What Girls With Flawless Abs Always Do (That You Don’t)
Unsurprising fact: Women with flawless abs (the kind Beyonce and Bella Hadid are famous for) generally work pretty hard for them. Unless they're born lucky, there are hours in the gym to be put in and strict nutrition plans to be followed. (Plus, the odd slice of pizza thrown in for sanity reasons). That said, there are a few in-the-know tricks women with toned and taut midsections follow that help put them over the top. The good news? We're listing them below so you too can get amongst. The even better news? There's not a crunch in sight.
You might think you’re doing yourself a favour by opting for low-fat yoghurt or skim milk, but you could be harming your chances of developing a six pack. The reason is two-fold. First, many (if not most) reduced fat foods are full of sugar. (It’s often added to increase palatability and flavour once the fat is removed.) Sugar is known to increase belly fat in particular. (So long, Messina. We'll miss you.) Secondly, monounsaturated fats (the kind you find in nuts and olive oil) can actually help you *lose* abdominal fat. Women with flawless abs keep their sugar intake low, and incorporate good fats into their diet on the daily.
Sticking with one type of exercise is a good way to get better at that particular discipline, but a mix of both resistance and cardio is ideal for burning up belly fat and increasing lean muscle mass. If you're serious about achieving a washboard stomach, throw in some HIIT as well. (These workouts in particular have been shown to result in abdominal fat loss.) One thing that won't work? Crunches done solo. This study showed no significant effect on waist circumference or body fat percentage after six weeks of abdominal training.
Not sure how to HIIT? The Tabata Stopwatch Pro app (free) makes it easy.
Speaking of ab exercises, you'd be forgiven for thinking anyone with a rock-hard stomach would be a planking Queen. They may very well be, but chances are they're not sticking with the static version. Women with out-of-this-world abs practice versions that incorporate movement. Why? These 2.0 versions force your abs to work harder to hold you steady. The result: A tighter tummy in less time. Try any of these four dynamic planks to feel the burn.
This is one we've heard time and time again from countless PTs and life coaches: stress = a softer tummy. Even more discouraging, a stress-related pooch is something you can’t out train. Studies show that elevated cortisol is connected with weight gain around your middle. (FYI, low calorie dieting can boost cortisol levels—another reason to skip reduced fat foods.) For abs Miranda Kerr would be jealous of, make your mental health a priority. Try doing one of these 7 things to de-stress.