To get bikini-ready one thing that gets your attention is your tummy. Often people believe getting a washboard stomach requires hundreds of sit-ups, but according to James Duigan, body guru and A-listed trainer, there is no one trick that works for everyone. He has identified 5 tummy types that require different approaches to reach the desired shape. James works with supermodels like Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley, and teaches about different tummy types and their respective approaches:
- 1- The Spare Tire
Those with the spare tire usually lead sedentary lives, often with desk jobs, they are also more tempted by sugary foods. According to James this is one of the easiest tummy problems that can be eliminated. Not enough exercise and munching on the wrong foods cause the spare tire. Stay away from sugar and refined carbohydrates like biscuits, white bread, pasta, rice, and cakes. Start exercising more. If you don’t adopt these habits you are more likely to be overweight with excess fat on your legs and hips.
–> Makeover plan:
- Stop drinking alcohol, James says, “Alcohol is a fat bomb for the tummy — pure sugar which goes straight to your waist and stops burning all other fat until the booze has been processed.” If you want a flat belly you must cut out alcohol.
- 2 weeks after you stop drinking check your diet. Eat healthier and exercise more. Avoid low-fat or fat-free foods as these products are packed with chemicals, refined sugar, salt, and preservatives to add flavor.
- Start your day by eating eggs, smoked salmon, grilled chicken, and vegetables. Don’t hesitate to enjoy good fats in avocados, nuts, and oily fish as they help your body burn midriff fat resulting in a flat tummy.
- Exercise, go on brisk walks, do lunges, squats, and dips at home. You don’t need a gym.
- 2- The Little Pooch
This tummy type happens to women who are busy with their families and/or have demanding careers. Even if they go to the gym they usually stick to the same foods and exercise. These foods can keep you slim but leave you with a little pooch. Avoid doing excess crunches and using gym items like ab-rollers as it puts pressure on the hip flexors and lower back which causes your tummy muscles to protrude and your tummy stick out.
–> Makeover Plan:
1. First treat digestion problems like inflammation, bloating, and constipation with ample nutrition and fiber. These make tummy pooch worse. Start eating green leafy vegetables, and whole grains for adequate fiber.
2. If you are doing sit-ups do them the right way, when done incorrectly it can increase your lower back curve and give rise to tummy pooch. Swap sit-ups for planks, lie face down on a mat resting on your forearms. Push yourself up rising onto your toes and elbows so that your body lies parallel to the floor from head to heels. Start with 10 seconds and build up to 1 minute.
3. Some women believe lifting weights will bulk them up, but the opposite is true. By using weights you can burn a good amount of fat in a short time. Use them during exercise like squats or lunges.
Tip: Drink plenty of water and eat foods that are easy to digest like green vegetables and lighter protein like fish and chicken.
3. The Stress Tummy
People with stressed tummy are often over-achievers and are susceptible to digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which can cause bloating and make your tummy look bigger. You can easily identify a stress tummy with weight lying specifically to the front of the midriff and the umbilical area, when you touch them they are hard instead of soft.
Avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast, and stop excess caffeine. Avoid junk foods for the sake of your tummy.
–> Makeover Plan:
1. Improve your sleeping habits, go to bed earlier and sleep sound. Often those with stressed tummy have poor sleeping habits. Healthy sleep produces hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.
2. Fight exhaustion and stress by practicing deep breathing, meditation, and/or long baths before you go to bed to improve your sleep. Limit your coffee to 2 cups a day.
3. Practice yoga and go for long walks to strengthen your immune system. Avoid excessive cardio that increases cortisol levels.
4. Eat foods rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps soothe a stressed body. Dark green leafy vegetables and Brazil nuts are good sources.
4. The Bloated Tummy
These bellies are usually flat in the morning but as the day passes they swell up due to gas and indigestion. Bloating can affect slim and overweight women and is often caused by food intolerances and allergies or sluggish bowels as a result of poor diet.
Stop eating foods you feel you have an intolerance for.
–> Makeover Plan:
1. The most common intolerances are wheat and gluten products like pasta, pizza, bread, pastries, cakes, and cereals. Processed dairy products like cheese, butter, and milk and yeast in bread and beer should be eliminated. Gluten can inflame your stomach and make it look bigger.
2. Eat a regular breakfast and make it the biggest meal of the day, this is when your digestion process is at its peak. Avoid eating late at night which causes bloating. Chew your food well and drink enough water to keep your digestive system healthy.
Tip: Breathing is the best technique for this type of tummy. In the morning lie on your back and relax, breathe deeply into your stomach at least 10 times. Go for a walk after your meal.
5. The Mummy Tummy
The mummy tummy usually belongs to women who have given birth in the last few years and are typical mommies, who lack time for themselves. James states, “After giving birth, the uterus drops and is much heavier than it was pre-pregnancy.” Your tummy takes at least 6 weeks to return to its usual size, so don’t try too hard to get it back before then.
You may need to increase blood flow and strengthen loose muscles. Avoid harsh exercise for 2-3 months after pregnancy, take a break!
–> Makeover Plan:
1. Take fish oil or other sources of omega-3 acids which turn on fat-burning hormones and turn off the fat-storing ones.
2. Increase good fats found in nuts, vegetable oils, and olives. They help burn fat and increase absorption of vitamins and nutrients. It will also help combat fatigue, good news for tired moms!
3. Try gentle pelvic floor exercises, they will flatten your tummy from the inside out. Squeeze and clench your pelvic floor muscles 15-20 times, 5 times a day.
4. Avoid crunches, they are the worst thing you can do post-pregnancy. Practice deep breathing exercises to flatten your tummy. Take a deep abdominal breath then exhale slowly while doing pelvic exercises.
Tip: Go for power naps during the day, use blackout blinds while you sleep. Stretch before bed to restore sleep hormones and boost fat-burning.