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Infographic: How To Attain A Flat Belly

Infographic: How To Attain A Flat Belly

You are on the quest for a sexy stomach, but even zipping your pants has become a huge struggle. This can be really frustrating, particularly if you have been training hard every day and giving up on all your favorite foods, without much tangible success.

You may be after six-pack abs. You may have wanted to get rid of all that unwanted fat for good health. Your concern may be to be able to look good in a suit. Whatever the motive, your end goal is to get lean.

The success of your quest for a flat belly is the product of training, diet and perseverance. One of the major reasons for you to not see results in spite of doing all the hard work is that you’ve gotten your facts entirely wrong.

The infographic below by Fitness Republic includes everything you need to know about getting rid of that troublesome belly.

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Infographic

    Below are the key points from the above infographic, summarized.

    Rules for Fat Loss

    Green tea is not only rich in antioxidants and a great metabolism booster but an effective fat burner as well. One of the micronutrients present in green tea (polyphenol) helps the fat burning process.

    Burning calories via running, swimming, biking and everything else that increases the heart rate is much more effective in getting rid of visceral fat, compared to resistance training.

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    Breaking up meals into smaller meal portions but increasing the frequency of intake throughout the day distributes the calories and helps you lose weight much faster. You can also try carb cycling, which allows you to eat carbs without adding body fat.

    Belly Flattening Superstars

    Some of the listed food items are not only good to taste but highly helpful for belly flattening as well. One of them is almonds. Almonds can be used along with low-fat yogurt and berries to create a revitalizing meal for the morning. Moreover, fresh strawberries sprinkled over molten dark chocolate makes a perfect tummy flattening dessert.

    Flaxseed oil stirred into smoothie makes a healthy and hearty snack for the afternoon. Olive oils don’t just make great salads but extra virgin olive oil is arguably the healthiest oil for overall cooking. Pistachios along with honey and semi-sweet chocolate chips make a healthy sweet snack.

    Change Up Your Lifestyle

    Lifestyle change is another important step towards a flatter belly, as emphasized by the infographic above. You should eat lots of fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, broccoli and spinach.

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    Try to consume as little sugar as possible. Eat portion controlled meals which include whole grain foods and mono-unsaturated fats throughout the day. Your focus should be on cardiovascular exercises during the workout routine.

    Avoid fried foods as far as possible as even little consumption of such foods can leave all your hard work undone. However, don’t skip breakfast so as to attain a flat belly as a healthy breakfast is essential to jumpstart your body’s metabolism.

    No-crunch Flat Belly Workouts

    Workouts are as important as diet for healthier abs. It’s not necessary that you spend hours in the gym: the focus should be on continuity. Even half an hour of workout every day without frequent hiatuses will reap rewards in no time.

    The exercises need not necessarily involve crunches predominantly, in contrast to the common belief. Try out no-crunch ab exercises such as overhead squats, pull-ups, split leg-arm raises, split leg-arm reaches and barbell landmines and see their benefits for yourself.

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    Other Things to be Concerned About

    In spite of all your hard work and dedication, you may not be having much luck in attaining a flat belly. This could be attributed to several reasons. One of the reasons is lack of proper sleep, which increases the level of ghrelin that results in weight gain.

    Too much stress on the other hand releases a chemical called cortisol that lowers the process of fat burning. Packaged and fast food items meanwhile increase the level of cholesterol in blood.

    Involvement in exercises without full concentration also doesn’t help much. You may have spent hours on the workout but focused participation is what you need. A combination of different forms of exercises like cycling, yoga and aerobics can be even more effective.

    Featured photo credit: Chart via fitnessrepublic.com

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    Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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    Published on October 11, 2018

    7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

    7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

    Building and maintaining a strong upper back depends not only on strength-training, but stretching and nutrition as well. Stretching the upper back muscles, along with a healthy diet can help alleviate pain while improving endurance.

    Did you know that stretching your upper back builds endurance for sports, your job – which may require heavy lifting – and simple, everyday activities? Many people who exercise don’t recognize the importance of having a strong upper back, and often neglect this part of the body, focusing more on the lower back where injuries are more prone to occur.

    Upper back endurance is necessary for runners, hikers, golfers, tennis players, bowlers, cyclists; the list goes on and on. If saving time is important to you, you want to reduce chronic back pain, boost your energy levels, or you simply need ways to get through a day at the office while confined to a computer, you’ll begin to understand why the following upper back stretches and exercises are necessary.

    Here are seven stretches, combined with exercises, to help you maintain a strong upper back:

    1. Lat Pull-Downs

    By contracting and lengthening your latissimus dorsi muscles, trapezius, deltoids, rhomboids, teres major, along with the other muscles groups in and around your upper back, you are building muscle endurance and increasing mobility.

    Seated at a lat pull-down machine, select a weight stack that is comfortable. Remember, you’re not preparing for a bodybuilding competition, you just want to exercise the back, so heavy weight is unnecessary.

    Grab the wide bar above your head, palms down, and using a wide grip, pull the bar down to your chest and contract your upper back muscles.

