Tightening the stomach is a good confidence builder and it also helps you perform daily tasks with more finesse. The goal is to eliminate fat that resides in your abdomen and make your muscles look defined. Being that you want to do this fast, you have to be disciplined and willing to make changes to your eating and exercising habits.
If you have excess fat in your stomach, you will never see the underlying muscles, no matter how tight they are. The best way to reduce fat is by cutting back on your daily caloric intake. A reduction of 500 to 1,000 calories will promote about 1 to 2 lbs. of weight loss a week in your stomach and throughout your body. Make sure to replace all the high-fat, high-sodium, high-sugar foods with healthy alternatives, like lean beef, poultry, fish, legumes, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
Interval training burns calories at a fast pace and it also increases your resting metabolic rate. As an added benefit, you have to contract your abs forcefully to create power and stabilize your spine during high-intensity bouts. Before you start interval training, choose a form of cardio that you enjoy, such as running, indoor cycling, elliptical training or rowing. Start with a light warmup, then alternate back and forth from high to low intensity throughout your entire workout. Once you are done, perform a light cooldown to slowly get your heart rate back to a pre-exercise level. Make your low-intensity bouts twice as long as your high-intensity bouts. For example, pedal hard for 30 seconds on a bike and pedal light for 60. Three bouts of training a week on nonconsecutive days is sufficient to make progress. Aim for 30 to 45 minutes in your workouts.
Stability Ball Weight Training
Weight training builds muscle, which increases your metabolism naturally and causes you to burn more fat around the clock. By doing exercises on a stability ball, you will be forced to contract your abs to stay balanced and achieve a tight stomach faster. Include exercises like pushups, seated shoulder presses, back extensions, lying triceps extensions, seated biceps curls and wall squats to target all of your major muscle groups. Several of these exercises require dumbbells which also increase muscle fiber recruitment -- you have to contract stabilizing muscles to move the weights with proper form. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do four or five sets and work out on three noncardio days a week.
A solid abdominal workout needs to include exercises that target the entire midsection. This is the best way to tighten up your stomach. Include exercises like abdominal pullins, jackknifes, Russian twists and bicycle crunches. These exercises target the upper abs, lower abs and obliques to maximize muscle fiber recruitment. Perform 15 to 20 reps, do three or four sets and work your abs three or four days a week.
Using proper form is critical when it comes to ab exercises. If you do not move through a full range of motion and are sloppy, you will not fully tighten your muscles. For abdominal pullins, assume a pushup position with your hands about shoulder-width apart on the floor and lower shins resting on a stability ball. Your arms should be fully extended at this point and you should have a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Steadily roll the ball toward your head as you tuck your knees into your chest. Hold for a second and squeeze your abs forcefully, slowly roll the ball back out and repeat.