If you are admiring someone with an ab crack, chances are they worked hard to get there. Do not worry if all you see when you look down is flab. Your abs are there - they are just waiting for their grand reveal.
These tips will make it easier to trim your midsection within 30 days.
1) Change your diet
What you put into your body matters because it is the supply of food and drinks that turns into fuel for your muscles.
So if you typically munch on fried or sweet snacks, that is a whole load of oil and sugar for your body.
Instead, make wise choices, such as filling at least 80 percent of your plate with healthy options including whole grain carbohydrates, vegetables and lean meat.
2) Do not eat after 8pm
If you are eating between 8pm and midnight, chances are it is an unhealthy snack or dish.
Meals eaten close to bedtime cause an increase in body fat percentage, and having the leeway to eat whenever you want will indeed tempt you to reach for snacks.
Setting a strict cut-off time after 8pm is the easiest way to ensure that you do not overindulge at night.
3) Eat power foods
Maximise the calories burned throughout the day by eating foods with a high metabolic rate that will expend calories even when you are not working out.
Your body burns extra calories while digesting whole grains, protein, caffeine and spicy foods.
4) Count calories
Losing fat all burns down to a mathematical equation - burn more calories than you eat.
Stick to 1,600 to 1,900 calories daily.
Going lower than that will not be sustainable in the long run, as you might regain all the weight that you lost when you return to your normal diet.
5) Do cardio
The first rule of fat loss is to get your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day.
Set in place a jogging routine. Alternatively, walk or swim if your joints hurt.
6) Do classic ab exercise
It is crucial that you simultaneously work on building your abs to give them a defined shape and form while burning fat.
You do not need to hire a personal trainer. Simply form a routine targeted on your abs and do 50 repetitions of each of the following exercises - classic crunches, side-to-side crunches and flutter kicks.
If you do not feel tired after 50, increase the number.
7) Cut back on sodium
Having an excess of sodium in your diet causes water retention, which leads to bloating in your abdominal area.
Cut out sodium-heavy sauces (like in salads) and switch to guacamole or healthy fats such as olive oil, also cut back on packaged food.
8) Do not neglect lower abs
Forming a well-developed midsection means your lower abs need to be in shape too.
Practise the reverse crunch - take the crunch position before lifting your legs and hips in the air. This movement targets your lower abdominal muscles.
Also, lengthen your muscles with the upward dog position. Lie on a mat with your stomach facing down and put your palms next to your chest before bringing your upper body up.
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9) Give yourself a goal
As much as getting abs tests your physical strength, your mental perseverance plays a big role too.
Remind yourself of your fitness goal so you will keep going instead of backing down.
This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).