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Getting that Flatter Tummy

Posted on February 28, 2019 | No Comments on Getting that Flatter Tummy

Having a flat belly is something most of us want, but not something that is easy for everyone to achieve. I used to think that if I did 100 crunches a day, I would get a flat tummy. Well, maybe for some, yes; but for me, no.

I found out later on when I went into strength training and with knowledge passed on to me by my personal trainer Kristine, that crunches will help strengthen your abdominal muscles but will not necessarily guarantee a flat tummy. How one’s body reacts to certain exercises depends on one’s eating habits, lifestyle, and genetics. I remember Kristine telling me that if I wanted to know how my body will be when I was older, all I have to do is to look at my mom. More or less that is how the shape of my body will be. It doesn’t mean, though, that if your mom or dad or whoever your body looks like is bigger at their age now, that’s how yours will be. It can be smaller, but of the same shape.

I for one never had a flat tummy. Well, I was a really fat baby. I only started to lose weight when I was 14. Even at my thinnest, I always had a puson. Through years of working out, I’ve managed to make it smaller, but it’s still not flat. That is the reality I needed to accept. I’ve learned to accept my body with its strength and flaws. I continue to maintain my strengths and work on my flaws. I continue to work out regularly and eat healthy.

Allow me to share with you some exercises that will help strengthen your abdominal muscles and help keep them tighter.

Crunches
A simple crunch is one where you lie down, legs bent with your knees facing the ceiling, and hands at the back of your neck for support. Lift your head, neck, and the upper part of your shoulders while squeezing your abdominal muscles. Exhale as you go up and inhale as you rest your head on the floor. As you go up, imagine there is an apple between your chin and neck. This will remind you not to use your neck to lift you up, but your abdominals. Eyes on the ceiling as you do each crunch. No need to lift high. What is important is that you contract the tummy area every time you do each crunch.

In doing any exercise, especially if you are a beginner, always start with only what you can do. Don’t overwhelm yourself. If you can do 5 crunches, then that is fine. As you continue to do them regularly, you will get stronger and your body will let you know you can do more. Go at your own pace. Crunches on a stability ball This is something that is more challenging. Make sure you have a professional fitness trainer or an experienced fitness enthusiast teach you. Doing any exercise in its proper form is of utmost importance. This will help avoid injuries.

The thing I love most about the stability ball is that whatever exercise you do, for any body part, your abdominal muscles are always engaged. You have no choice but to keep them tight as you will not be able to balance on the ball if they are not.

A simple crunch on the ball is done this way. Sit on the ball, feet slightly apart. Make sure your tummy is tight and that you get your balance before you lie on it. Your neck up to your torso is on the ball. Like a regular crunch, which is done on the floor, place your palms behind your neck for support and crunch. Make sure your tummy and butt is tightly squeezed for your balance. Between balancing on the ball and engaging your abdominal area, this is a great exercise.

Leg raises
A 2-in-1 workout. This helps tone your legs and tummy. Lie flat on the floor. You can use a mat or a towel. Place your hands on your sides. You can lift both legs or alternately. As you lift each leg or both, contract your abdominals. Lift your legs till they face the ceiling. Lift at a regular pace, but lower them slower. Squeeze your abdominal muscles as you lower your legs.

For beginners, allow your feet to touch the floor as you lower them. When you are stronger and want more challenge, as you lower them, just when they are about to hit the floor, raise them again.

Do sports
Speaking from experience, most sports will help tighten the muscles in the tummy area. I’ve tried swimming and I’m currently doing muay thai. In swimming, you will need to keep your abdominals tight so you can execute each stroke well. Muay thai, on the other hand, has been such a great workout for me.

Whenever I do any punch, I need to keep my tummy tight for my balance and stability. Punches are stronger when one’s abdominals are engaged. Aside from boxing, muay thai allows you to use your elbows, knees, legs, and feet. Every time I throw a kick, my tummy automatically tightens. It’s like you are doing a crunch while standing. For those 2 hours I train, my tummy is contracted the whole time. Now that is definitely a great abdominal workout.

There are so many exercises you can do that will help strengthen and tighten your abdominals. You only need to determine which works for you. But I believe that an exercise works best if it becomes a habit. Make it a habit to tighten your abdominal muscles. You can be standing, sitting, walking, washing the dishes, or doing any household chore. Contract for a number of seconds, then release. Do what you can. If it becomes a habit, then it becomes a part of you. You will do this whether you are exercising or not.

Just remember to keep in mind that our bodies will react to exercise differently. What works for one may not work for another. Listen to your body and it will tell you what is best for it. Aiming for a flat or flatter tummy is great. Just remember that results depend not only on the exercises but on your eating habits, genetics, and the lifestyle you lead. More than a flatter tummy, what is most important is that we aim for a healthy way of life.

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