A Flatter Stomach Forever!

How to achieve a flat stomach has been the main source of countless books, dvd’s, pills and gadgets. Each one promising a more toned mid-section in no time at all. Whilst there isn’t a ‘quick fix’ solution, there are 3 simple things that will help you to achieve a flatter, stronger stomach.

1. Train the TVA

The tranversus abdominis is a deep abdominal muscle that wraps around the mid-section. As it contracts it draws the belly-button toward the spine and forms a ‘corset-like’ protective girdle. If this muscle is kept strong it will help to flatten the stomach as well as offer a huge amount of support and stability for the rest of the body. A simple way to train the TVA is an exercise called the 4-Point Vacuum.

Kneel down on all fours with your spine in a neutral position, your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. Take a deep breath in and let your stomach drop towards the floor (pictured below).

As you exhale try to pull your belly-button up towards your spine without rounding your back (if you are this indicates rectus abdominus activation) and try to hold this for 5 seconds (pictured below).

Practice this until you can hold the contraction for 10 reps of 10 second holds (being able to breathe and keep the contraction is a skill that is very important).

2. Include Transverse Plane Movements

Our bodies are designed to move in 3 planes; sagittal, frontal and transerve planes. A lot of exercise regimes tend to lack frontal and transverse plane movements (transverse plane movement involves rotation of the mid-section). This utilises the external and internal obliques found either side of the trunk. A good example of how an exercise can work these muscles is the cable woodchop (pictured below).

Stand next to a high-pulley cable column and grip the handle. Use the hand that is furthest away from the column first and place the other hand on top. Adopt a wide stance with your bodyweight split 70/30 in favour of the leg closest to the column. Initiate the movement by driving off the leg closest to the column and simultanously rotating your body away until your hands are just outside the line of your knee. Try to keep your arms straight throughtout the rotation as this will focus the effort on the obliques even more.

3. Diet

Eat according to your Metabolic Type – This will allow you to feel fuller for longer, control sugar-cravings and aid weight & bodyfat loss. If you do not know what metabolic type you are, contact a CHEK HLC (Holistic Lifestyle Coach). They will be able to help you find out and plan a diet that will work for you.

Avoid Sugars – These are easily stored as fat if not burnt off with exercise. They can also play havoc with our bodies blood sugar levels and can make us feel hungry very quickly after eating foods high in sugar.

Food Intolerences – If you have an intolerance to wheat, gluten or dairy trying to avoid these foods can have a massive impact on flattening your stomach. Not only will the bloating caused by intolerances make your stomach appear bigger then it really is, it will also intefere with the function of the TVA and other stabilizer muscles.

Eating Late – Eating late at night means that you are consuming calories that are unlikely to be burnt off before you go to bed so they are likely to be stored as fat. Try to make breakfast the biggest meal of the day and each meal after that, smaller. This will leave fewer calories to be stored as fat in the evening.