GET A FLAT TUMMY effortlessly

Power up your fit­ness regime with these train­ing tips that will help kick things up a notch and get you that taut tummy fast

Women's Weekly (Malaysia) - - Your Best Body Ever -

You’re dili­gently turn­ing up for your Pi­lates class or head­ing out for reg­u­lar runs, but aren’t quite get­ting the re­sults you want or the fit­ness boost you’d like. Maybe it’s time to give your work­out a shake-up with one of these tricks from PTs.

1 BOOST YOUR TRAIN­ING

• Ask some­one to film you run­ning. Look at it in slow mo­tion and check which part of your foot hits the ground first. “Land­ing on your fore­foot is the most ef­fi­cient way to run and im­proves per­for­mance,” says run­ning coach and elite en­durance run­ner Matty Abel. If you’re land­ing heel first, ad­just your stride so the ball of your foot hits the ground first. If you can’t get the hang of it, a ses­sion with a run­ning coach can help your tech­nique.

• Count your strides. You should be aim­ing to take 30 to 37 ev­ery 10 sec­onds. “No mat­ter how fast they run, the best runners have a cadence (leg turnover) of 180 to 200 strides a minute,” says trainer Kylie Ed­wards. “Most runners need to shorten their stride to reach this – short­en­ing your stride makes you more ef­fi­cient and re­duces stress on the ham­strings.”

• See some sky. “Look­ing down while run­ning is bad for pos­ture but, more im­por­tantly, it im­pinges on your breath­ing,” says Marie Bean. “Lift your eyes higher and you open up your face, mouth, nose and wind­pipe. The eas­i­est way to do this is aim to look at high land­marks like the sky, trees or bridges as you run, and if you’re run­ning be­hind some­one, look over their head, not at their back or shoes.”

• Leave all your apps and track­ers at home. “Track­ing your runs ev­ery time can cause you to lose the joy of run­ning,” says Kylie. “Once in a while, just go out and run as you feel and cover the dis­tance you want to. Do­ing that ev­ery now and again re­minds you that run­ning feels good, which then im­proves your per­for­mance.”

2 GET MORE FROM PI­LATES

• Fo­cus on the last 5 per cent of any move. “This is nor­mally the most im­por­tant part of any Pi­lates move but of­ten we spend the least amount of time on it – fo­cus right to the end of ev­ery move­ment,” says Kylie. “Also, care­fully con­trol any change in di­rec­tion – don’t use mo­men­tum to help you move.”

• Buy some Pi­lates socks. “These look like reg­u­lar socks but have a grippy sole,” says Pi­lates trainer Kris Etheridge. “They stop you slip­ping when do­ing moves or us­ing equip­ment like the Re­former. This al­lows you to ef­fec­tively do more dar­ing ex­er­cises with­out feel­ing like you might slip and hurt your­self.” Non-slip socks can be pur­chased online and at most stu­dios that of­fer yoga and Pi­lates classes.

• Lengthen the spine. “Too of­ten we fo­cus just on what our arms and legs are do­ing and take our fo­cus off length­en­ing the spine but this ac­ti­vates the mul­ti­fidus mus­cles be­tween each ver­te­brae, help­ing fur­ther im­prove pos­ture, strength and bal­ance,” says Kylie.

• Rest. “Peo­ple of­ten for­get that Pi­lates is a mus­cle-strength­en­ing ex­er­cise – and that mus­cles build when we rest them, not as we work them,” says phys­io­ther­a­pist Michael Der­man­sky. “Take a day’s break be­tween classes and feel the dif­fer­ence.”

3 WHAT TO EAT TO LOSE BELLY FAT

• Weight loss oc­curs across the body when fol­low­ing a weight­loss nu­tri­tional and ex­er­cise plan, but there are some di­etary and life­style ap­proaches that may help en­hance more ab­dom­i­nal fat loss, such as in­clud­ing green tea (up to 6 cups), re­duc­ing su­gar, eat­ing smaller meals and more slowly, learn­ing to breath cor­rectly and prac­tis­ing mindfulness and stress man­age­ment.

• “Ex­cess en­ergy, high su­gar, re­fined car­bo­hy­drates, high sat­u­rated fat, ex­cess al­co­hol and ex­cess food can con­trib­ute to ex­pand­ing waist lines and there­fore ab­dom­i­nal fat,” tells di­eti­tian, Ge­orgie Rist. “Plus, poor gut health can con­trib­ute to weight gain and in­flam­ma­tion which can in­ter­fere with fat loss. An un­healthy gut can also cause bloat­ing which may play a role in per­ceived high belly fat. High salt in­take and stress can also cause bloat­ing and ex­pand­ing waist­bands.”

• Gut health is ob­vi­ously im­por­tant for a flat tummy, but less ob­vi­ously, so is our men­tal health. Many peo­ple don’t re­alise the ef­fects that stress has on belly fat, and by re­duc­ing our stress levels we may be able to kick-start our road to flat­ter tummy.

• When your stress levels are high your body pro­duces more of the hor­mone cor­ti­sol, which makes the body re­sist weight loss. Stress makes your body think you’re in dan­ger and you might starve, so you hang on to the calo­ries you con­sume like a squir­rel stor­ing nuts for win­ter.

• “Learn how to switch off and im­ple­ment stress man­age­ment strate­gies, such as med­i­ta­tion, yoga or what­ever that is re­lax­ing to switch off your stress hor­mone, cor­ti­sol,” sug­gests Ge­orgie. “Stress triggers our fight or flight re­sponse and is use­ful when run­ning from tigers in the wild but ob­vi­ously we don't do that much. Cor­ti­sol can also be your en­emy when raised long term and when cou­pled with an un­healthy diet and life­style, plays havoc on your health and waist line.”

4 BUILD UP YOUR STRENGTH TRAIN­ING

• Do some jump­ing moves be­fore you start. Your mus­cles rely on elec­tric­ity to move – the power is con­trolled by the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem and jump­ing moves switch this on. “This helps light up your mus­cles for the rest of the ses­sion, al­low­ing you to lift heav­ier weights and get more from your work­out,” says strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Rob Jack­son.

• Do weights be­fore car­dio. This has a dou­ble ef­fect, ex­plains per­sonal trainer Tom Fitzger­ald. Not only will you be able to lift more as your mus­cles aren’t tired, but high-in­ten­sity re­sis­tance train­ing stim­u­lates hor­mones that mo­bilise fatty acids into the blood, he says. “You then burn these for fuel dur­ing your car­dio train­ing, pow­er­ing this up as well.”

• Lift the heav­i­est weights you can. “Heavy weights will not make you bulky,” says strength coach Joseph Agresta. “Warm up with lighter weights, then pick a weight that mea­sures seven out of 10. Now aim to do four to eight reps with that weight. If at the end you couldn’t man­age to lift any more, that weight is spot on for get­ting re­sults for you.”

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