Nearly everyone who comes into the gym wanting a program has, amongst their list of ‘wants’, a flat stomach. Whether you can achieve a bazillion pack with gills up the side of your torso or not can depend on a number of factors including genetics. It is however possible for everyone to achieve a leaner, flatter looking stomach. 

If vanity is not your motivation then at least understand that it is that visceral fat (deep fat around the gut) that is the most dangerous fat as the more visceral fat you carry around the higher your chances of developing type two diabetes, heart disease and other metabolic syndromes.

Here are a few tips to getting that flatter look. 

1. Eat real food. In other words avoid that high-calorie, highly refined carbo, low nutritional, junk that you buy from the takeaway. 

2. Don’t overeat. Have a glass of water before your meal (preferably warm). Have it as a tea or miso soup. This will help satiate you and help you to avoid pigging out.

3. Exercise. The type of exercise can depend on what you enjoy doing as this will help keep you on track but be sure to include resistance training as building lean muscle mass will boost your metabolism. 

4. H.I.I.T. One of the most effective cardio forms of exercise for reducing the gut is high intensity interval training (H.I.I.T.) Basically is a short (20-30 minute) blast where you train intensely followed by equal breaks. For example, you could sprint to a power pole, then jog or walk to the next before sprinting again. Skipping is a great way to H.I.I.T. 30 secs on, 30 secs off for 10 minutes before doing some sprints. Boxing is another great form of interval training that used the concept before it was even thought of as a training style. 

5. Tone Your Bum. (I said bum!) Bottom muscles that are weak can push a little on the stomach causing the look of a gut even if you don’t have one.

6. Do squats. Squats are one of the most avoided exercises in the gym yet because of the fact that it’s your core stopping your body from crumpling like an accordion when you do this exercise, it’s the core muscles that are being strengthened along with your bum (I said bum again) and leg muscles.

7. Sit and Stand Tall.
Good posture makes you look slimmer and will lead to a strengthening of the core. Also, lower back pain can indicate a weak core. Get your posture right. Don’t slump on the couch, when you walk, when you stand, when you’re at the computer etc. One trick to avoiding this is to, every once in a while, push the chair away from the computer and kneel upright. You could also try sitting on a fit ball. There was a study done once where a group of men were asked to stand and wait alongside a wall. Every so often an attractive young woman was assigned to walk by. Immediately upon seeing her, the men would suck in their guts, raise their shoulders and stand as upright and tall as possible. Maybe you could imagine yourself in a similar situation if that’s what it takes!

Everybody wants to know what the best ‘targeted’ Ab exercises are. Well, I believe squats are up there as I’ve already indicated but here are a few more that I find effective. Look these up if you’re unsure of the right technique. I recommend www.bodybuilding.com as a good video source for many exercises.

1.    Hanging Leg Raises – Whether on a ‘Captains Chair’ or from a Chin-up bar these things are intense and can deliver a great burn.
2.    Bicycle Crunches – A good combo of cardio and Abs contraction in one.
3.    Floor Wipers – They work the Abs and hip flexors really well.
4.    Dragon Flags – For the more advanced. These were Bruce Lees favourite.
5.    Planks/Hovers – For strengthening the whole midsection.

With all that’s been said I want to touch once more on my very first tip and leave you with this quote (I’m not sure who said it but it gets passed around the fitness circles a bit), Abs are made in the kitchen.