This shot was taken when the youngest of my 3 boys was just 8 months old. Every one is different, so in no way should you compare your progress with mine, but here are some tips on burning that stubborn belly fat.
1. Start building your core strength. I worked often on my transverse abdominals (TVA), which is your deepest core muscle. It’s not a muscle you can SEE, but it’s the core set of muscles that provides you with stability, balance and strength. After having children (esp giving birth back to back) it was important that I work on my TVA at least a few times a week. I performed planks, side planks and various bridge exercises.
2. Strengthen your lower back. Most women (and people in general) focus on the parts they see versus what they can’t, which is their backside! Very often, we have bad posture (shoulders forward, slouching, belly sticking out) that not only promotes a bad lower back but also weak core muscles. By standing up straight and drawing your belly in, not only are you lengthening your ab area, but you are also tightening your back muscles. I like to perform ‘supermans’ and back extensions a few times a week. By focusing on my lower back, my abs came in more naturally.
3. Focus on all three aspects to build a stronger core: strength, cardio and good nutrition. Sometimes people weight train but have an unhealthy diet, and they appear ‘thicker’. Sometimes people perform a lot of cardio and look ‘skinny fat’. Sometimes people focus on good nutrition but lack endurance, strength or flexibility! You need to incorporate all three in order to build a fat-churning metabolism.
4. Have good digestion. Sometimes there could be 2-3lbs of waste sitting right there in your midsection. If you are not expelling consistently then it’s staying in your body. Make sure you are drinking lots of fluid, eating fibrous foods, exercising and maintaining your stress levels.
5. Speaking of stress…if you are having a hard time dealing with life situations, it could be the hormone, cortisol, in your body, which promotes fat in your midsection. Do some research. It’s true!
6. One of the ways to beat the stress is to have enough rest. It’s so tough when you’re a mom to get that rest (esp in the beginning), which is why you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Nap when you can and try to not become too sleep-deprived as it becomes very stressful!
7. Immediately after giving birth I nursed (which helped contract my uterus and burn calories) and I also massaged my belly to help bring my uterus down as well. Within six weeks my belly was flat – but it was still not in the condition it once was! That takes months to build back.
8. Never give up. For many it’s the very last place you will lose fat. You will have toned arms, toned legs and a muffin top! I know it’s frustrating but that means you to have work really, really hard. When I got to that point I would have intense cardio sessions, alternate my eating plans and perform my ab exercises a little longer! Having a great midsection is something most people covet, so it won’t be easy! The results, however, will be worth it!
Here are my favorite AB exercises:
2. Side Planks
4. Reverse Crunches on an incline bench
6. Toe Touches
7. Russian Twists