Tired of your pants fitting too uncomfortably snug, but don't know what to do about it? Not quite ready for swimsuit season? We've got you covered. Here are some great nutrition and training tips to help you shape up and shed at least two inches off that midsection in 30 days.
- Eat five mini meals a day. The first three meals should include natural whole food sources, including lean protein, a complex carb source, veggies, and good fats. The last two should consist of protein, healthy fats, and fibrous carbs like fruits and veggies (that means no potatoes, bread, pasta, and the like).
- Understand portion sizes. Portion control is much easier if you use visual cues. Think like this: a lean protein source should be about the size of your palm if you're a woman; two palms if you're a man. Starchy carbs like whole-wheat pasta should be the size of a lightbulb or a clenched fist. Veggies are unlimited, but a serving of fresh fruit should be the size of a mouse. You should get at least a golf-ball-sized portion of healthy fats like olive oil or avocado oil each day.
- Drink more H20. Exchange carbonated drinks and calorie-laden coffees with green tea and water with lemon. Drinking water first thing in the morning has been shown in studies to increase your metabolic rate. Green tea is a proven natural fat burner.
- Enjoy one planned "treat meal" per week after your workout. This is when the body burns calories most efficiently.
- Learn to reward yourself with something other than food. Get a massage or a new pair of jeans!
- To maximize fat loss and trim your waist, add 30 seconds of activity between exercises at the gym. Think lunges, squats, burpees, jumping jacks, pushups, speed skaters, and mountain climbers.
- Turn up your cardio with HIIT (high intensity interval training). Try one minute at 70 percent of your effort and then 30 seconds at 90 percent of your max effort, repeat for 30 minutes.
- Commit to 5 to 7 hours of exercise per week. First thing in the morning ensures success because by the end of the day, there are too many reasons not to exercise.
Stand in front of the mirror, pull your shoulders back and down, pull your stomach in like your pulling your belly button to your spine, now don't you look thinner? Working on your core enables you to look like this all the time and avoid a myriad of injuries. Remember, you cannot "spot treat" your abs with exercise alone. But, combined with a proper diet, weight training regimen, and cardio, solid core training will certainly help trim and tone that midsection faster.
Do the following core workout three days a week. The idea is to keep progressing each week to do more reps (up to 60 by week 4) and hold longer planks (up to 2 minutes if you can!).
The first six exercises need to be done one right after another quickly but controlled (really focus on squeezing those abs tight). Rest for one full minute, then perform the last two on their own. Note: while performing crunches, keep shoulders off the ground and exhale at the top of the contraction.
- Regular Crunch: 15 reps
- Double Crunch: Pull knees toward your chest as you crunch forward. 15 reps.
- Reverse Crunch: Lie on the ground, legs straight out, and pull knees in. 15 reps.
- Bicycle Crunch: 20 reps each leg
- Side Crunch: Place forearm on the floor, perpendicular to your shoulder and put the other hand behind your head; now bring your bent legs up to meet your elbow. Switch sides. 20 reps each side.
- Side Plank: Place forearm on the floor, perpendicular to your shoulder with your leg on top of the other leg. Raise yourself up and hold for one minute. (Rest 1 minute now before continuing.)
- Plank: Lie face down and prop yourself up with your elbows and toes. Make sure your body is straight from your head to your feet. Hold for 30 seconds. Do this 3 times.
- Alternate Superman and Banana: First, lay on your stomach and lift your arms and legs off the floor; count to four. Then, roll onto your back and lift your head and shoulders and legs off the floor, pulling from your core. Hold for a count of four. Do three sets of 20 reps. (As you progress, do more reps and do up to five sets.)