As a health and wellness coach, the number-one question that everybody asks isn't, "How do I live longer?" or "What can I do for more energy?" It's almost always, "How do I lose this tummy?" In a world where we're bombarded by ads promoting four-, six- and eight-packs, it's no wonder we're obsessed with abs.
While having tight and toned abs is partly genetic, the great news is that there are a number of things that you can do today to firm, slim and define your midsection for good.
1. Drink Green Tea
Green tea has been shown to boost the immune system and fight cancer-causing cells in our body, but it also works very well to assist in the burning of excess weight and body fat.
The epigallocatechin gallate component in green tea acts as a thermogenic, meaning that it stimulates the fat-burning process. You'd need to drink at least seven cups of green tea per day to get the effects of two to three capsules of a green-tea supplement, so I suggest taking them in the morning to avoid caffeine stimulation later in the day or choose a decaffeinated version.
2. Interval Cardio
The good news is that long cardio sessions are over and interval cardio is taking its place. Interval training involves sprinting or pushing the body into an anaerobic state in short bursts of exertion for 20 to 30 seconds with rest periods in between.
When doing interval cardio, there's less oxygen available to the muscles and the body will more quickly fatigue. A 20-minute session of interval cardiovascular exercise just three days per week stimulates the fat stores in our body and works to burn excess weight.
On either the elliptical machine or recumbent bike, do a three-minute warm-up. Increase resistance and sprint for 30 seconds, then reduce resistance again and perform a 90-second cool-down. Do this eight times followed by a two-minute cool-down at the end for a total of 19.5 minutes just three days per week. That's it.
3. Eat More Fat
This seems completely contrary to logic, but the latest research shows that by consuming more healthy unsaturated fats, such as coconut, avocado, olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, not only do we feel satiated longer, but our systems also gets busy stimulating the fat-burning process within our bodies.
Studies have found that those who ate foods higher in healthy fats, such as those found in the Mediterranean diet, had a lower body-mass index. This means less body fat and a leaner frame than those who ate a low-fat diet. They also lost excess weight more easily.
We all want to look and feel our best, and getting there just takes some consistent effort. By following these simple steps and committing to them for a minimum of three months, you are well on your way to a slimmer, tighter and more toned belly -- just in time for summer!
*Always consult with your physician before starting any exercise, diet or supplement routine.
Readers -- Is getting six-pack abs a fitness goal of yours? Do you have any tips or tricks to tone your abs? What are your go-to ab exercises? Leave a comment below and let us know.