While genetics play a significant role in whether or not an individual can achieve a truly flat stomach with visible abs, there are two primary components that can help. It will come as no surprise that those two components are nutrition and exercise, and the chances are even higher of achieving a flat stomach with visible abs if you use them in combination.
The abdominal muscles are just like any other muscle group in that if you want their definition to become visible you must decrease the fat that lies over them. This is particularly difficult for many people to achieve because the abs are situated in an area that often contains the most fat.
Here are some tips to help you achieve a flatter stomach with visible abs:
Lose Body Fat
Seems obvious but it’s typically the most challenging part for people. Find an exercise routine that’s a mix of strength training and both steady state and high intensity training cardio. The variety will help attack stubborn fat, especially that which accumulates around the abdomen, to start on the path to a flatter stomach. The best exercise routine is the one that challenges you but that you can stick with.
Eat Whole Foods
Whole food is food that has not been processed or refined or, has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances. Whole foods are typically plant foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains but can include lean organic meats and eggs. Whole foods are the key to fat loss and the evidence can be found in many formal studies including a study published in February 2018 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
The study found that “people who cut back on added sugar, refined grains and highly processed foods while concentrating on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods — without worrying about counting calories or limiting portion sizes — lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year.” Conclusion: dietary modification remains key to successful fat loss! Consuming mostly whole foods will also help you hit your daily fiber needs which will help in the process of getting a flatter stomach!
Cortisol is our stress hormone. We need cortisol to live but if it’s constantly elevated in the body from chronic stress then it’s going to leave you feeling tired and will ultimately lead to hormonal imbalances in the body which could make it even hard to lose fat, especially around the abdomen. Cortisol is the number one (intrinsic) fat-loss inhibitor for many people, not to mention when people feel stressed they tend to make poor nutritional choices. In an effort to get a flatter stomach it’s extremely important to control stress.
Water is the best possible fat burner there is, directly affecting your metabolism. If you mostly consume coffee, soda, tea, juice, etc each day you are more than likely living in a mildly dehydrated state which can actually slow down the metabolism over time. It slows down because when the cells in the body are deprived of water (which they are mostly made of) they shrink, which is a signal for the metabolism to slow down because water is involved in almost every single biological function in the body!
If there isn’t enough water to support all of those biological functions than the body has to slow down all its processes (aka your metabolism) to conserve what water it does have to do the work it needs to (to keep you alive). In that same line of thinking, your calorie-burning machines aka your muscles consist of over 70% water so when you don’t drink water and they are dehydrated their ability to generate energy as well as the body’s ability to burn fat slows down (for the same reason mentioned above). Drinking water is key to fat loss and health.
Without proper nutrition and whole body exercise doing isolated abdominal exercises won’t help you achieve a flatter stomach or a more defined core. Doing abdominal exercises can be beneficial to strengthen the abdominal muscles and help stabilize the lower back and body in general but you cannot crunch your way to a flat stomach without all the other variables in action.