A flat tummy seems to be the holy grail of the fitness world. The problem is, there are too many misconceptions about how to actually achieve one. So says fitness expert Charlene Hutsebaut. So I asked her for advice on how best to get the flat tummy of our dreams.
Charlene is a personal trainer, fitness entrepreneur and brand ambassador with 20 years’ experience and over 15,000 one to one PT hours in the fitness industry. She is a fitness expert for the book The De-Stress Diet. Here’s her top flat tummy tips:
The truth is that as human beings we need to work on many different elements of fitness and health in order to get flat abs. It is not just a one-stop event of doing 100s of sit-ups.
Here are the main areas to focus on in order to feel great about your flat tummy:
Choose foods you know work well for your body. Stay away from foods you know bloat you as this can give the illusion of a bigger belly than you actually have. Some foods can be more inflammatory for the gut than others, such as:
White bread products
Participate in cardiovascular activities to get a flat tummy such as
Housework (get a bit of a sweat on!)
Sports with continuous movement like soccer, ultimate Frisbee, hockey etc
Classes such as aerobics, step, Zumba, line dancing,
Work your core through specific activities that help with the deep stabiliser muscles. These muscles will aid in flattening the tummy area rather than popping it out:
Here is a sample pilates exercise which is easy to follow and great for a challenge for beginners through to advanced students.
Oblique abdominal roll back 2 x 3 each side
This is an excellent pilates exercise for your entire core unit – abdominals, lower back and posture.
Start in a seated position on the “sit bones” on a mat, knees bent, feet on floor. Breath in, don’t move. Breath out to move rolling back into the position seen in the photo above.
Tighten the abdominal muscles as you imagine pulling the bottom portion of your rib cage towards your hip bones forming a pilates C-curve through the lower back. Think of pulling your belly button and breast bone through your back to create a strong connection.
Follow the back hand with your eyes, only moving to a position as seen in the photo or stopping a bit sooner if you feel this is safer for your body.
Breath in to return to the starting seated position. Repeat the movement on the other side.
Shoulder blades (shoulder girdle) stay in a ‘good posture’ position throughout the movement.
Movement happens at the pelvis, lower back (flexion) and the shoulder joints.