As a teen, you may have developed an acute awareness of how you look and whether you fit in with the crowd. You might find yourself comparing your body to your peers and wishing you could change specific things about yourself. While male teens might desire bulging muscles and excellent athletic abilities, female teens may want a slim physique with a flat and toned tummy. Whether you're preparing for summer vacation, a school dance or graduation, you should be able to flatten your tummy in three months.
Engage in cardiovascular exercise at least three to five times per week. Even if you do hundreds of abdominal exercises per day, your stomach will never be completely flat if you have excess fat around the abdomen. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio exercise per week for the entire three months. Ideas include jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing, skating or participating in sports.
Set aside 15 minutes for targeted abdominal exercise three or four days per week. At the end of three months, you would have logged 9 to 12 hours of dedicated abdominal work. The American Council on Exercise identifies the top three most effective abdominal exercises as the bicycle crunch, captain’s chair and exercise ball crunch. Additional exercise ideas include the regular crunches, reverse crunch and yoga plank. A fitness instructor at your school can help you develop an abdominal exercise routine.
Add one or two extra abdominal workouts per week in the third month if you are not yet satisfied with your tummy. Although you shouldn't expect to fully meet your goals in just two months, you should be well on your way to achieving a flat, toned stomach. An extra 15 to 30 minutes of abdominal exercise per week during the last month can really help tone your abdomen.
Reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in your diet, both of which contribute to abdominal bloating. At the beginning of your three-month plan, start eliminating sodium slowly. Instead of having pizza, french fries and a milkshake for lunch, choose veggie-filled sandwiches on whole grain bread with fresh fruit on the side. Help prepare meals at home, using herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt. As you move into months two and three, eliminate additional foods from your diet -- such as canned soup, salty snacks and cheese. As your third month ends, you should only be eating fast food, sweets, candy and chips rarely, if ever.
Swap the soda, sugary juices and energy drinks for water, starting on day one. Although you can indulge every once in a while, these beverages often contain sugar, sodium and carbonation, all of which contribute to bloating. Water, on the other hand, helps flush toxins from your system and contributes to a flatter stomach. During the first month, this step might seem difficult -- and maybe even impossible. But as you move into months two and three, your cravings for these sweet and caffeine-filled drinks should decrease significantly. If necessary, add fresh fruit to water to enhance the flavor and make it more interesting.
Get at least seven hours of sleep every night. According to the Real Beauty website, a University of Chicago research study found that people who did not sleep enough were more likely to engage in emotional eating throughout the day. Even though your days and nights are likely filled with academics and extracurricular activities, plan to get to bed at a decent hour every night. As with drinking water, getting enough sleep should begin on day one and continue through the end of your third month. Although it might seem difficult to get enough sleep at first, your wake-sleep schedule should become habitual by the third or fourth week.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone; How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for Everyone; How Much Physical Activity do Children Need?
- ACE Fitness: 6 Strategies for Losing the Spare Tire
- KidsHealth.org: Why Exercise is Wise
- How Poor Sleeping and Eating Habits Can Raise Your Risk of Obesity
- American Council on Exercise: New Study Puts the Crunch on Ineffective Ab Exercises