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Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?

author image Stephanie Dube Dwilson
With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.
Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?
Hold in your stomach while working out to get flatter muscles. Photo Credit tyler olson/iStock/Getty Images

If you have a flabby stomach, getting your stomach toned is a must not only so you can feel better about how you look, but also for your health. Carrying extra weight in your midsection can put you at greater risk of cardiovascular disease and other health issues. You can tone up a flabby stomach, but it requires a combination of specific exercises and a healthy diet.

Diet Changes Help

Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?
Lose extra fat you may be carrying around. Photo Credit Samlyn_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

If you're carrying extra fat in your stomach, you won't see toned-up ab muscles even if you focus on doing core exercises. Until you lose that extra fat, the toned muscles will stay hidden. Cutting calories so you can lose weight helps, but don't cut out so many that you enter starvation mode and your body's metabolism decreases. Eat complex carbohydrates such as vegetables and whole grains, instead of simple carbohydrates like white bread and white pasta. Lean protein will also help cut down on the tummy bulge.

Cardio Workout Tips

Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?
30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate cardio activity can help you lose weight around your midsection. Photo Credit kzenon/iStock/Getty Images

Getting 30 to 60 minutes a day of moderate cardio activity can help you lose weight around your midsection and tone up your stomach. This doesn't have to be done all at once. You can do bursts of activity throughout the day as long as each interval is 10 minutes long. A Duke University study found that sedentary people had a 9 percent gain in visceral fat around their midsection in just six months, compared to people who jogged 12 miles a week and gained no stomach fat, and people who jogged 20 miles a week and lost both visceral and subcutaneous body fat.

Beneficial Target Exercises

Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?
Squats and deadlifts are beneficial to toning your stomach. Photo Credit Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images

Two exercises are especially beneficial when it comes to toning your stomach muscles: squat exercises and dead lifts. Both of these can be done anywhere. To do a squat, just hold a weight to your chest and follow through on the motions of sitting down on an imaginary chair while keeping your back straight. For a deadlift, use your legs and hips to pick up a weight off the ground, avoiding using your lower-back muscles. Both exercises activate all your ab muscles rather than just focusing on specific muscles, leading to a more overall toned look.

Engage Your Core

Can a Flabby Stomach Be Toned Up?
Engage your core while you're exercising. Photo Credit Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Whether you're doing strength training to tone up your muscles, ab exercises or cardio activities, engaging your core during the workout is a surefire way to start getting a flatter, toner stomach. Engaging your core means you focus on pulling in and holding in your ab muscles without holding your breath. Basically, you suck in your stomach while still breathing. This action alone activates your core muscles no matter what workout you're doing.

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