I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked on the gym floor “What are the best ab exercises to help me tone my stomach?” or, “How many sets of oblique crunches should I do to get rid of these love handles?”.
I’m here to tell you the unfortunate news that you can do 500 crunches a day for a month straight and it’s still not going to get you the 6 pack you so badly desire!
First of all, let be begin by saying I’d rather have my clients build their core strength on a more functional base rather than put them in spinal flexion for 100 reps and then risk having them complain about a stiff lower back the next day.
Secondly, and most importantly when it comes to a flat, tight abdomen, it’s all about your calorie consumption!
Without going into too much detail (look out for my calorie blog), we all have a certain number of calories that we burn each week (or day) depending on our gender, age, height, weight and the amount of physical movement we do during the day/week. Once we start to consume more calories than we actually burn during the week, we are in a calorie surplus. Once you are in a calorie surplus, you are going to start putting on excess (sorry to say) fat. Start to put on excess fat, it’s essentially going to cover your “abs”.
Yes, obviously if we are looking to lose excess fat, we want to be in a calorie deficit. However, we need to be careful not to be in too much of a deficit to cause starvation and then go on a binge.
Here are my tips to a flat, toned stomach:
- Work out your daily expenditure of calories
- Seek advice from a trained professional on how much of calorie deficit you should on
- Lift weights, the more muscle we have, the more calories our body is able to burn
- Stick to functional core training – planks, push ups etc.
- Make sure your “diet” is sustainable. Enjoy what you are eating and avoid going on a binge because you starved yourself all week.