How to get a flat stomach: Best exercise & healthy eating tips

Heather Campbell
 min read

How to get a flat stomach isn’t just about looking good. Fat in the abdominal area can have some serious health repercussions.

How to get a flat stomach: Best exercise & healthy eating tipsWould you also love to have a nice, flat belly? Are you doing your best to exercise often and eat as healthy as you can, but alas, to no avail?

A flat stomach is aesthetically pleasing, but it is also essential for health reasons to remove visceral fat around the stomach area. Exercise and healthy eating are the best way to get a flat stomach, and it is essential to be disciplined in terms of both nutrition and training.

It can be frustrating to see that your efforts are not producing results. But don’t think that it’s an impossible goal.

It looks nice, and a tight belly is also better for your health. Belly fat has some very detrimental effects on your body.

So how do you get a flat stomach? Read about the dangers of belly fat and how to lose belly fat with healthy eating and exercise.

How to get a flat stomach: Introduction

That being overweight is bad for your health is evident by now.

But did you know that belly fat can still be there, even if you don’t see it?

Why is belly fat so unhealthy?

The fat surrounding the stomach area, is called visceral fat and is near and around your organs, thus affecting their functions.

Two types of belly fat

There are 2 types of belly fat:

  • Subcutaneous fat: This is fat under your skin that you can see. Think of the well-known fat rolls (love handles) or the beer belly in men.
  • Visceral fat: This is fat you can’t see. Even if you are slim and have a healthy weight, you can have it. It’s around your organs, internally in your body.

Both types of fat are unhealthy:

  • Subcutaneous fat may contribute to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • But visceral fat is even more dangerous. Here are some of the most significant disadvantages of visceral fat:

Disrupted hormones

Your hormone levels get out of balance because of visceral fat.

Digestion and sex hormones can be affected as it causes a decrease in testosterone.

This has a ripple effect, affecting all processes involving hormones.

Fatty liver disease due to organ fat

Visceral fat can cause fatty liver degeneration, which prevents the liver from functioning optimally.

If fatty liver is not addressed, it can lead to liver inflammation. This is quite serious and may eventually cause permanent damage.

Fortunately, a fatty liver can recover if you catch it in time.

Inflammatory responses due to internal abdominal fat

Visceral fat makes certain substances that cause inflammatory reactions.

It affects several organs, including the kidneys, liver, intestines, and pancreas. These organs become inflamed, causing all of your indigestion.

Organs in trouble due to organ fat

It puts a strain on your organs because it’s around them.

In your lungs, for example, it can cause shortness of breath.

High blood pressure

Visceral fat produces substances that disrupt various bodily functions, causing high blood pressure, for example.

Often you don’t even have symptoms due to high blood pressure, but it nevertheless causes continuous damage to the body.

If the heart has to exert too much effort to pump the blood around, high blood pressure can damage your blood vessels.

Risk of diabetes from visceral fat

Due to too much fat in the blood, the cells become sensitized to insulin, so more insulin must be produced each time to have an effect.

This puts tremendous pressure on the pancreas until it cannot produce enough insulin.

At that point, blood sugar levels will rise too much, increasing the risk of diabetes.

And once you have diabetes, you have to deal with other symptoms such as diseases of the blood vessels and nerves.

Whether you are overweight or not, it is essential to get rid of your belly fat, both visible and invisible.

It is possible through a combination of working out and consuming healthy food.

Tip: Check our other post for practical tips on how to lose belly fat: How to lose belly fat in 3 simple steps: Your roadmap to ripped abs

Training for a tight belly: Devices and exercises

To lose weight and abdominal fat, exercises for the abdominal muscles are essential. These exercises can be done with or without devices.

Ab exercise machines to train your abdominal muscles

With an abdominal machine, you make performing abdominal exercises just a little bit easier.

They exist in different forms. The best-known abdominal machines are the following:

Ab wheel

This simple wheel with handles can give you a solid abs workout.

You hold the handles with your hands, push off your feet, and then ride the wheel forward.

This requires significant effort from your abdominal muscles. Working out with an ab wheel is challenging and, therefore, beginners should take it easy.

