Clichés to avoid

Miracle solutions

Products labelled ‘slimming’ or ‘revolutionary’ are not magic. They do not get rid of fat alone. Sometimes they slightly improve the appearance of the skin (smoother, more supple, softer) but that’s as far as it goes.

‘Targeted’ abdominal exercises 

In particular to “lose lower stomach fat”. You won’t lose fat if you do abdominal exercises. It’s good for strengthening the abdominal area but if the layer of fat is still there, it won’t disappear however many abdominal exercises you do. 

Four-week programmes

Programmes promising a “flat stomach” in a few weeks are just marketing.  Don’t buy them with a quick fix in mind. It takes a long time to get a flat stomach. It is the result of actions carried out on a daily basis. However, this type of programme will allow you to get started or discover new exercises.

Salad and no French fries 

Of course, tight abdominal muscles begin in the kitchen but not by eating salad alone. We need a certain number of calories to ensure our body functions correctly. If you only eat salad your daily calorie intake will be reduced and you risk falling into a severe calorie deficit. As a result, the body stores fat and losing it becomes difficult, the very opposite of the desired result.

Understanding fat

The level of fat in a healthy woman is generally between 22% and 35% and in a man between 10% and 20%. A woman will naturally have more body fat than a man. You have to understand and accept that you need some fat to be in good health.

Abdominal muscles become visible when the level of body fat is under 18% in a woman and under 12% in a man. Note that below 14% for a woman and 8% for a man indicates that the diet is ‘drastic’. Generally speaking, such diets are carefully monitored as part of physical competitions. This is a particular approach, which, when not supervised, can be unsafe. These percentages are not viable in the long-term. 

A flat stomach : how ? 

To have a flat stomach without the abdominal muscles being obviously visible, the level of body fat for a woman is usually around 23%, whereas for a man, it’s nearer to 16%. The good news is that it is possible to reduce your body fat level, especially through sport and diet.

What to do in terms of sport

Moving on a daily basis

Using the stairs rather than the lift and walking as much as possible are excellent daily habits. It may not seem much but the number of calories burned by the end of your day will be greater. Remember that it is the cumulative effect of repeated actions, day after day, that produces lasting results. 

Short but intense efforts.

Incorporate HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) circuits into your sports routine. They are extremely effective against fat. These are short but intense training sessions. 

Strengthening of the abdominal wall

At the same time, you can include exercises to encourage the strengthening of the abdominal wall. The plank (and its many vigorous variations) is especially effective. And don’t forget that the human body adapts very quickly, that’s why you have to shake up your routine! 

Stomach vacuum

Breathing is often overlooked, many of us do not breathe in an optimal way. Correct breathing is very beneficial for the body. The stomach vacuum is a ‘hypopressive abdominal’ exercise’ that reduces pressure on the viscera, the abdominals and the perineum. In other words, it is a health exercise that benefits the body both internally and also improves the visual appearance of the stomach. In the long term, the waist becomes more defined. We particularly recommend it if your stomach bloats easily.:

And in terms of food? 

Nothing will ever replace a healthy balanced diet. Give priority to unprocessed foods and learn to cook with raw products again. Choose foods you find easy to digest. Observe what happens after a meal, see if you tend to bloat or get tired and limit the foods that cause this effect. Eat suitable quantities. There are some people who eat too much, of course, but you often find people who do not eat enough. The result is that the body stores fat to ensure its survival.

Don’t cut down your carbohydrates to lose weight, the daily proportion of these in your diet should be between 50 and 55%. Below this you risk slowing your metabolism and the faster a metabolism is, the more calories it burns (even when resting) ! Beware of fibre; it is beneficial for health but harmful if you eat too much of it (digestive problems, bloating, poor absorption of nutriments, etc.). We recommend 30g of fibre a day on average for a healthy adult. If you eat lots of fruit and vegetables, beware of wholegrain cereals. Nothing should be consumed excessively !

 

Author : Marie Laval