Once you reach a certain age, having a flat stomach might not be as easy as it once was, but it’s worth the effort. Not only is a flat stomach the perfect foundation for showing off a six-pack, it’s also a good move for your health. Unfortunately, excess fat around the waistline can increase your chances for certain conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Here are 10 great ways you can reach your goal of getting a flat stomach.
1. Include Ab-Focused Exercises as Part of Your Workout Routine
Although basic crunches can be beneficial to building your abs and getting a flat stomach, the perfect abs workout contains so much more. This is because your midsection features several different groups of abdominal muscles — not just the ones that are responsible for a six-pack. That means that you need to learn how to do a variety of exercises that target each one of those muscle groups for best results.
2. Eat Clean
In addition to exercise, pay attention to your eating habits. For a few days, write down each food and beverage you eat and drink to find out how clean your diet is. This will help you see how many healthy, whole foods you are incorporating into your diet. Lean meats, whole grains, vegetables and fruits are all essentials for eating clean.
Eating clean will likely help you cut empty calories and help you lose excess weight around the stomach area. And if you’re stumped as to how to make a healthier diet work for you, check out these popular men-friendly diets for ideas.
3. Just Say No to Sugar
For some men, sugar is a weakness. For others, it’s not. If you enjoy regular sugary treats, such as ice cream, cake, cookies and candy, it’s time to say no for a couple of different reasons. In the long term, eating an overload of sugar can lead to insulin resistance, which can cause your body to store excess fat around your waist. But even before that happens, sugar can cause bloating because it feeds bad gut bacteria.
4. Watch Your Salt Intake
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day for most adults, with a push toward even less — around 1,500 mg per day for optimum blood pressure and heart health.
If you eat out often or eat a lot of processed foods, you may be at risk for exceeding the maximum recommended daily amounts for sodium. Plus, if you’re in the habit of automatically salting everything, avoid using a salt shaker until you’ve tasted your food.
Not only is too much salt a health risk, it also can cause water retention. Reducing salt intake can help your body shed excess water weight, which will help flatten your stomach.
5. Amp Up the Fiber
When taking inventory of what you eat, note how much fibrous food you consume. The best fibrous foods are those that are high in soluble fiber, which have been proven to reduce fat in the stomach area. Plus, foods with a high fiber content are known for filling you up, so you won’t be tempted to eat as much. So, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
6. Do Cardio Exercise Several Times Per Week
Cardio exercises are different from other types of exercises because they increase your heart rate to a point where you’ll burn more calories and make your heart healthier. An easy form of cardio is running. Invest in a good pair of running shoes before you get started for best results. If running isn’t your thing, try a stairclimbing machine, cycling or swimming.
7. Opt for Water Rather Than Calorie-Laden Beverages
When monitoring your diet, you’ll notice how much water you drink or don’t. Unfortunately, juices with added sugar, sodas, or alcoholic beverages all have empty calories that your body doesn’t need. And those empty calories can work against your goal of achieving a flat stomach. Opt for water instead to keep your body hydrated. The more hydrated you are, the less cravings you’ll likely have. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the belly bloat that results from your body trying to retain water.
8. Get Enough Sleep
Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. If you’re getting less than that, you’re setting yourself up for weight gain. Or, at the very least, you’ll have a difficult time shedding excess weight around your belly. Figure out to how to get at least seven hours of sleep per night if you’re not already. For example, if using your phone or tablet before bed is keeping you up at night, try making a no-electronics rule a couple of hours before you get ready to go to sleep.