Rules to a Flat Tummy

Rules to a Flat Tummy

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Measuring your tummy helps keep track of your progress.

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Turning your tummy from a problem area into your best asset takes some effort on your part. A correct approach that includes a healthy diet, cardio and strength training can help reduce your body fat. When this happens, the fat around your middle will also budge, and before you know it, you'll wish that every day was a hot summer day so you can show off the results of your hard work.

It's All About Calories

One of the rules to losing fat from any part of your body is that you create a daily caloric deficit. Although you can do this by dieting, recommends also including exercise, because it burns calories and helps you keep the weight off long-term. They suggest losing no more than one to two pounds per week, since faster weight loss often requires drastic measures that can negatively impact your health. Since one pound of fat has 3,500 calories, a daily deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories can help you achieve the expert-recommended weight-loss rate.

Don't Be Afraid to Sweat

Thirty minutes of moderate cardio on most days of the week can burn calories and help you lose weight. For instance, a 150-pound person can burn 460 calories by jogging for 30 minutes at a speed of 7 mph; or 120 calories by bicycling at a speed of 6 mph; and 160 calories by walking at a pace of 3 mph. Periodically speeding up to a vigorous pace for about one minute during your workout can really kick up your caloric burn. These high-intensity intervals force your body to work harder, and are known to effectively burn body and belly fat.

Lift Pounds, Lose Pounds

Twice a week on nonconsecutive days, work strength training into your schedule. Although you burn calories during strength training, the aftermath is equally effective, because the more muscle tissue you have the more calories you burn; it's a coveted rule to a flat tummy. Muscle tissue is metabolically active; it uses up many calories just to sustain itself. Compound exercises, such as bench presses, pushups, and deadlifts, and combination exercises, such as lunges with lateral raises, step-ups with biceps curls, and squats with overhead presses, work multiple muscles for optimal caloric and fat burn.

Sculpt Your Tummy

Losing weight through diet and exercise can result in a flat tummy, but to add definition to your midsection, targeted exercises are required. As part of a full-body strength-training routine, abdominal exercises stimulate muscle tissue, which burns calories. On their own, they won't effectively reduce fat from your middle, because spot reducing just one part of your body isn't possible. Perform exercises, such as lying toe touches, crunches, bicycle crunches, V-ups, and reverse crunches.

Safety and Diet Considerations

To cut calories from food, reduce your portions by 10 to 15 percent, and choose low-fat, nutritious foods, over high-calorie, weight-loss-sabotaging foods. Limiting alcohol, salt, sugar and trans and saturated fats can also help. Just because you're watching your caloric intake, doesn't mean compromising your health; ensure you get nutrients from veggies, fruits, whole grains, reduced-fat dairy products and lean protein. Before starting a diet or workout routine, see your doctor, especially if you suffer from a medical condition or injury.