Did you know that you can practically train your entire upper body with the ab wheel?

Ab workout station

This exercise device consists of a metal frame with a seat and several adjustable levers and handles.

You can do various exercises on it, from sit-ups to crunches to knee raises. Set resistance by using weights.

With an abdominal trainer like this, you can train your abdominal muscles exactly the way you want.

This abdominal machine is comfortable to use and suitable for both beginners and advanced users.

Floor trainer

This abdominal machine is equipped with a roll bar, a curved frame with support for your head that helps when doing sit-ups.

The ab trainer allows you to train all your abdominal muscles (the low, oblique, and upper abs).

The ab trainer is easy to use by both beginners and advanced users.

Training abdominal muscles without devices

Do you want to train for a flat stomach but don’t feel like buying a particular fitness machine for this?

Then you can also train your abs very well by doing specific exercises. Certain classic abdominal exercises are also very effective.

For example, the following exercises to strengthen the trunk and abdominal muscles are highly suitable and effective in strengthening your core.

Do them on a cushioned mat to have more grip, and so your back doesn’t hurt on the hard ground.

Bicycle crunches (air cycling)

Lie on your back on the mat and bring your knees up. Then lift your shoulders off the ground while extending your left leg and moving your left elbow toward your right knee.

Then, alternate sides, do the same with your right leg and right elbow and keep moving crosswise. You also use the oblique abdominal muscles in this process.

Planking

The plank is an effective exercise to get a tight belly and train your abdominal muscles.

Start lying on your stomach on the floor and resting on your elbows and forearms. Lift your body off the ground by pressing your toes into the ground and lifting your hips and knees to come off the ground.

Tense your abdominal muscles well, and make sure your back is straight. It should form a straight line with your body that does not sag at waist level.

Start with 10 seconds of staying in the upright plank position and, over time, try to build this up to 30 seconds.

If possible, repeat this exercise several times for maximum effect on your trunk stability and abdominal muscles.

Sit-ups

Lie on the floor on your back, and place your feet on the floor by your buttocks by bending the knees.

Hold your arms crossed in front of you but do not grab your shoulders. Tighten your abdominal muscles and come up until you are almost seated. Use the strength of your abdominal muscles to come up.

Then lower yourself back down gently.

For this exercise make sure you only use your abs and not the muscles in your lower back.

Tips for doing abdominal exercises

There are many other exercises and abdominal machines to get that flat belly you so desperately want.

Are you planning to train your abs? Then pay attention to the following tips:

You need to start feeling your abs

If you’ve trained your torso and abs but don’t feel your abs afterward, your workouts aren’t tough enough.

If you can easily reach the number of repetitions per session, it’s not so beneficial to do more. Instead, it is better to make the exercise a little more challenging.

Use weights around your ankles or wrists. This immediately makes a big difference.

Good execution is more important than repetition

When you start doing abdominal exercises, you may try to do as many repetitions as possible.

However, it is more important to perform your exercise correctly than to do as many repetitions as possible.

Ensure you engage your abdominal muscles correctly by paying attention to your posture and execution. If you do your exercise quickly because you’re eager to get to that number of repetitions, you’re not training efficiently and effectively.

In fact, an abdominal exercise will generally be harder (and therefore make your muscles stronger) if you do it slowly.

So, on the contrary, try to slowly sink back to the ground from a sit-up position.

This makes your abdominal muscles to apply more force to avoid hurting your back when you land.

Train all abdominal muscles

Most abdominal exercises emphasize the upper abdominal muscles.

But make no mistake, the other abdominal muscles are also important to train.

Carry out exercises to make the low abdominal muscles (by doing a series of leg raises, for example) and middle abdominal muscles strong (do a series of side crunches, for example).

Consume healthy food

Exercising your abs is a good start, but it won’t be enough to get a flat stomach.

It is crucial to make adjustments in your diet as well. Eating healthy will help you lose weight and belly fat and prevent it from coming back.

In other words, if you only choose to do abdominal training and don’t make any changes in your diet, you will get solid but invisible abs. You won’t be able to see them then, unfortunately, because they remain hidden behind a layer of fat.

