It’s been ingrained in all of us that hitting the gym is the gateway into those slim jeans and fitted tops without the dreaded muffin top or belly pooch distorting your silhouette. Exercise is important, but you can reduce stubborn muffin tops and belly pooches in other, more effective ways! In fact, doing crunches can actually accentuate your belly by building up the muscles in your abs (under the fat) causing them to protrude out more, instead of flattening them.
Here are 9 things you can incorporate into your daily life that will help slim down and contour your figure:
One of the most effective ways to “cinch” your tummy is to engage the deeper muscles in your core, called the Transverse Abdominal Muscle. This muscle group acts like a corset, pulling and holding your upper and lower abs in.
This easy breathing exercise one of the best and simplest activity you can do to get a flat stomach in just a couple weeks! It can be performed standing, sitting, kneeling, and while lying on your stomach or your back. Try to do this every day, and more than once a day. It’s easy to do while sitting at your desk at work, or sitting in your car in rush hour traffic!
Start by taking in a deep breath, then slowly exhale. As you exhale, pull your stomach in and contract as much as you can, and hold it for 15 seconds, engaging the muscles. Keep breathing slowly as you contract. Repeat this exercise 5-8 times. Work your way towards holding your contraction for 60 seconds. Remember to keep breathing slowly while you do this! And don’t forget to give yourself time to recover from your exercises.
This is another excellent activity to engage the Transverse Abdominal Muscle. The best part is that it can be done in bed (hello, mornings!) or on the floor (while watching tv).
Begin by laying on your back in the position you’d lie in if you were going to do a crunch. Make sure your feet are flat on the bed or the floor, and your knees are bent. Take a deep breath, expanding your stomach. Slowly release that breath and pull your abdominal muscles into your spine. Next, raise your head off the bed or floor, engaging those muscles even more. Hold it for two seconds, and go back to your starting position. Repeat 10 times.
You probably already know this, but walking is one of the best ways to whittle your waistline, tighten your tummy, firm up those glutes and tone those legs (two bonuses!).
The trick here is to make sure you keep aware of contracting your core while you walk. Before you begin, engage your tummy and keep it like that throughout your walk. Avoid just schlepping along or falling into the “walking coma” routine, as this is not going to do anything for your waistline. You can still be relaxed while you keep your abs engaged.
If you’re one of those who find that walking just “doesn’t do it” for you after a while, you may have to reassess your focus and remind yourself to keep your core engaged while you walk. That little adjustment can make all the difference!
The body is an amazing creation, and we often beat it up in an attempt to re-shape it. Studies show that when you are already living a busy lifestyle, forcing yourself to do more can work against your goals of slimming down.
LipoBelt is a little device that can help spot contour muffin tops, and address other issues that workouts don’t help with, like cellulite, all while relaxing at home! It also helps tone the muscle underneath the fat to give you extra definition without the sweat and backache of sit –ups and crunches.
It’s based on natural science, and works with your body to target pesky areas. It safely chills those areas you want to target using the power of Cryotherapy, triggering an increase in localized circulation and metabolism.
To learn more about the LipoBelt click here to see a video about How It Works
5. Get more Z’s
This may sound a bit counter-intuitive, but sleep actually helps you burn more calories and boost fat loss. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleeping more helps you burn 5% more calories during your resting state. They also found that those who sleep a bit more burned 20% more calories after a meal versus sleep-deprived people.
In addition, a recent study from the University of Chicago showed that sleeping at least 8 hours a night is a game changer for losing fat when you are trying to drop pounds. This study compared 2 groups who lost the same amount of weight. The well rested group lost more than half of their weight from fat in comparison to the tired group, who may have only lost water weight or muscle mass.
When the body is more rested, you will experience less bloat from fatigue or other internal inflammation due to body exhaustion.
When we think of carbs, we likely get images of bread, rice or potatoes. Most people don’t realize that there are other carbs that will not only help reduce your calorie intake, but also reduce bloat and fat. These not-so-obvious carbs are cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, asparagus, and many of your non-leafy vegetables.
These types of carbs can easily act as substitutes for grains and wheat products that usually take up a good portion of your food intake. Not only will it prevent that “fluffy” middle that comes with typical bready starches, but most of them are also diuretics, which help reduce bloat and give you that flatter belly.
Almonds deserve a prominent place in our diet. They pack serious fat burning power! A study of overweight adults found that eating about a quarter-cup of almonds for 6 months led to a 62% greater reduction in weight and BMI. Another recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association in 2015 showed that consuming just 1.5 ounces of almonds daily led to a reduction in belly and leg fat.
A small amount of almonds eaten about 30 mins to 1 hour prior to your workouts can help boost your workout results naturally! Almonds contain the amino acid L- arginine, which helps burn more fat and carbs.
“The fastest and easiest way to shrink your tummy is to cut back on salty foods and drink more water,” says celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X, Dan Roberts. “Even if you do have a few pounds to lose, you’re likely retaining fluids, due to mild dehydration. Flushing out the salt and drinking more water is a really effective way to counteract the bloat. The results can be almost immediate,” adds Roberts.
Need we say more…?
How many times do we have to hear that stress is the boss behind persistent belly fat and muffin tops? Well, not enough it seems, because a majority of Americans just don’t make de-stressing important enough to actually carve out a small tidbit of time to do it.
Stress makes your body release that dreaded stress hormone called cortisol. Normal cortisol levels go up and down. But when your body is in chronic stress, cortisol stays up, and can actually take fat from other parts of your body and store it around your belly! The more belly fat you have, the more internal inflammation your body develops, the more stress your body goes through, the more cortisol your body produces… see the vicious cycle there?
We suggest to mindfully de-stress, meaning that you take a moment to intentionally lower your shoulders, allow your mind to stop problem solving for a moment, and give yourself permission to accept the relief that comes with that.
While we advocate for exercise (especially outdoors with fresh air and sunlight), sometimes more physical stress on the body works against getting rid of the stubborn belly and unpleasant muffin tops. These 9 simple tips will help you feel good on the inside, and help you look good in those skinny jeans and body hugging tops!
*Note: The LipoBelt is not intended to treat any medical condition or cure any diseases. It is not intended as a weight loss device, or to be used for purposes other than its indicated use, or as instructed by your physician or esthetician, or as required by your training program. Consult your physician for uses not indicated.
** Results vary: Results shown are without other body treatments. Average waist circumference change over four weeks in a test group of men and women was 1.38", and an average thigh circumference change of 0.77" in women only. Adding a healthy diet and exercise helps improve and maintain your results. An increase in sugar/carbohydrate consumption may potentially cause excess fat storage, and enlarge contoured areas and/or for cellulite to redevelop. LipoBelt is only effective on areas where it has been applied as directed. Results should not be expected on areas where LipoBelt has not been used. For fat loss on other body areas and/or to lose weight, diet and exercise is needed. Before starting any new diet or exercise program, it is advised that you consult your physician.