We all want a flat stomach, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start when it comes to what exercise will get you the results you're after. We all know the basic moves; the crunch comes to mind, but there are specific exercises that target specific problem areas depending on your tummy type.
Here are 5 different types of tummies and how to target each for the ultimate belly fat loss:1. The Spare Tire:
PEOPLE WITH THIS TYPE
- These people are likely to lead sedentary lives and have desk jobs or are "couch potatoes."
- They may also typically have an emotional attachment to sugary foods or alcohol.
- Exercising very little.
- Sitting lots.
- Eating lots of sugar and refined carbohydrates in products like biscuits, cakes and white bread, or rely on starchy carbs like white pasta noodles and white rice.
- Drinking alcohol regularly.
- Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol turns into pure sugar once consumed and goes straight to your waist. It also stops you from burning all other fat until the booze has been processed.
- Avoid low-fat and so-called ‘diet’ snacks. These pre-packaged products are often packed full of chemicals, refined sugar, salt and preservatives to give them flavor.
- Eat cleaner. Rely on a healthy diet full of unprocessed fresh foods such as fish, eggs, organic meat and vegetables.
- Move more. If you work a desk job, park far away in the parking lot or start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Use your lunch breaks to go for a walk as you eat.
- Exercise. Simply going for a long walk, doing lunges, squats or dips at home or a yoga class will be beneficial. You don’t need a gym.
TOP TIP FOR THIS TUMMY
- If you regularly reward yourself for a hard day with a piece of cake or deal with bad news with a biscuit, it’s important to remember that being beautiful is as much about how you feel as how you look. The starting point for any tummy transformation is feeling happy.
HOW TO IDENTIFY THIS TYPE
- Typically over-achievers with perfectionist personalities.
- Usually also susceptible to digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can cause bloating and make their tummies look far worse.
- Weight is specific to the front of the midriff and the umbilical area. When stressed, we produce cortisol, a hormone which encourages the body to cling on to fat around the stomach.
- This type of tummy will also be fairly hard to the touch, rather than wobbly.
- Skip meals
- Abuse your adrenal system with too much caffeine
- Grabs junk food for convenience.
- Go to bed earlier and sleep more. Lack of sleep disrupts the production of leptin, the hormone which helps regulate appetite and metabolism.
- Relax. Try deep breathing exercises, meditation, and long baths before bed to encourage a good night’s sleep.
- Limit coffee consumption to no more than two cups a day.
- Try calming exercises such as yoga, long walks, swimming, or resistance work.
- Stress-busting stretches and yoga poses at night time can help to lower cortisol levels.
- Try chamomile tea at night as well.
3. The Pooch:
HOW TO IDENTIFY THIS TYPE
- Likely to be busy moms or have demanding careers.
- They may even be a gym junkie, but stuck in a workout-and-diet rut, perhaps always eating the same foods and doing the same routine at the gym, which keeps you slim but leaves you with a lower belly..
- Doing excessive crunches and using gimmicky gym items such as ab-rollers can place a strain on the hip flexors and the lower back, causing the tummy muscles to protrude so your belly sticks out.
- Good nutrition and plenty of fiber are essential to improve digestive conditions such as inflammation, bloating and constipation, which can make a pooch tummy worse. Green leafy vegetables, oatbran and wholemeal grains are good, natural sources of fiber.
- Sit-ups done incorrectly increase your lower back curve and accentuate the ‘pouch’ effect. Swap sit-ups for planks. Do these by lying face down on a mat, resting on your forearms. Push off from the floor, rising onto your toes and elbows, so your body is parallel to the floor from your head to your heels. Start off doing ten seconds and build up to a whole minute.
- It’s a common misconception that using weights bulks women up. In fact, the opposite is true. Using weights will burn serious amounts of fat in a short space of time, so try introducing circuits — repetitions of exercises like squats or lunges which work individual muscle sets.
- Reduce inflammation by drinking lots of water and eating easy-to-digest foods such as green vegetables and lighter proteins such as fish and chicken.
4. The Mommy Tummy:
HOW TO IDENTIFY THIS TYPE
- Women with these tummies have usually given birth in the past few years, and, being a typical mom, have little time for themselves.
- Rushing back to exercise too quickly or overdoing it.
- Being stressed about getting rid of your baby weight will only make you cling onto it more. Give yourself a break!’
- Fish oil supplements turn on fat-burning hormones and turn off fat-storing hormones. Begin by taking three 1,000mg capsules a day with meals and build up to five, with permission from your doctor.
- Try to eat good and healthy fats — found in sources such as nuts, oils and olives — every day. Not only do they help you burn fat and absorb vitamins from food effectively, they also help combat tiredness — a big help for tired moms.
- Gentle pelvic floor exercises (known as Kegels) act as a natural corset for the body to flatten your tummy from the inside out. Squeeze and clench your pelvic floor muscles 15-20 times, in five sessions a day.
- Steer clear of sit-ups. After giving birth, the linea alba muscles — which run down the mid-line of the abdomen — separate and you need to allow them to recover. Crunches are the worst thing you can do, as they will force these muscles farther apart. Instead, breathe deep into your tummy while on all fours, then slowly exhale while doing a pelvic floor exercise.
- Daytime naps (try putting up blackout blinds) and stretching before bed are important ways to restore sleep hormones and boost fat-burning.
5. The Bloated Belly:
HOW TO IDENTIFY THIS TYPE
- Bloated tummies are often flat in the morning, but swell throughout the day with gas or indigestion.
- It is almost always caused by food intolerances and allergies, or sluggish bowels as a result of a poor diet.
- You eat the same foods and may have done so for a lifetime without realizing you’re intolerant to them.
- The most common intolerances wheat and gluten (bread, pasta, pastries, pizza, cakes and cereals). Gluten can inflame the bowel and make the stomach look bigger.
- The key here is to experiment to work out what bothers your belly as you know your body better than anyone else. Try eliminating key culprits such as gluten for a fortnight to see if your bloating reduces, or worsens when you reintroduce foods.
- Focus on a healthy diet with lots of fresh veg, meat, chicken and fish.
- Sluggish bowels are often a result of eating the wrong foods in the wrong way. Make breakfast your biggest meal, as this is when digestion is at its peak, and avoid eating late at night which leads to bloating. Chew food properly and drink plenty of water to keep the digestive system moving.
- Bloating can be a sign of imbalanced gut flora. So to get your tummy really flat you need to repopulate it with friendly bacteria. Prebiotic and probiotic supplements are the simplest way. Natural sources include miso soup, sour cream and some fruit and veg including kale, garlic and onions.
- Believe it or not, breathing can be the best thing you can do for this kind of tummy. Try this each morning: lay on your back, completely relaxed, and breathe deep into your tummy ten times.
- After eating, a walk will help the digestive process, too. Always keep moving!