You actually can have washboard abs, but it takes a lot of patience, time, hard work and dieting. However, if you’re willing to settle for a flat, lean tummy, it still takes a lot of patience, time, hard work and dieting…just not as much!
There are actually three sets of abdominal muscles, upper, lower and obliqes. It’s obvious what the upper and lower muscles are and where they are located, but the oblique muscles, are located on the sides of your abdomen. Called “nature’s girdle,” the oblique muscles are used when you bend sideways or forward from the waist.
There are four important things you should remember when exercising your abdominal muscles. The first is that all three sets of abdominal muscles work in conjunction with each other, so the best results for losing fat in your lower abdomen is to exercise all three sets of muscles. Vary your abdominal exercises and switch them around every week or so. After a while of doing the same abdominal exercises in the same order the body becomes accustomed to the routine, and starts to cut back on burning away abdominal fat. When doing your whole body exercise regimen, save doing abdominal exercises for last. Almost every exercise you do involves the abs in some way. When you work your abdominal exercises, you really work those abs hard and doing them first tires them out, making your other exercises less effective. The last thing to remember is that to have flat abs, you also need to get rid of visceral fat-fat stored around your internal organs.
To lose fat in any area, you must lose weight, and that starts with a low fat and low calorie diet. You can’t expect to lose body fat if you’re feeding it a lot of fatty foods. Avoid fried foods, and when you do eat them, be sure they are cooked in a light vegetable oil with no saturated fats. Drink at least 6 – 8 large glasses of water a day to flush toxins from your body keep you hydrated and keep you feeling full between meals. Avoid sugar; it packs on the pounds and has no nutritional value. If you have a sweet tooth, there are excellent sugar substitutes that can be used in baking, and sugar-free puddings and gelatins that are really quite tasty! Of course the best option for a sweet tooth is fresh fruit, but when you have to have chocolate or kill, sugar-free is the way to go!
Regular cardiovascular aerobics speed up your metabolism, which is an important factor in losing fat. Again, vary your regimen frequently, so your body doesn’t become accustomed to a set routine. There are enough different aerobic exercises that you don’t have to use the same ones every time. The same is true of anaerobic exercise for strengthening muscles. In fact, it’s the anaerobic exercises, such as swimming, walking, crunches, leg raises and resistance weight training that really firm up your abs. Sit and stand tall, and don’t slump! When your spine is straight and your shoulders are back, your abs automatically contract and if you’re a slumper, you’ll begin to feel the difference in just a couple of minutes!