Want that six-pack? Be disciplined in terms of nutrition as much as training.

The only surefire way to get a flat stomach is by making a lasting change to your diet and making healthier choices.

People often assume that they are already eating healthy because, for example, they don’t eat fast food and cook for themselves every night.

And while that’s obviously already an excellent step in the right direction, you might benefit from the following advice.

Healthy food has few simple carbohydrates

The formation of belly fat is also due to eating too many simple carbohydrates.

What are simple carbohydrates?

Simple carbohydrates are often called sugars, consisting of one or two molecules. They occur naturally in fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose).

We get the sugar we add to foods from sugar beets or sugar cane. You might know it as sucrose.

Sucrose consists of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Glucose or dextrose is the primary source of energy for our body cells.

On the label of food products, you will find the number of sugars, referred to as “carbohydrates of which sugars.” These can be either added sugars or naturally occurring sugars (or a combination of both).

The negative impact of simple carbohydrates on our weight

Our usual American way of eating is usually very high in carbohydrates. We eat bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, cereal, cookies, and cakes.

Always choose foods with whole grains (whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal), legumes, potatoes, vegetables, and fruits.

Avoid foods that are high in simple carbohydrates as they harm our weight:

  • Simple carbohydrates cause eating disorders such as binge eating. As they raise blood sugar levels, insulin is produced. That, in turn, lowers blood sugar, but that causes cravings and hunger. This will keep you eating, which can eventually lead to obesity.
  • You store fat faster as such carbohydrates are easily stored as body fat. In other words, if you want to lose belly fat, stop eating a lot of simple carbohydrates.
  • Simple carbohydrates provide energy quickly, but they are also burned up quickly, making an accelerated energy dip possible. It makes you feel tired, which often causes you to crave an unhealthy snack.
  • Sweeteners are added in place of sugar in some products. Examples of sweeteners are aspartame, saccharin, or stevia. These provide little or no calories.

Low-carb eating is the message for a tight belly

So, a low-carbohydrate diet can help you get a flat stomach and lose weight. You can then eat fewer carbohydrates without sacrificing food quality and nutritional value.

This allows you to lose weight and healthily burn belly fat. The advantage of a low-carb diet is that you won’t be hungry.

Your body normally uses carbohydrates as fuel, but your body will switch to proteins and fats for energy during a low-carb diet.

Related post: Can fat be turned into muscle? Myth debunked + Tips to build muscle

Because proteins and fats digest more slowly in the stomach, you feel full for longer, effectively delaying the next time you’ll be hungry.

You’ll soon find that you can make delicious and flavorful low-carb meals and that you won’t miss carbohydrates by themselves very much at all.

The nice thing is that you can always continue to eat low-carb! It is very healthy, and you get all the nutrients you need.

It is an ideal diet to stick to and stay at your healthy weight.

So, with the help of a low-carb diet (avoid simple carbohydrates), you can easily lose belly fat and finally get that flat belly, especially if you supplement this with sufficient exercise and abdominal exercises.

Healthy food is pure and fresh

This may sound obvious, but food from a packet, tray, package, or sachet is not the healthiest.

Edited means that all kinds of things have been added to the product, or something has been changed about the original product.

Food often has sugar, colorants, and preservatives added to it. And all of these added substances tax our bodies.

You need to be especially careful because many products have unnecessary sugar added to them.

These hidden sugars increase your daily caloric intake (which you may not even realize you are ingesting).

Consider added sugar in desserts, cookies, sauces, cold cuts, etc.

So the wisest thing to do is not only to cook yourself but also to make your own sauces, marinades, and dressings. And choose healthy sandwich fillings.

Do you like snacks? Then make these yourself or opt for healthy snacks like nuts, cheese, or snack vegetables.

How to get a flat stomach: Conclusion

There is no easy or quick way to get a flat stomach, so we hope this article may serve as a guide on how to get a flat stomach.

The right lifestyle makes a flat stomach possible, allowing you to zip up those jeans without having to lie flat on the bed!

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More