way to get a better hourglass shape is to focus on nutrition, hydration, and stress management. Your natural shape is waiting to be revealed!
Till next time − stay healthy and have fun!