As an online certified fitness trainer with 90% of my clients being new mamas, one of the biggest complaints I hear is...
"April, I want my pooch to go away. No matter how healthy I eat or how many ab workouts I do, I just always have this baby pooch and I can't get rid of it."
Whether you're a new mom or not, we've likely all felt the insecurities of not having as flat of a stomach as we once had, or maybe have always wanted.
I want to also share that having a 6-pack or flat abs is totally over-rated and does NOT define how healthy or fit someone is! But as a topic that is highly talked about, I thought I'd take a moment and explain some tips you can start incorporating if this is even something you've been striving for. If not, that's totally ok too!
If you've followed my social media for a while, hopefully by now you know I don't do any BS when it comes to educating and teaching about the realities of fitness, nutrition and exercise. So I won't sit here and tell you how the answer to getting a 6-pack is by doing 100 sit ups and taking this ridiculous fat-burning pill twice a day while you sit in a sauna with a waist trainer on. #SorryNotSorry LOL #thatstnotme
While it's certainly not impossible to get abs or a flat stomach, it's not something that will come overnight. If you're considering spending hundreds of dollars on a product or pill that's promising you that - run...run fast. Because THESE are the things that will actually make a difference in achieving a lean, toned core.
- Shedding body fat. Every single person has abs already - for the majority of us, those abs are just hiding behind layers of body fat. Keep in mind for abs to be visible, your overall body fat percentage has to be pretty low and that's just not realistic (or healthy) for most people to achieve, certainly not for long periods of time. But if you're someone who considers themselves "fit" already but you're wanting to carve out the muscles in your core, you'll need to shed some body fat by eating in a calorie deficit. Also keep in mind that just because you eat in a calorie deficit, you cant pic and choose where you lose body fat, it will likely come from all over - so don't expect your abs to be immediately chiseled out after doing a couple weeks of dieting.
- Building a strong core. Your core has some relatively large muscles and if you want them to get stronger, you'll need to train them just like you would any other muscle group. This doesn't need to include sit ups - in fact, that's probably the last exercise I would recommend if you're trying to develop overall core strength. Instead, I would suggest adding in exercises like planks, deadbugs and bird dogs 2-3x/week for 10-15 reps.
- Properly activating and engaging your transverse abdominis (TA). I talked a bit about what this muscle group is and the importance of proper activation to get the most out of your ab workouts. You can read more about this neglected (yet highly important) muscle group here. Essentially, you want to think about pressing your lower back into the floor and eliminating any "gaps" between the floor and your lower back. Place your fingers on your hip bones then slide them in and down until just above your hip crease. Take a deep breath in. Exhale while making a “sssss” sound and draw your belly button gently toward your spine. Doing so ensures you are activating your TA - the "lower ab" muscle group. Properly activate your TA prior to doing any ab exercises that require you to lay flat i.e. bicycle crunches, reverse crunches, etc.
If you'd like to get a completely personalized macro-based nutrition program, I highly recommend checking out my personalized macro calculation!