Thank you to everyone who emailed their questions for our new Health & Fitness contributor Dal! An overwhelming number of you asked how to get a more toned, tighter tum - a common problem evidently! Over to you Dal...
Cardio heats up your core temperature and improves circulation. I recommend doing exercises such as interval cardio training. Thirty minutes of cardio will get you further than 30 minutes of crunches on the floor! To burn off the layer of fat that's hiding your muscles, just doing crunches and sit ups will NOT do the trick.
Weight training exercises
Weight and strength training will improve your muscular tone as well as increase your metabolism, so you'll burn calories faster over time. Vary your exercises to work the entire abdominal region separately and combine different workouts. Crunches work the upper abdomen, leg raises work the lower abdomen, and side bends work the obliques (love handles). To make it more challenging try adding weights to your routine. You could also try Yoga and Pilates, which improves posture and strengthens the core.
No amount of exercise will get you a flatter stomach if your diet is bad. Focus on eating healthy food and cut down on junk food and sugar. Sugar increases insulin production, which slows down your metabolism. It also encourages fat storage around your middle. A diet rich in protein will help reduce overall belly fat. Cut out refined carbs like white bread, pasta, potatoes, and white rice and switch to wholegrain bread and grains. Try eating more raw food too as they take longer to digest and will keep you fuller for longer.
Drink more water
Replace soft drinks and sugared drinks with water. The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks causes gas and slows down the process of the stomach emptying itself, which can lead to bloating. I recommend drinking fresh lemon water - this naturally speeds up your metabolism and makes a very refreshing, healthy drink.
Cut down on salt
Salt can lead to bloating in the belly. If you're worried your food will taste bland then garnish it with herbs and spices, or try flavouring it with a little fresh tomato salsa or cayenne pepper - which boosts metabolism. If you must use salt then opt for natural sea salt as it's lower in sodium than traditional table salt. Also, steer clear of all soy sauces, these are high in sodium.
Anxiety can produce extra Cortisol – a stress hormone. Cortisol encourages the body to store fat, particularly around the stomach. According to researchers at Yale University, your mid-section is four times as likely as the rest of your body to store stress-induced fat. An increase in stress levels can also make us more likely to reach for fattening foods.
Yours in health & fitness
Health and Fitness Coach at www.bodyperfectpt.com
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