Written by Imane Dodo
Image by @EddyGurl
Getting a flat tummy is one of the biggest mysteries in fitness. We’ve all done the MOSTTT to get that snatched tummy look: flat tummy tea, corsets (I blame the Kardashians), the cabbage soup diet (I’m personally guilty of this), no carb diets, juice diets,1,000 sit-ups a day challenges (big one back then). Do any of these ring a bell? It is ok Hun, thankfully we all know better today. I’m going to give you the ultimate secret to a flat and defined tummy… the secret is that there is no secret. Having defined abs depends on a combination of the smart choices you make and luck (aka genetics). That being said, there are things you can do consistently to maximize your chances of revealing your ‘Tablette de Chocolat’, as the Frenchies say.
Before we proceed, let’s debunk two myths once and for all:
– I can have abs by just working my core: LIES. This piece of misinformation is as misleading as [insert the most overplayed yet incorrect statement you can think of]. Getting a flat and defined tummy requires overall low body fat. However, it is impossible to target a specific part of your body for fat loss – This is why your 1,000 sit-ups a day challenge never worked, you got played sis
– My tummy can be flat all the time: EEEK, no Hun. A completely flat stomach 24/7 is simply not realistic or possible. Even if your fat levels are low, bloating is SO REAL and easily triggered e.g. by your hormonal state, water retention, and stress levels
FIX YOUR DIET
If there is one piece of information you should take away from reading this article, it is the importance of diet when it comes to having a flat tummy. Your tummy will not disappear overnight but there are things you can do to reduce bloating and start seeing results quickly while you build the core strength that will give you that definition.
– Limit processed foods – crisps, biscuits, sweets, etc. They are packed with sugar and unhealthy fats that will absolutely maintain your belly pouch
– Prioritize whole foods. Opt for complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato instead of your regular pasta or white rice. Do not sleep on your fruit and vegetables, eat loads of fiber (beans, broccoli, berries) and go for leaner sources of proteins. As they say, eat the rainbow but also control your portions
– Limit your dairy intake. Dairy products contain lactose, which is essentially sugar. Consuming dairy in large amounts can cause bloating if your stomach does not digest it properly. Instead, consume smaller portions or shift to dairy alternatives such as nuts or soy milk
STAY HYDRATED AND LIMIT ALCOHOL/SOFT DRINKS
Alcohol and carbonated drinks are full of empty calories that do no good to your body. This is coming from a Frenchie that loves her red wine, so believe me. Alcohol also messes up your hormonal balance, dehydrates you and saps your energy; making your workouts the morning after less likely. Drink loads of water, in fact, I might go as far as saying drink only water when you’re getting ‘summer-ready’. If you struggle with water, set an alarm to drink a glass every hour; you can also infuse your water with fruits, herbs, and vegetables to give it a taste. I promise if you close your eyes hard enough while drinking it, it will taste just like wine or soda. Green tea, peppermint tea, and watermelon smoothies are also great healthy options.
PERFORM TOTAL BODY WORKOUTS
Your first point of focus should be the layer of fat that is ruining your abs ability to shine. To shed that fat, focus on performing a mix of high-intensity full-body resistance, cardio, and plyometric training. These exercises will help you burn calories and reduce your overall body fat. High-intensity workouts are also great because they reduce the time spent at the gym. Check out our article to boost your motivation and challenge yourself like never before.
STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE
Incorporate some targeted core exercises into your routine at the end of your workout or on rest days. Planks and Mountain Climbers are examples of some great core exercises you can do anywhere with minimal equipment. These will not only make your abdominal muscles stronger but will also improve your performance during your full-body workouts as your core becomes more balanced… and will also hopefully give you that lean Teyana Taylor and Camila Coelho tummy look in the process.
Getting a flat tummy does not happen overnight. If genetics are not on your side, it is going to require a significant change in lifestyle and eating habits… and prayer to the fitness Gods for mercy. These changes will require a lot of trial and error until you find that perfect balance, which will eventually help you see results without dying on the line. Even if results don’t show up as fast as you want, implementing the changes above will already make you 100% more confident at the beach.
As usual, focus on making better (and healthier choices) long-term and before you realize it changes will happen. My journey became the most enjoyable when I stopped obsessing over body goals and timelines. The truth is that there is no end, changing your lifestyle is a forever move. Once I started loving my body, I was able to reach my goals and be happier in the process. You’ll be surprised at how much stress you put on your body and your mind by always hating it. So repeat after me: ‘my body is perfect as is, I am just working on an even more perfect version of it’. Can we get an Amen from the congregation? AMEN!