As grateful as we are to finally have some sunshine (and believe us, we are!), the summer months can be quite a tricky time to say hello to your hibernating abs! You see, there are so many temptations that will quite easily throw you right off course to a flat stomach… sugary cocktails, ice-cream sundays, frappacinos, the list goes on! You think “How am I ever going to get a toned tummy with all of these distractions floating around ever corner?” We say “Don’t panic!”. This is what we’re here for… to help all of you further enhance your healthy lifestyles, even if there may be a few obstacles along the way! This week, we’re sharing a few of our handy-to-know tips for achieving a flat tum even in the sun!
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
We’ve all heard that quote before, and yes it does sound a bit harsh, but it’s so true. Whether you’re going on a road trip or jetting off to the Caribbean, always have some healthy, nutritious snacks lurking in your bag for when you’re feeling a bit peckish. It’s those moments when you want to make a pit stop at the first foodie place you come across that will determine the outcome of your tummy. Having snacks prepared in your bag will keep you on track and will remove all the excuses to delve into that sugary, nutritionally empty muffin! Nuts and berries are great choices, and we are partial to the odd Nakd Bar or Bounce Ball here and there!
Surely, slogging it our on the treadmill for a few hours should do the trick? Well, not exactly. It may burn calories but it doesn’t target fat. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), has been hailed the ultimate fat-burning training method and can shorten your hour workout to as little as 15 minutes. Here’s how… Take an exercise, lets say skipping, and for 30 seconds, perform as fast as you can, using all your energy. Then take a 30 second rest and repeat 8-10 times through. By constantly speeding up your heart rate and slowing it down again, you’re raising your metabolism which is what helps you burn fat long after you’ve exercised! There really are no excuses for having no time to break a little (or a lot) of sweat!
Digestion is another important aspect to consider when you want a toned and flat tummy, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. Problems like bloating, gas and IBS can really make you feel low, so when things flare up, brew a cup or two of fennel tea. The essential oil in fennel calms muscle spasms and it’s carminative properties are brilliant at easing bloating and excessive gas. We like to enjoy our fennel tea after dinner to soothe our systems while we sleep.
The link between stress and our stomachs is truly astounding. Our emotions can have profound effects on our digestive system so much so, it’s been named our “second brain”. When we feel stressed, our bodies produce cortisol (aka our fat-storing hormone) because it think’s we are in danger. Our bodies store glucose as energy so we can fight something or run away from it. Now in the caveman days, this was very useful (the grisly bear wasn’t going to disappear on it’s own!), but now days its usually just traffic jams or horrible bosses that cause us stress. That extra glucose that our bodies “kindly” saved for us hasn’t been used. What happens to it? It tends to get stored as fat around the belly button. So with that nasty scenario in mind, really try and focus on keeping your stress levels to a minimum. Anything from deep breathing, mediation, or even just a lovely bubble bath can help you achieve a flatter stomach.
I know we keep banging on about it but drinking lots of water seriously is the most simple and easy habit to implement! It enables our bodies to flush out toxins and get rid of any excess water we may be holding on too. Apart from a flatter and more defined tummy, you’ll also achieve a gorgeous glow in your complexion…whats not to love?
words by Moly Jennings
Photo: Bikini available at Zimmerman