The external obliques are the V-shaped muscles running diagonally down your sides that, along with the internal obliques underneath them, help you rotate your spine when a Ryan Gosling look-alike walks by. The rectus abdominis, meanwhile, is the straight-down-the-center muscle which, yes, can make you appear to have a six-pack if you have a seemingly single-digit body-fat percentage like Ryan Gosling's. The one remaining ab muscle, which Dr. Herrera's surface EMG won't be picking up, is the transversus abdominis. The deepest-down of all, it does a complete wraparound of your midsection and pulls it in like a corset.
Removing saturated fat (the kind found most often in animal products like meat) and replacing it with monounsaturated fat in moderation is undoubtedly a good thing. It helps lower LDL “bad” cholesterol and the chance of heart attack and stroke. So it’s a good approach for anyone with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease.
Contrary to what many people believe, doing thousands of sit-ups or crunches all day, every day, will not get you closer to achieving those washboard abs. Yep, you read that right. Both belly bulge and love handles are about excess body fat, NOT lack of muscle. And sadly, we can’t spot reduce fat. That's why ab exercises alone are not the solution. Scoring a flat stomach is all about workouts that burn body fat overall. One of the best ways to do that is utilizing exercises that are core focused, but impact different muscle groups at the same time — so you're strengthening your entire body, which burns more calories and subsequently more fat – during and long after your workout. A perfect example of this would be a mountain climber. You are working your chest, shoulders, triceps, core and accelerating the hell out of your heart rate for optimal calorie burn.
Stand upright, feet apart. Lock your fingers to create a solid grip. Exhale, and sweep the hands, arms, shoulders, and chest to the left, as if you were rowing a canoe. At the same time, lift the left knee up and to the right. Inhale and return to the starting position. Exhale and perform the movement to the right. Keep switching sides for 20 reps.
Sure, summer is all about the flat belly—hello bikini season!—but why not tone some other parts of your body while you’re at it? By pairing split lunges with bicep curls you’ll be giving your legs, abs, and arms a workout. Mark, who advises doing this exercise with 1-liter water bottles, says, “Even though you aren’t actively moving your abs, they play a huge role in keeping your spine upright during this exercise, so please make sure you keep them engaged throughout the entire movement. This one makes your entire body tremble—so get ready!”
Boxing also gives you a cardio workout that burns extra calories. Add 16 minutes of boxing three times a week to your regular cardio routine (30 minutes at high intensity four to five times a week), and you can lose up to 2 inches from your waist in four weeks. Simply throw punches while holding 1- or 2-pound weights for 8 minutes, alternating arms, then repeat without weights at a faster pace for 8 more minutes."
Avocados are a double-whammy to belly fat. First, they're packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that dim your hunger switches; a study in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate half a fresh avocado with lunch reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. Second, unsaturated fats like those found in avocados seem to prevent the storage of belly fat. (These creative ways to eat avocado will help you up your intake.)
Some people have a strange habit of chewing something or the other all day long. For meeting this craving of chewing, they often end up eating gums, which do no benefit to the body at all. An amazing swap is to try munching on dry fruits like almonds, which will actually be beneficial to your body and provide it with those necessary nutrients at the same time.
Getting rid of belly fat isn't just about fitting into skinny jeans—research shows that people with less visceral belly fat (the fat that surrounds your organs) have a decreased risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. So not only will losing fat help you look and feel better, it will also help ward off dangerous health issues. While there isn't one magic food that will melt away belly fat, studies have reported certain foods have special belly-fat-burning benefits, such as avocado, artichokes, whole grains, kefir, green tea, eggs, peanuts and chickpeas. These foods work in different ways to help shrink fat cells and decrease waist circumference. This 7-day meal plan incorporates these flat-belly foods, plus vegetables, whole grains, fruits and healthy fats and protein, in delicious ways to help make it easier to lose belly fat and feel great.
Dinner: Stuffed Bell Peppers. Fill this super food with everything you need for dinner and you’ll have an easy to make dinner loaded with nutrients in no time. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/stuffed_peppers.html *note: replace canola oil with olive oil and use brown rice or quinoa for the rice called for in this recipe. Use sliced avocados leftover from lunch as a garnish/side.
Who knew leftovers could taste this good? Lean pork tenderloin is the perfect protein for this Thai-inspired salad. We like to top it off with two dressings that play off each other. The first is the leftover cilantro-lime vinaigrette, and the second is a spicy peanut sauce to add some healthy polyunsaturated fats to your plate. If you don’t already have some peanut butter, be sure to check out our PB guide, The 36 Top Peanut Butters—Ranked!, before you head to the store.
Day 3 of the ab challenge and feeling great! For anyone who is thinking of starting this, DO IT. I can already feel myself getting stronger in my core. Day 1, the leg lifts were awful, Day 3 they weren’t as bad. I see results so quickly and am very excited and motivated to continue! Good luck popsters! Btw- Dont forget the water part. It is so important and if you dont like water, add some lemon or fruit!
Speaking of fiber, another great source of the satiating nutrient is hummus and vegetables. Dippable veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli are packed with fiber and an array of other vitamins, and they pair perfectly with the creamy chickpea dip, which has 2.5 grams of fiber per ¼ cup. By skipping unhealthy cheesy dips in favor or hummus, you’ll be doing your belly (and the rest of your body) a massive favor.
WHAT'S GOING ON: If the only abs exercise you ever do is crunches, you'll never have a firm tummy, says Stephanie Hahn, a physical therapist at STAR Physical Therapy in Austin, TX. Crunches train your rectus abdominis (your "six-pack") to fold forward. That makes the muscles shorter, and if your transverse abdominals (the muscles that sit behind your rectus) aren't toned, you end up with what experts call a muscle imbalance—and a bulge in your lower belly. "Doing more crunches won't help," Hahn says.