When I first started out on my fitness journey, all I wanted was to have a toned stomach. I wanted that dreamy six pack you see spread all over social media and magazines. After all, it’s hard not to! We are surrounded by perfect bodies and #fitpso everywhere we go. Sometimes, it can seem like that is the most important thing, but remember, it’s more about how you feel within YOU that’s top trump!
Social media is swarmed with hundreds of images of toned abs and the ‘ultimate’ bikini pics – we can’t help but drool over them! These pictures become our core focus when we first start to exercise. The goal differs from person to person; whether it’s to look good for that special occasion, or getting that killer booty we’ve all seen! I openly admit I used to hate exercise, but I did it because I wanted to look a certain way – the pictures I’d seen on social media. It’s true that looking good is a great feeling, and after a lot of hard work I was so happy that I achieved a flatter stomach and ‘six pack’ abs that I had always yearned for. However, after the novelty had worn off, I realised that in actual fact the real change had been made within me as a person! After about 12 weeks of training, I started to feel more than the physical changes I was seeing in the mirror. I was starting to FEEL good about myself and ultimately was a much happier person within myself. This was the ultimate goal I never knew I was going to achieve and the best thing about my new lifestyle.
In this industry, it is hard to get away from all of the perfect bodies we surround ourselves with. I totally get that every girl wants a flat stomach, I was one of them! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting your dream body. It’s great to have goals and I 100% urge you to set targets for yourself. However, as well as wanting abs, I can only say from my personal experience to set goals that are realistic and make you feel good about yourself! That said, I’ve popped below a few things that helped me to achieve a flatter stomach.
My Top Tips for Abs
My first realisation was abs really are made in the kitchen. Obviously this should be combined with training, but the food you are putting into your body really does make a HUGE difference, not only to your weight but to your skin, hair, EVERYTHING. For most people, the last bit to go is your lower tummy (this is usually where fat is stored). Cut out refined carbs if you can – things like white bread, pasta, rice, cereals, sugar. These foods spike your insulin levels which stops fat burning and leads to it storing more fat. I replace these sorts of foods with sweet potato, quinoa, extra vegetables etc.
My second tip: doing 1,000 sit ups a day WILL NOT give you abs – as much as we all like to think it will! Your muscles need time to recover, so doing abs every day of the week will not aid your progress. This is why I like to promote doing a variety of exercise throughout the week. I found the bikini body guide so great because you work your whole body in all of the workouts. I also like adding weights to help tone your body and build muscle, helping to speed up your metabolism.
HIIT (high intensity interval training): personally for me, this was the most effective form of training for loosing fat. There are so many different ways you can do HIIT and it’s an easy transition into exercise. Things I’ve done in the past is sprints (30 sec on, 30 sec rest) for 15 mins. I also really like doing circuits for around 15-20 mins, either 40 sec on, 20 sec rest or TABATA style (30 sec on, 10 sec off) and include full body exercises but things that get your heart pumping – sprints, burpees, squat jumps, lunge jumps, press ups etc. If you do the same HIIT workout each week you will notice yourself getting stronger, which will spur you on to keep going!
I hope you find this an interesting read. I wanted to share my personal experiences with you all to try and show that having abs is not everything. Enjoying exercise and working out is one of the greatest feelings ever, and I want you all to experience it too.
Please let me know your thoughts below – I’d love to hear!