    Keep your head up, looking at the bar. This also helps keep your spine straight and provides a clearance so that the bar doesn’t hit your face. Slowly return the bar to the top and repeat for 15 reps. Do three to four sets.

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    Here’s the correct technique by Denice Moberg:

    2. Indoor Rowing

    If upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or running outdoors bore you, you can strengthen your core using a rowing machine. Not only will you chisel your back, but the elongation of the upper back during the stroke motion creates a good stretch.

    First, select a tension that is challenging but not a struggle. Make sure that your feet are securely placed in the machine’s foot straps, nice and tight to prevent the feet from moving while rowing.

    Next, slide yourself in the rowing saddle forward toward the row bar and pull the bar toward the mid-section of your trunk area, which is the finish. Pulling the bar, bring your elbows beyond your back while contracting your upper muscles and rear shoulders.

    Your back should be straight with a slight angle of around 100 degrees. Do not hunch.

    During the catch, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle while locking out your arms completely. As a stretching exercise, repeat this motion for five minutes.

    Here’s how you can do it:

    3. Side Plank Rotation

    If you’re short on time, floor exercises such as planks strengthen your core and can be done at home or during your lunch break at work. They can be done in 30 to 60 second increments.

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    There are a few plank variations:

    The low-position forearm plank in which your body weight is supported by your elbows; the straight-arm plank, which is a high-position plank; side plank in which your body is turned to one side and supported by one straightened arm; the stability-ball plank which is more challenging for your trunk; and the plank that gives you a good stretch is the side plank rotation.

    To begin the side plank rotation, begin in the high plank position. Slowly turn your body to one side while stacking one foot on top of the other. Extend the opposite arm toward the ceiling and as you lower your arm, reaching underneath your body and rotating your trunk.

    Done properly, you will feel the stretch along your rhomboids and shoulders. Repeat the rotation – reaching and tucking – 10 times. Switch sides.

    Here’s a Side Plank Rotation demonstrated by Train Aggressive:

    4. Yoga Stretches

    A good way to incorporate breathing with stretching and gain flexibility in your core is Kundalini yoga – an intense yoga practice – gets your blood flowing and works wonders for the spine and posture.

    The “Cat-Cow” pose is a great upper back warm-up, and when combined with the “Breath Of Fire”[1] or “fast breathing,” energy is sent through the entire body which stimulates the flow of cell activity and increases lung capacity.

    On all fours, arms straight and directly below your shoulders, and knees directly below your hips, hunch your back, inhaling as you tuck your head into your chest, then exhale while arching your back and raise your head toward to sky.

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    The rapid inhaling and exhaling in this exercise is known as the “Breath Of Fire,” as mentioned above. Increase the pace of both the “Cat-Cow” and “Breath Of Fire” and repeat this movement for up to five minutes.

    This is how to do a Cat-Cow pose for energy:

    5. Side Bends

    This is a simple stretch to elongate the space between your ribs and increase range of motion, which helps achieve flexibility in the abdominals, spine, and lateral core.

    Seated or standing with your back straight, raise your arms above your head and firmly hold your wrist. Gently pull your trunk to one side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. When finished, repeat on opposite side.

    Note: If standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, if seated keep your feet flat on the floor.

    Let’s take a look at how to do a standing side bend:

    6. Pole Stretch

    By creating opposing force and pulling on a stationary object, you are stretching your lats. The upper sides of your back. Here, you are performing a static stretch which is a stretch held beyond its normal range.

    Find a pole, mounted gym apparatus, or other floor-affixed object and, while standing, pull on the object with slightly bent knees and back flat at a 45-degree angle.

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    Continue to pull while extending your arms, feeling the stretch in your lats and rhomboid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat if needed.

    7. Shoulder Blade Stretch

    The shoulder blades are connected to the rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Sudden, quick movements like pulling a heavy object or even tossing a near-weightless object overhead, like a tennis ball during a serve, can strain the unstretched muscles between your shoulder blades, causing spasms.

    Here’s how to avoid muscle strain:

    Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, gently pull your elbow across your chest, just beneath your chin, and hold for 15 seconds. If you do not feel immediate relief, try lowering or raising the elbow and perform the stretch again. Different angles can make a big difference.

    There you have it – Seven upper back stretches and exercises to reduce pain and improve endurance. But while upper back stretches are important, a diet rich in antioxidants is equally key.

    Bonus Tip: Getting a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

    Antioxidants, also known as “Super Foods,” prevent the build up of free radicals in your body and control oxidative stress. These free radicals are toxins that get in the way of endurance, flexibility, and cause inflammation, among other fitness obstacles.

    How do you incorporate antioxidants into your diet? Here are some common foods and beverages rich in antioxidants:

    A good combination of quick and easy targeted cardiovascular exercises, static stretches, range-of-motion stretches, and yoga poses can increase upper back endurance and boost your energy levels, making your activities – both sedentary and active – manageable and fun.

    Once you begin to incorporate these methods of relief into your routine, you will begin to walk taller, run farther, and hike longer!

    Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Yogapedia: Breath of Fire

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