How Can I Tone up my Tummy?

This is one of the questions I get asked all the time. Get more toned… We use this term all the time and we know what we what to see, but what “exactly” do we mean?

In general, it is a combination of two aspects:

  1. Low body fat
  2. Stronger, bigger muscles

In order to get a toned tummy, it stands to reason that we should target both aspects. So here are my top tips for toning up that mummy tummy…

Decrease Body Fat = Flat tummy priority #1

  • Diet: The saying goes “you make your abs in the kitchen”…  So if you’re working out but not seeing the results in your waistline, then you need to look at your diet. High carbs and high sugars are your abs’ worst enemy. Try eliminating sugary treats, sugary drinks and alcohol from your diet. Eat more fats and protein instead.If you’ve got stubborn belly flab and your holiday is approaching, try going on a very low carb diet for, say, 7 days and see the difference.

 

  • Weight Training: The best way to lose fat is to build stronger muscles. No, I don’t mean you need to turn into bodybuilders but using heavy weights in the gym (or at home) is the most effective way to blitz the fat. For us women, our legs have proportionally much bigger muscles so focus on squats, lunges, step ups, etc. The more muscles you work out, the more calories you burn…

 

  • HIIT: High-intensity interval training is another great training technique in which you give all-out, 100% effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. Here is an example.

 

HIIT Workout
Warm up by marching on the spot for 2 minutes.
Squat jumps
Jumping jacks
Butt kicks
Side lunges
Shadow boxing
Complete each exercise for 45 seconds.
Rest for 10 seconds then get straight into the next exercise. Repeat circuit 3-4 times.Top tip: You can download a HIIT interval timer from the iOS or android app stores.

 Stronger, bigger ab muscles= Flat tummy priority #2

So along with lowering your overall body fat, it’s important to work those ab muscles. Note, you cannot spot reduce fat. That is, doing crunches all day will NOT decrease your belly fat specifically.
But, by working out your abs you will begin to grow these muscles. They will become more visible and better at maintaining a good posture with your tummy tucked in. Here are my top 4 exercises.

Side Plank

  • Lie on your left side with your elbow directly beneath your shoulder and legs stacked. Place your right hand on your left shoulder or on your right hip.
  • Brace your abs and lift your hips off the floor until you’re balancing on your forearm and feet so that your body forms a diagonal line. Hold for 30 to 45 seconds.
  • If you can’t hold that long, stay up as long as you can and then repeat until you’ve held for 30 seconds total.
  • Switch sides. Repeat 2-3 times per side.

Leg Lifts

  • Lie on a mat with your arms down by your sides.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles and flatten your back against the floor.
  • Lift both your legs off the floor and bring your knees in to your chest.
  • Straighten legs back out & lower till 1 inch off the floor.
  • Perform 3-4 series of 10 leg lifts.

​Russian Twist

  • Sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground (or off the floor for advanced).
  • Lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to floor, making sure to keep the spine straight and not rounded.
  • Lace your arms straight out in front of your chest with one hand on top of the other.
  • Slowly rotate round to the right as far as you can, pause then reverse this movement all the way round to the left as far as you can.
  • Complete three sets of 10 rotations each side.

​Mountain Climbers

  • Assume a press up position so your hands are directly under your chest at shoulder width apart with straight arms.
  • Your body should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles.
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and slowly raise your knee as close to your chest as you can
  • Return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg.
  • Continue alternating for the 20-30 reps. Repeat 3-4 times.

​One final tip… Try using herbal teas (peppermint tea, green tea) to reduce bloating and consider using a probiotic supplement to aid digestion too.Also, please note… If you’ve recently given birth (i.e. 3 months or less), please make sure you have your GP check. If you have or if you think you might have Diastasis Recti (separation of the abdominal muscles) please get in touch as these exercises might not be suitable.