You have probably heard it before, but we want to emphasize this until it is ingrained in your memory – WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT, WE ARE NOT THE SAME. We come in all shapes and sizes, so for you to compare yourself to another is absurd.
Still, we do it anyway, especially in terms of our bodies. One area we criticize a lot is our beloved midsection – the place where fat is the most visible, and the area we tend to nitpick the most. (Just a side note: a little jiggle in the belly is healthy!).
We completely understand the lust for washboard abs (since they pop up every time you scroll through Instagram). It’s ok to have fitness goals you want to achieve, and here at Lucille Roberts encourage going after them! For some of us it is easier to achieve a “flat” stomach, however, others may find it more difficult. This could be genetic or may be caused by some mistakes in your routine.
Here are five tips to work on achieving your dream belly, whether it is 6 pack abs or no pack at all:
- You are doing the wrong exercise: If you are guilty of only focusing on crunches and other “spot reduction” abdominal exercises, this may be the cause of your dream stomach struggles. Spot reduction is a myth and the truth is you have to work the entire body to lose fat. Mix it up and add cardio and strength exercises to your routine. Instead of doing a sit up, try this circuit from one of our trainers, Charo! It mixes kettlebell swings and other intense exercises that will raise your heart rate which is essential to burn fat. (Side note: if you can do a handstand, AWESOME! If not, you can still get results with the other great exercises she does!)
- You are eating the wrong fat: You read that right, YOU NEED FAT! At least the healthy kind. Fat is not something to avoid, it’s essential for normal growth and development. It will keep you fuller longer and you will find yourself not getting those daily or midnight munchies as often. The key here is to eat the good fats, because not all fats are created equal. Fat sources such as fish, seeds, nuts, leafy vegetables, olive oil, and of course, avocados pack tons of nutrients and are very beneficial to your overall health.
- Your alarm is getting in your way: Researchers at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital found that sleep-deprived people seem to burn the same number of calories as the well-rested, but they consume about 300 more calories a day. How so? The later we are up at night, the more likely we are tempted to eat. Try making your bed time earlier or simply make sure you are getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night (without being late for work/school that is!).
- You are not feeling the burn: According to Health.com, powerful bursts of energy use more fat as fuel and the rest periods in between allow your body to flush out waste products from muscles. Resistance training also builds muscle, and more muscle means a faster metabolism. Aim to strength train for at least 30 minutes, two to three times a week and switch up lower and upper-body exercises. Tip: experts say that you burn more fat by lifting weights before your cardio workout.
- Too little protein – Protein is the answer to building muscle and muscles help us achieve that defined look. While a pound of fat burns two calories per day, a pound of muscle burns six calories and takes up less room in your body. We are not saying to drastically increase your caloric intake, but you should properly asses your protein intake. Are you getting enough? Some recommended sources include chicken breast, salmon, chia seeds, quinoa and beans.