Everyone wants to have a six pack or a nice lean tight sexy stomach. This is a topic I find myself writing a lot about because there is so much confusion in the fitness industry concerning it. Having a flat toned stomach or getting a "six pack" isn't usually done the way most people think it is. In this short article I will give you 5 basic tips you can use that will go a long way in helping you get that lean waistline that most of us desire.

 Let me start off by saying that there are some people walking the planet that can eat whatever they like and not workout much and still have a ripped stomach.  Those are not the people this article for!  This is for the other 99.9% of us :-)   Getting a flat toned stomach takes hard work but it can be done by following some proven strategies.  

1) Strength Train. more specifically do "Compound Movements"

Compound movements are exercises that work several muscles at the same time and activate your core (abs + lower back) in the process.  You can't go wrong by doing compound movements they go a long way with helping you achieve that tight and toned mid section. 
When trying to get a tight core compound movements are more effective then traditional "isolation movements."  What are some examples of compound movements? Chin-ups, pull-ups,dead lifts, squats, different over head pressing movements as well as lots of push-up variations to name a few of my favorites.  These movements engage and incorporate the core and will harden as well as strengthen your abs.  Compound movements also increase fat burning throughout the body,thus reducing fat in your waistline. When trying to get a nice tight midsection compound movements are an absolute must.

2) Do Some H.I.I.T. 

  H.I.I.T. stands for High Intensity Interval Training. This type of training is very effective when trying to "lean out" and have that flat tight stomach everyone wants.  H.I.I.T. is basically an all out explosive movement like a sprint followed by a short recovery period done continuously for at least 20 minutes.

 Look at athletes who's particular sport requires them to do a lot of explosive movements for short durations followed by a quick recovery portion. Examples of this are sprinters,soccer players, boxers, Mixed Martial Arts fighters to name a few.  The simplest way to do this would be to sprint outdoors or on a treadmill for 30-45 seconds and then slow down and recover for 1 minute to 90 seconds then continue to repeat the process for 20-30 minutes.  You're not only limited to sprinting though, you can use the same H.I.I.T. training concept to hit a heavy bag, do sled pushes, rope jump, do uphill wind sprints etc.   

3) Don't Train abs Doing Crunches Everyday:

Contrary to popular belief you don't need to "train your abs" more then 3x per week.  Our abs are like any other muscle, you don't need to train them everyday.  Doing sit-ups will not I repeat WILL NOT give you a six pack!  Yes if you do some isolation type of movements they will help strengthen your stomach muscles but that's all it will do.  You will have strong abs underneath a layer of fat but not a six pack. 

This is why doing compound movements as well as H.I.I.T. training is so important.  To see our ab muscles we first need to burn off the layer of fat that's over them. Once the layer of fat is burned then and only then will we be able to see our abs.  

However, when you do decide to train your abs train them for about 10 minutes but real hard, and vary the movements by mixing it up. Don't just do crunches, the reason being is that our abs bend, flex, rotate and stabilize.  What that means is that crunches alone will not work your entire core region correctly.  

You have to do and incorporate movements that involve rotational movement patterns as well as stabilization holds.  For example you can do core rotational movements from seated or standing positions using resistance bands or med balls. To stabilize your core you should also incorporate adding different types of plank variations into your ab routine.  

4) Avoid Gimmicks:

 Don't believe the hype! Fancy ab gadget machines will not reduce your waistline despite what all of those late night infomercials say. The people in those commercials are paid models that chances are don't even use the product they are endorsing. Also please avoid diet weight loss pills! No need to explain why other then by saying they just don't work!  If they did work there would be no overweight people anywhere and we all would be walking around with six pack abs. They never did work and never will! Please don't throw your money away on that stuff! Moving on! :-) 

5) Healthy Nutrition Is Critical:

You can do compound movements,do H.I.I.T. Training, mix up your core workouts but if you eat poorly you won't maximize your chances of having that waistline your looking for.  I won't go into too much nutrition info in this article but some basic rules of thumb are never skip breakfast.  Try to eat a healthy small portioned meal or snack every 3-4 hours. Avoid processed man made foods high in preservatives and additives. Make sure to drink lots of water and avoid empty calorie foods.  Lastly, avoid having heavy starched filled meals late in the evening before bedtime.  

These 5 basic tips when incorporated into your overall training program and lifestyle will go a long way towards reducing fat not only in your waistline which is great but throughout your body.  Remember there is no such thing as spot reduction, fat loss happens throughout our bodies not just in one area.  

Stick to the basic, use compound movements for strength training, incorporate H.I.I.T. training into your cardio routine, mix up your ab workouts by not always doing the same isolation types of crunch movements.  Incorporate twisting rotational core movements as well as stabilization moves like planks and finally watch what you eat.  

There you have it folks no secrets just prove fat loss methods. Try these and you will achieve your fat loss goals!

              Yours in health

              John Gonzalez
              NASM Certified Personal Trainer

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