Trim Your Tummy Fat
1. Belly dance in the bathroom
You may feel a little silly, but belly dancing helps to work your obliques – and there’s no better place to do it than in the privacy of your own bathroom! The ultimate multi-tasking move, belly dancing while you’re brushing your teeth is as easy as one, two, three. Simply support yourself on your left leg while moving your right leg forward and to the left, balancing your foot on your right toe. Move your right hip up and then drop it down and repeat until you have a rhythm going. Go for one full minute while you brush your bottom teeth, and then switch to your left leg while you brush your upper jaw.
2. Finetune your crunches
Doing stomach crunches is a popular exercise for trimming waistlines, but Australian Women’s Health magazine points out that they only target superficial muscles, so they aren’t the most efficient way to work your abs. “You need to target the muscles that lie beneath the superficial ones: your transverse abdominis, multifidis and internal obliques,” they advise. “Strengthening them pulls in your middle like a corset, keeping the area looking flat and toned.” To practise engaging your core muscles, lie on your back with your palms just below your belly button. Exhale so your tummy expands as far as possible, then pull your belly button towards your spine, drawing your abdomen towards the floor. Hold for five seconds, and then repeat eight times. Feel the burn!
3. Get your glutes working
According to Women’s Health mag, over time, sitting around too much renders your glutes virtually useless and causes your hip flexors (the muscles that connect your hipbones to your legs) to stiffen up – which can tilt your pelvis forward, increase the arch in your back, and put stress on your spine. Ouch! “From an aesthetic standpoint, it pushes your abdomen out, making even a flat stomach bulge,” they explain. “That means that to lose your gut, you’ve got to work your butt.” To combat this, lower yourself into a lunge position with your back knee resting on the floor and push your hips forward (keeping your back upright) until you feel a stretch in the front of the hip. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, repeat, then switch legs.
4. Get your hula hoop on!
Stunning Oscar-winning actress Marisa Tomei credits hula hooping for her sexy, slim physique, so why not give it a go? Adult-sized hula hoops designed for those with fitness in mind are weighted to improve their belly-flattening power and to make them easier to spin. You remember how this goes from your childhood: move your midsection in rhythm with the hoop, and aim to rock your hips from side to side for the biggest belly burn.
5. Try a pilates class
Tummy-toning exercises are at the core of a pilates workout, which means pilates training is your secret weapon. A good workout will target your six-pack rectus abdominis, your waist-defining obliques and the deep transversus abdominis, which is often missed in traditional ab workouts. Add a weekly pilates session to your calendar and you’ll be preparing to bare your belly in no time!
6. Work your abs first
Trainer Rachel Cosgrove, author of The Big Book of Exercises, says you need to prioritise your ab workout if you want a flat belly. “A lot of people exercise their abs at the end of their workout, and that’s when you get sloppy or run out of time,” Cosgrove says. “You should do them first, and then move on to your cardio. To get them looking great, you need to make them a priority.”