Almost everyone I meet asks me the same question: “How do I get a flat stomach? Should I just do sit ups every day?” My answer is, you’ll have to do more than just sit ups.
Having a flat stomach not only makes you look good in your clothes, it also helps avoid cardiovascular disease, which can cause serious health problems. These practical tips will help you get a flat stomach, if you follow them consistently:
1. Eat frequently, eat whole, and eat clean
A good diet doesn’t mean fasting, you just need to pay attention to portion control. Eating frequent small meals helps keep your blood sugar stable and avoids drastic spikes and drops that can make you tired or hungry.
Instead of processed foods like cheese, white bread, sausages, and fast food, eat more natural foods such as greens, chicken and fish, beans and whole grains. This is what we call “eating clean” and it also includes reducing unnecessary salt and fat. Rather than using heavy sauces, enhance your food’s flavour with fresh herbs and healthy garlic!
2. Walk or jog 30 minutes a day
Daily exercise is important to maintain a healthy weight, so you should try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day. Research shows that as little as six months of a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a nearly nine percent increase in visceral fat (according to the Duke University Medical Centre). There are so many beautiful trails in Hong Kong where we can hike or jog. Put on your gear and get movin’!
3. Resistance train twice per week
Research from the University of Pennsylvania shows that adding 60 minutes of resistance training to your routine, twice a week, can help you shed nearly four percent more body fat. Increased lean muscle mass also helps you burn more calories at rest, so hit those weights!
4. Skip the sit ups and try a HIIT circuit instead
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is a great way to fight cardiovascular disease and burn calories. By alternating short bursts of very intense exercise with short rest periods, you’ll improve fitness performance and health in one go!
In my opinion, maintaining good health through physical activity and a balanced diet is a lifestyle, and should never be seen as a burden. We tend to forget that exercise and diet isn’t just to look good, it's to stay healthy inside and out. So, get active and enjoy the good life!
Janet Wahlquist is a guest writer for LifestyleAsia and head personal trainer at Fitness Compass Hong Kong. For more information, check out www.fitnesscompass.com.hk where LifestyleAsia members can receive their first 90-minute PT session free of charge.