When it comes to tummy troubles and shedding belly fat, the most important key is to stay consistent with your diet. A few months ago, before I had decided to compete, I had a much higher body fat percentage, but yet I ate clean for the most part, worked out regularly and constantly set goals for myself. Now, 12 weeks into my competition prep, I’ve finally figured out a few key ingredients to fat loss and how to tighten up that one devilish area we all put so much focus on. What it all comes down to is the food you put into your stomach. You can do 100 sit-ups a day, but as long as you feed yourself poorly, you will never uncover those tight abdominals. We all have a six-pack… it just depends on how far back in the fridge it is!
1. Cut Out Alcohol
Yeah, you’ve probably heard this one before. “But alcohol is a social norm,” right? No, the truth is you do not need poison to have a good time. You can sip on a water with lime and still enjoy the company you’re with and enjoy a nice evening. Alcohol is loaded with empty calories and sugar. Generally speaking, the consumption of alcohol usually leads to snacking and since your body is already working on breaking down those calories, the food you eat will turn straight into fat. If you want a tight and toned tummy, you cannot realistically lose any weight in that area if you’re drinking, even if it only happens a few times a month. Cut it out altogether!
2. Limit Sugar
Sugar is hiding everywhere. It’s in ketchup, drinks, fruit, bread, jelly, coffee creamer, you name it and it’s in there! One thing I’ve had to do is cut sugar out almost completely. If you’re going to consume fruit, try to have it immediately after a workout because that’s when it’s broken down the easiest. Otherwise, watch your sugar intake significantly- even when it seems harmless like coffee creamer or yogurt. Start buying the sugar-free Greek yogurt and try to sweeten your coffee with only Stevia. You’ll save tons of calories by making small changes like that.
High Intensity Interval Training is one of the best cardio methods because not only is it much more exciting than running on a treadmill for 45 minutes at a time but it burns fat at a much quicker rate. Three times a week I walk on the step mill for 30 minutes and then two times a week I will perform HIIT on the treadmill for 20 minutes. This is where you alternate between sprinting and walking for a minute each. You’re heart rate will by flying and the fat will be melting!
4. Limit Cheat Meals
Food is a great thing and the last thing I want you to think I’m saying is that you can’t enjoy it. But what I am saying is that if you really and truly want to flatten your stomach, you need to cut back on the cheat meals. I suggest saving them for special occasions and if possible, still chose healthier options and be portion conscience. Even one cheat meal a week can discourage progress. Try to go a month without any cheats and keep pushing yourself afterwards! Instead of cheating, try to spice up already clean foods by seasoning them differently or making new “clean” combinations. Also, reward yourself by buying a new piece of athletic clothing or some new music to put on your workout playlist. That will keep you motivated for the week ahead!
5. Carb Cycle
This is the final step that can turn a B body into an A plus. It’s definitely not the only way to get a toned stomach but it can make a big difference if you reach a plateau in your fat loss journey. Carb cycling is where you alternate between low carb days and high carb days. Heavy lifting days, such as leg days, would be where you consume more carbs than light lifting days or rest days. These carbs are healthy carbs of course, such as brown rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats and whole grains. The change in carb intake shocks your body and keeps your metabolism kickin’! It’s a great strategy to lose body fat while still being able to fuel your body properly and maintain energy levels.