And A Flat Stomach

The secret is to have some self-discipline, and self-control.  This really isn't a secret but many people just don't seem to believe it, they want a magic pill or ancient Tibetan trick to achieve their desired fitness results.  Despite the many claims of advertising on an abundance of websites, the only way to get a nice stomach is to work hard for it.  Now, if you are going to read this article and still insist on drinking 2 liters of soda a day.....there isn't much I, or anyone else, can do for you.  The only real trainer that matters is YOU, so make a DAILY commitment for yourself to eat healthy and exercise.  I knew a very obese man a while back, and he insisted he could not lose weight even though he "ate salads and worked out everyday."  I had dinner at his house one time and he had 3 huge servings of chicken and potatoes with extra butter and several sodas plus dessert; he was still eating after the rest of us had finished.  Gee, I wonder why he couldn't lose weight!!

In regards to exercise, the number one rule towards six pack abs if you are overweight is cardio.  Go for a jog every single day.  Aside from a good pair of shoes, running is free and you don't need a gym membership to do it.  I've seen large people spending close to half an hour on ab machines at the gym apparently expecting to destroy stomach fat and leaving the gym with a ripped tummy (but still with fat arms and legs??).  CARDIO FIRST.  Get your heart rate up and keep it high for at least 30 minutes a day.  If you do have a gym membership, the elliptical machines are a close second to jogging in terms of calories burned per hour and they put less stress on your knees and hips which is especially important to consider if you are grossly obese.  How do you get six pack abs from running?  Because after you've burned off all your unhealthy excess fat, there is a nice flat stomach ready to reveal underneath!  To make your abs show, you need to achieve a low body fat percentage.

Think of it like this: You have a very watery bowl of chicken noodle soup in front of you, but there is so much water and broth you can't see the chicken or the noodles!  Suck off some of that liquid (your stomach fat) and the good, yummy stuff will be revealed (your six pack!).

It is still important to do stomach exercises; a strong midsection is good for the whole body, most notably the back.  The best workouts for your stomach are bicycles, leg lifts, and standard crunches.  Be sure to do each motion with proper form and without rushing (slow down!).  Just a few minutes a day can make a solid and effective difference in the formation of your muscles.  If you are already slim, but want bigger and more defined abs, you should spend more time on working those muscles.  A major key towards ANY muscle-building activity is to mix it up - Keep Your Muscles Guessing! For example, do the standard exercises for a couple weeks straight, then on the third week make each workout much harder so that you can only do about have as many repetitions as usual.  Do this by adding weight, such as holding a 10 pound dumbbell behind your head for the crunches. 

Finally, nutrition.  This is the most important part of the whole plan.  Everybody on the planet can benefit from a healthy diet with lots of protein, fiber, and vitamins/minerals.  I will go into details about proper nutrition in another article, but for now know that portion control is where many people fail at achieving their fitness goals.  You should not eat until you are "stuffed" but just until you are no longer craving food.  It is also important to drink LOTS of water; not only will this benefit your weight loss goals, but water is also a lot cheaper than food (ie. you can save a little ca$h)! 
There are several other factors worth mentioning that can contribute significantly to your weight loss/gain.  The first would be sleep.  If you aren't getting adequate, restful sleep then your body will be under stress and want to hold on to any extra weight you have and less willing to burn calories.  Stress from other aspects of your life can also contribute to holding onto fat.  The human body hates stress; the more relaxed you are, the better your health will be all around and you will live longer.  Studies have shown that when rats and mice are given high volumes of Vitamin C, the stress hormones are very significantly reduced. 

Thank you for reading, and good luck!