This is a sponsored column by Jessica Storm, ACSM Health/Fitness Specialist and NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. Jessica is the owner of Storm Fitness — a personal training and nutrition company based in Reston. Storm Fitness has been servicing the Northern Virginia area for over a decade and has received numerous recognitions for the life-changing results they have delivered to their clients. Read more about their offerings at www.StormFitness.com
There are ways to whittle your midsection without exercise. Here are six tips to make it happen:
1. Work on Perfecting Your Posture: When my clients come in to see me, the first thing we do is a posture assessment. It’s amazing how our bodies can slump over the minute we get tired. This in turn causes us to disengage our core and overwork certain muscle groups.
When muscles aren’t engaged and working, our bodies certainly aren’t burning calories as efficiently. Not only that, but your belly is going to look a lot bigger than it actually is if you’re hunched over. Try standing up tall, shoulders back and naval to the spine.Think about it often during the day and keep practicing. I often have my clients perform pelvic tilts and other drills to work on their posture. Soon it becomes second nature and they don’t even have to think about it anymore.
2. Make Clean Eating the Majority: Believe it or not, when it comes to the belly area what you are eating is way more important than the exercises you are performing. Sure, there are boatloads of abdominal exercises (I have mad tricks up my sleeve) to tighten and tone the tummy, but ultimately if you are building muscle with a layer of fat on top you will never “see” your abs. What you might inadvertently be doing is making your pant size even tighter by building up the muscle on top of fat.
Practice clean eating along with the toning exercises and you will start feeling your midsection melt down in no time.
Here are the clean eating basics:
- Eliminate processed, refined foods and sugars.
- Try sticking to whole foods with only one ingredient in them and cook your own foods.
- Work with a professional to get a customized food plan that is right for your body type and to know if you have any food allergies. There are some very healthy foods that might be beneficial for one person and inflammatory for another.
3. Avoid Foods That Bloat and Cause Gas: Drinking through a straw, chewing gum and sucking on hard candy can all cause gassiness because they increase how much air you swallow. In addition, sweeteners, dairy and whole grains are some main food culprits that can often be the source of major bloat.
Other healthy culprits can sometimes be beans and vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage. Fruits like carrots, apricots and prunes can sometimes also lead to bloating. Trying an elimination diet is the best way to see if these foods might be causing your tummy issues.
4. Eat Slowly and Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals: Overeating and eating too fast can be major culprits of bloat, causing your stomach to look twice its size.
Often we don’t realize how quickly we are chowing down our meals. This in turn can cause us to overeat. Before our brains and stomachs can register what we’ve fed it, we’ve already eaten twice as much as we should. Not to mention, not chewing your food long enough can lead to digestion issues.
Breaking your meals into smaller increments throughout the day can also make digestion easier and reduce your chances of bloating. Try playing around with it to see what works best for you. But whatever you do, make your meals sacred and give yourself the time you need to properly enjoy your meals slowly.
5. Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night: Study after study shows that getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night can dramatically reduce the amount of weight you put on — especially around your middle. Plus, you’ll feel and function way better throughout your day. Enough said.
6. Try this Metabolism Boosting Drink: Apple cider vinegar has long been touted for its health benefits. Scientific studies now show it boosts metabolism. Try combining it with these other metabolic boosters for a morning pick-me-up: 12 oz. water mixed (I like mine with warm water) with 2 Tbsp. of apple cider vinegar (please get the raw unfiltered kind with the “mother” in it), 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 dash of Cayenne Pepper (optional – a little goes a long way so be careful here). Try adding raw organic honey to taste.