You know that months of eating right and hitting the gym daily trims your stomach, but who has time for that? Well, you should find time — at least, if you want to tighten your abs for the long term — but if you need a quick pick-me-up for your abs because of an upcoming beach vacation or high school reunion, there are quick steps you can take. The results may not be lasting, but could give you a quick fix.
Engaging your abs whenever you think of it, whether driving, working at your desk or washing dishes, helps tightening. This may sound too good to b -true, but it's not. The stomach vacuum, which has you pull your belly button in to your spine and up under your rib cage, trains your transverse abdominis, a deep ab muscle responsible for good posture. It also keeps your internal organs tucked in so you have less abdominal distension that looks saggy.
Get the feel for the move by first trying it while you're lying down. Hold for 15 seconds at a time and work up to longer holds of about 60 seconds. Move on to holding the vacuum from an all-fours position, then to seated and finally standing.
Before long, you'll feel it's natural to hold your belly firm and engaged when standing, which gives you the appearance of a more toned abdomen. You won't be doing a full-on stomach vacuum 24/7 — just standing taller and more engaged.
Slather It On
No cream is going to permanently reduce fat, but an ingredient called aminophylline is promising in offering some belly shrinkage. It's used as a bronchodilator, to treat asthma and emphysema, for example, but, when included in a cream applied to the abdomen, it did lead to significant change in abdominal waist circumference, showed a 2007 study published in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism.
Just 50 participants were part of the study ,which had half apply the cream daily for 12 weeks and another half do nothing. All participants ate just 1,200 calories per day and were encouraged to exercise by walking. All participants lost weight, but those who applied the cream experienced a far greater reduction in waist circumference — an average of 11 centimeters versus 5 centimeters.
While a cream isn't going to work magic long-term to help you lose fat, it could plump up skin cells temporarily and make you look svelter as you undergo a weight-loss program.
Eating smart includes resisting sweets, alcohol and refined grains. Make most meals contain lean proteins — such as fish, chicken and flank steak — and watery vegetables. This diet helps keep your digestive tract regular and reduces water retention, discouraging bloating and constipation. You may also lose a few pounds eating this way, which reveals your ab muscles, so you look leaner and tighter.