As a dance, fitness and heath coach, one of the most common problems that people come to me with is how to flatten their stomach. There is obviously no magic cure to changing your basic shape in genetics and where the weight distribution is naturally set, however, with a good, healthy eating regime and some regular toning exercise within core strengthening of the abdominal area, getting the tummy area to look as flat as possible, according to one’s body shape, can be achieved.
The first thing to do is to make sure that one is not eating something that is creating a bloat. Often people don’t realise that bloating can be caused by some simple factors of food intolerance. Milk, wheat or raw onions are known to throw some people’s harmony within the intestines that causes a discomfort. Find out what may be causing a problem and eliminate it from your diet, find an alternative way of cooking it or find a substitute. For example, some people find that raw onions or raw apples may be a problem, but when cooked, they seem to be fine with it as the particular problem is destroyed within the cooking process and is then easier to digest by the body. So find out if any food is upsetting your system before you embark on some other extreme plan to reduce your stomach.
Eating healthy naturally keeps a flat stomach, just by simply avoiding all the bad fats and sugar laden foods. Just replacing with the good fats and some natural sugar alternatives will make a difference in itself.
Next is posture. Simply by learning to stand correctly and maintaining good posture naturally, helps by holding the stomach core area tight. Remember the way in when we are told to stand and walk correctly – as though we have a book being balanced on our head. This really helps as it lifts one straight, now whilst doing that, pull in the stomach muscles and that will automatically make you look like you have lost inches around the stomach area. You should by doing this now have actually located where the stomach muscles are and know that you can exercise and get them toned into shape. There are many ways to do this. I personally don’t often go out of my way to do sit ups, as I do my exercises through Belly Dance, and since each tummy roll, if done correctly is like doing a sit up, I am doing loads of them when I dance and that is sufficient enough to maintain a flat stomach. However when I feel like bumping it up occasionally, I will on the rare occasion add a session of sit ups.
There are lots of different types of sit ups and stomach exercises for strengthening the area. I suggest if you have never done any, when starting to, work with some machine assistance in order to get a little strengthening before doing some on your own and using your own body weight and strength. Having a coach is always a good idea as they can keep an eye on the correct form of posture and body alignment in order to avoid any injury or strain on neck or the back area.
So here are my ways of flattening the stomach:
Dance method – With your favourite dance music, stand with both feet side by side, ordinary hip width apart. Now take your right foot and place it in front, as if you are going to stand with your hands on your hips and with all your body weight held and resting within your left leg. Keeping that left leg and knee with flexibility, with the right foot pointing at an angle of one o clock, bend the right knee, then bend your upper chest slightly and as you start to poke your bottom out and stretch your back, you should start to straighten your right leg. Then swing your bottom forward and crunch and tighten your stomach area at this point as you go back to the starting point of bending your knee and bringing your upper chest slightly forward. It is on the swinging your bottom area forward, tucking the pelvis forward that you do the tightening and letting go as you point your bottom back. Do these as many times as you want to, and remember count them just the same as sit ups.
The sit up method – Start by lying on the floor and tucking your feet under either a bed or a cupboard. Alternatively ask someone to hold your feet firmly down. With your knees now bent, place your hands crossed by your chest, as if you were holding something safely on your chest. Now try and raise your upper body lifting upwards. You do not need to lift all the way up. You just need to lift gently but firmly with control and release back down with control. Use the momentum to aid you. Start by aiming to do five, with a rest interval of a minute, then a further five and keep doing so. As you improve, do in repetitions of ten, with a minute break. Gradually, as you improve and you can do lots more reps, make it more difficult by taking your hands and holding by your temples (not behind your neck as this can cause stress on neck and back with injury) continue to add and improve repetitions.
These are just a couple of ways and of course there are many types of exercises, some that do the inner obliques and some exercises that do the external obliques. So to exercise the centre area and side area of stomach, different exercise combinations work best. Look out for some variations that work to get your desired result.
Find what works for you and see the difference.
Love and Sparkles