Many of us spend hours a week training in the gym or on the road trying to strengthen and tone our core. FUTURELIFE Dietician, Lara De Santana shares her tips to get washboard abs & toned tummies the healthy way.
As they say, ‘Abs are made in the kitchen, and not in the gym alone. Diet is often neglected and people feel that they can eat what they want if they are exercising well, but this is simply not true and the results speak for themselves,’ says Futurelife Dietician, Lara De Santana
Here are some guidelines to get washboard abs and toned tummies through exercise and diet:
- Eat 6 times a day and choose low GI-food. Eating regular low-GI meals and snacks will keep your blood sugar levels stable and prevent you from craving unhealthy snacks. Alternate larger meals with smaller snacks and eat every 2 to 3 hours. This will keep you full and satisfied, which reduces the likelihood of a diet-destroying binge.
- Drink smoothies on a regular basis. Smoothies can act as meal substitutes and potent snacks. Even better, they’re quick to whip up. FUTURELIFE® berry whey powder, or peanut butter flavours will satisfy your sweet tooth; and their thickness takes up space in your stomach. Just make sure to use low-fat and nutrient-dense ingredients to get optimum results.
- Decrease your saturated fat and sodium intake. These are found in all animal products, such as meat fat, chicken skin, full cream milk and full fat cheese. Cut the fat off your meat before you cook it, grill instead of fry and choose low-fat options where possible. Sodium (found in table salt) can make you bloated, so cut down to a bare minimum wherever possible.
- Increase your fibre intake. Fibre keeps you regular and your metabolism at a healthy level, too. Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, with their skins intact; include beans, peas and legumes in your diet; and stick to wholegrain breads and cereals.
- Hydrate! Not only does a regular intake of water assist in filling you up (thirst is often misinterpreted as hunger), it also flushes waste products from your body when fat is broken down for energy and proteins are properly processed. Water is also partly responsible for transporting nutrients to your muscles to keep your metabolism going. Other healthy hydration options include low-fat milk and green or rooibos tea.
- Exercise! If you’re weight training; use your time wisely while at the gym. Focus on quality rather than quantity. Cardio is also important as your core muscles get a workout when you exercise on an unstable base — like when you’re standing on one leg or on top of a wobbly rubber disk. The standard crunch can pack major benefits if done correctly, but you can also use a ball to get more out of your crunches.
- Eat Probiotics. Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that we need in our gut. They help strengthen your immune system and (together with fibre) keep you regular. So eat a little yoghurt daily! Prebiotics provide ‘food’ for probiotics, and these are also essential to add to your health routine.