I think it’s pretty obvious that over the course of the past year, I’ve developed a profound love & passion for fitness! I’ve learned a thing or two along the way & today, I want to share with you some of my tips & tricks for a more defined waist & abs!
Some of us retain more weight in the midsection due to genetics & while spot-reducing fat from one specific area in the body isn’t quite possible, there are things you can do to boost overall fat loss & in turn, tone & define your body.
These are my tips based on what has worked for me! My body is NO WHERE near perfect, but I’ve come a long way since I started last July! I’m not a personal trainer & obviously, it’s always best to consult a personal trainer if you want to get really serious about your fitness goals. But this is just a little recap of some of the tips & tricks I share with friends & family when they ask me how to start getting on track with their fitness goals. I’m also not telling you to incorporate every single one of these changes overnight! Work your way up, the same way you do with anything in life & slowly but surely, your goals will start to become more realistic & attainable!
About 70% of your results are about what you put into your body. Exercise is important, but it’s not everything. Foods rich in high-quality lean protein, amino acids, collagen, fruits & veggies & healthy fats will help build muscle, boost energy & keep you fuller longer.
When it comes to carbs, you want to go for green & fibrous ones, such as broccoli, brussels, cabbage, kale, asparagus, bok choy, collard greens & stick to whole & sprouted grains! Cruciferous veggies also help optimize estrogen levels & believe it or not, hormones also play a big role when it comes to healthy weight maintenance.
REDUCE CONSUMPTION OF PACKAGED, PROCESSED, HIGH-SODIUM & REFINED SUGAR/FLOUR RICH FOODS
These foods aren’t actually REAL & our bodies were not built to digest them. They often alter the way the digestive system functions & inhibit our ability to absorb & use nutrients from the food we eat. They also lead to water retention, sugar cravings, energy slumps, highs & lows & sluggishness, all of which can hinder the progress we are looking for in the toning department.
To read more about how these foods are filled with chemicals that do more harm to the body than good & to learn more about how to read food labels, check out this post: KITK’s How To Dissect A Food Label & Top Ingredients To Run Away From In Processed & Packaged Foods a.k.a. Get That Stuff Back On The Shelf, Baby!!
High intensity interval training involves alternating periods of vigorous activity with periods of recovery. This differs from steady cardio because the heart rate is higher during the periods of intense activity than it is if you jog at the same pace for 45 minutes. Not only does this help you burn fat & more calories while exercising, but it also increases your calorie burn for a period of up to 24 hours following exercise.
Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns calories. Every body has a resting metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories when you are doing absolutely nothing. Muscle mass burns more calories at rest than fat mass because your body has to work harder to maintain muscle than it does fat. All this to say, HIIT is a very effective workout when it comes to burning fat & maximizing the rate at which your body continues to burn fat even post-workout. When it comes to any kind of workout, I always recommend to start out light and to gradually increase the load as you get stronger to keep challenging your body & to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed from the get-go.
P.S. When you’re weight-training, make sure not to use weights that are overly heavy because you don’t want to risk bulking up too much to the point where your body looks square! The goal is to build long, lean & defined muscle. I generally stick to 5lb. weights & maximum 8lb. depending on the exercise.
TARGET THE OBLIQUES/ABS
Working the obliques helps sculpt & cinch the waist, tones the abs & tightens your midsection.
Some of my fave ab exercises are:
- Bicycle crunches
- Dumbbell side bends
- Heel touchers
- Oblique crunches
- Russian twists
- Plank hip dip
- Side crunches
- Side plank hip life
P.S. It’s important to also incorporate some full-body workouts & exercises & to not ONLY target the abs/obliques, because you want the muscle & weight to distribute evenly!
I will try to get an ab workout video up for you guys in the coming weeks to show you a demonstration of all my go-to’s!
High-intensity cardio will help burn excess fat during the workout & for some time after, but lower-intensity cardio (for ex: treadmill at the same speed/incline for 45 minutes) won’t have the same effect. It’ll help burn fat during the workout, but it won’t continue as much afterwards, so it’s not the best way to optimize your goals for definition/toning.
This is not to say cardio isn’t important – not only is it a great way to burn calories efficiently & to contribute to fat burning, but it’s also a good way to build your endurance & maintain your heart health. Cardio is PART of the plan, but shouldn’t be the only thing you do. In order to reach your goals, you should combine cardio with HITT/weight training. Find your balance & don’t overdo it in either department because you don’t want to risk over training syndrome either!
Proper hydration is essential for every organ in the body to function optimally. Hydration is also the best way to flush out toxins, excess sodium, waste, radical damage & any disease-invading particles or infection that is trying to make its way into your body to wreak havoc. Making sure to stay hydrated everyday is a very easy & simple way to ensure that your body is best able to detoxify & replenish itself with healthy new cells daily, which in turn contributes to less bloat! Muscle cells also grow faster when they are well hydrated!!
To read more about the importance of hydration, click here: Hydration Is Key a.k.a. Don’t Underestimate The Power Of The Most Abundant Resource On The Planet: H2O!
I like to start my day with a full glass of lukewarm water, aloe vera, chlorophyll, lemon & sea salt! This is the first thing that goes into my body every morning & it does wonders for boosting metabolism, energy, waking my body up, detoxification & giving me just the right boost I need early AM. Put it this way, you’ve just been sleeping for anywhere between 6-8 hours & your body gets dehydrated overnight, so it’s really important to rehydrate when you wake up!
TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUT, ALWAYS. Seriously!!! A healthy gut microbiome improves your overall health. I’m sure this isn’t news to you guys, but it’s so true! The more diverse our gut bacteria is, the better shape we’ll be in! Studies have shown that people with more diverse gut bacteria have better VO2 max levels, indicating that they are in better shape than non-diverse counterparts. The more organisms in the gut, the better your overall health will be because different bacterial strains reduce inflammation, improve digestive health & reduce the risk of leaky gut syndrome. When picking a probiotic, always make sure that it has a variety of strains!
EAT SMALLER MEALS & SNACKS FREQUENTLY THROUGHOUT THE DAY
Eating smaller meals frequently throughout the day as opposed to three large ones is a great way to make sure that your metabolism stays on track, boosts metabolism & helps keep you fuller longer. This way, you also prevent yourself from ever getting to a point where you feel so starving that you’ll devour just about anything in sight without even really realizing!
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Lack of sleep may contribute to disrupting hormone levels that control the body’s ability to burn fat! Poor sleep patterns may cause muscle cells to become resistant to the hormone insulin, which may lead to fat storage around the belly area.