Do you struggle with a stomach that just won't tone out the way you want it to? I personally struggled with that for so long and I just had no idea why. There are countless reasons why someone might not be able to reveal their abdominal muscles, but I'm going to cover the most prominent ones in this article.
Whether your body type is skinny and thin (like I am) or your body type is more heavy-set, these five powerful tips will help you achieve that flat, toned stomach. Everyone is different in body type, energy levels, and exercise knowledge, so these tips are designed to help each one of these different individuals as opposed to one specific audience.
I can personally attest that these different pointers will not only help you in the long run in developing that strong stomach, but will give you noticeable differences within the next day or two. Now this doesn't mean you'll see differences in your stomach appearance, but you will see differences in your overall health and ability to lose fat or gain muscle (depending on your body type and goals). So, without further delay, allow me to walk you through each of these different tips and show you how you can change them to maximize your results while decreasing your workout time.
1. You Aren't Hydrating Yourself Properly:
Many people forget to hydrate themselves and this can cause numerous problems. You won't just see problems during your exercises, but you'll see problems with your overall health if you don't hydrate correctly. This doesn't mean drinking a glass of water or two now and then throughout the day, but it means treating your body like a giant, refillable water bottle. As you're working out performing different exercises, you're losing those liquids that your body once had, and you need to constantly be replenishing those liquids so you don't pass out.
Without proper hydration your muscles don't get the maximized results they could be if you were providing healthy liquids for your muscles to rely on. Not only that, but your body relies on electrolytes and proper hydration to provide you with the energy needed to blast through exercises. This is why hydrating yourself constantly isn't enough. You need to be sure you're hydrating yourself the right way with the proper liquids.
The wrong kinds of liquids include energy drinks (Monsters, Red Bull etc.), caffeine (coffee, shots, etc.) and yes, even "electrolyte-replsnishing" drinks (gatorade, powerade etc.). You may agree with me when I say caffeine and energy drinks are absolutely terrible for workouts, but I bet you didn't guess drinks like Gatorade and Powerade aren't the best for exercising.
I could go deep into detail, but the main point is that drinks like Gatorade DO replenish you with electrolytes, but what comes associated with the electrolytes (food coloring, high fructose corn syrup etc.) is what tears your body down in the long run. The main point is that you need to hydrate yourself constantly and properly. Everyone is going to have to replenish their liquids differently because we all have different body types and workouts, but the main point is that you absolutely NEED to stay hydrated both in and out of the gym.
2. Don't Settle For Average With Your Workouts
I don't know exactly what you do for your workout plan or what different muscles you work each day, but I do know one thing: that you need to push your body and not just settle for average during each exercise. There are so many things that incorporate into this amazing tip, but I'm only going to cover the absolute necessary points.
First off, we tend to get used to exercises after we've performed them for so long and it just becomes a second nature routine. When you reach this kind of "plateau" in your exercises, you need to increase the power of that exercise. How do you do this? You need to perform each exercise in a harder way that tests your body's limits even more than it used to. Here's an example: let's say you have been doing the same abdominal exercise everyday for the past month and feel as if it doesn't give you much of a workout, but you still perform it anyway just to get it out of the way for that day; now instead of just going through the motions, make it harder and turn it into a weighted exercise that fully concentrates all of the weight and tension straight to your abdominals. This is what it means to push your body past its usual limits and explore harder ways to make that specific exercise work you harder.
Secondly, switch up your exercise instead of going through the normal everyday routine. Mix up your workouts, make it fun, and create some new exercise that work best for you by exploring different options. For example, individuals tend to get bored of their boring cardio workout that consists of jogging, jump rope, and some jumping-jacks. Well, instead of making your workout seem like a chore, have fun with it and explore different variations to each exercise that make you think more and work harder. This might include turning a normal mile-jog into a fun 15 minute run where you pull one of your kids in a wagon up and down your street. Things like this will make it fun and you'll get exhausted way faster without even realizing your body is getting an insane cardio workout.
3. You Aren't Consistent With Your Diet Plan
Diet plans can be hard to follow, I understand that. However, when it becomes a normal thing where you "cheat" on your diet and have a cupcake or doughnut here and there, this becomes a problem. You need to write out your goals, post it on the cupboard door of your junk food cabinet, and remind yourself what this whole diet thing is meant to accomplish whenever you're about to cheat yourself.
Also, its hard to stay consistent with your diet whenever you don't have any idea what the upcoming day will bring your way. My suggestion is to write out a diagram or outline of your day to prepare yourself for whatever your day may bring your way. Plan your meals out the night before, all the way down the snacks in between. This can do huge things for you so you don't hit any unexpected "bumps" in the road and ruin your diet.
Remember, your goals are what's going to help you stay consistent with your diet plan, because your diet plan is meant to help you accomplish things you otherwise couldn't. Whether you're aiming to build muscle or lose body fat, everything starts with your internal environment. This means everything you eat or drink has some kind of effect on your body's internal environment, whether good or bad.
Let's make a healthy, good environment for your body to naturally accomplish whatever goal it is you're trying to reach.
4. You Are Focusing On One Abdominal Muscle Group
Whether you're meaning to do this or not, you may only be targeting one specific abdominal muscle group with your workouts. This is not a good thing when you're trying to tone out your entire stomach and get rid of abdominal fat. It's hard, and almost impossible, to develop a toned, flat stomach, when you only workout your upper abdominals group, or whatever muscle group it may be. You need to be sure you balance out your workouts and find exercises that tone all of your abdominal muscles at once, or at least workout one group after the other, making sure to balance it out.
For example, you could perform two exercises that target your upper abdominals, then perform two exercises that target your lower abs, and finish it off with two oblique abdominal exercises (love handles). This way you even out your exercises and don't strengthen certain abdominals more than the others. You may be able to prominently see your upper abdominals, while your lower abs are hidden by abdominal fat. This would be due to your unbalanced abs workouts.
Be sure to fix this to prevent an oddly-shaped stomach, because I actually use to struggle with this at first. I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did.
5. You Aren't Performing Weighted Exercises
If you are aiming to develop six pack abs, but don't know how, listen carefully. This is one of the easiest things to adjust and can do massive things for your stomach. Not only will you see faster results, but you'll honestly see abdominal fat diminish as you see your abdominals begin to unveil.
Here's my final tip: perform weighted abdominal exercises. More weight means more muscle is being developed and muscle is the one natural thing that destroys fat the fastest. When you have more muscle built being developed in your stomach area, you'll notice drastic differences as that abdominal fat will begin to become overrun by muscle. This is where your abdominal muscles begin to unveil themselves.
So, my tip to you is to add comfortable amounts of weight in each of your abdominal exercise, and perform those exercises until you know you blasted your stomach. This is my most helpful tip not only because you can easily begin to implement it right now, but because you'll notice drastic differences as opposed to the regular old "non-weighted" exercises. I recommend you start off with light weights for each exercise and slowly progress to heavier weights to build more abdominal muscle. Remember, muscle is the one thing that naturally destroys fat and you'll get awesome results if you implement this one powerful tip.
Well, there they are. These are 5 powerful tips you can easily begin to utilize the moment you're done reading this article. These aren't just applicable techniques, but these are ones that will allow you to see noticeable, maximized results. Yes, we're trying to develop a toned stomach, but you'll see an increase in overall health and energy when you constantly implement these tips into your workout plan.
Jason Camacho is the guest author of this post and is also the owner of Ultimate Abdominals, which also contains Three Powerful Ebooks at no charge. Gain knowledge, implement secrets and tips, and optimize results instantly and permanently.