Posts Tagged ‘workouts’

People often think crunches are the key to flat abs, but cardio exercise is actually the most important component of a workout plan to get rid of your gut. Cardio burns calories and helps you lose weight, including in your stomach. Without cardio, no matter how many crunches you do or how strong your ab muscles are, they will still be covered by extra weight, hiding your toned torso. You can literally run your way to flat abs by following a running-based fitness routine that burns calories and targets your torso. Here’s how to get killer abs:

  • Run five to six days a week. If you are just starting out, exercise for 30-minute sessions with alternating walking and running and gradually build up to running for the entire 30 minutes. See our Beginning Runners section for more training tips for new runners.
  • Step up the intensity of your training plan. If you are already a runner and have extra weight clinging to your belly or sides, you will need to add some oomph to your workouts to reach higher levels of fitness.  Increase your intensity by running faster or adding hills to your workouts. Adding intensity to your workouts burns more calories and fat and will rev up your metabolism so you don’t get stuck in a workout rut. Try doing a speed workout at least once a week and doing a hill workout once a week.
  • Do a long run once a week. Long runs are especially powerful fat busters because your body burns mainly carbs for the first hour of a run and then begins burning fat reserves. Train your body for long runs by adding one mile a week to your long run and every fourth week give yourself a break by staying at the same distance. Before you know it, you will be able to run for more than an hour and burn excess fat.
  • Incorporate circuit training into your workout plan. Do circuits once a week. Circuits call for high-intensity running alternating with strength training exercises. Circuits not only burn extra calories and fat but also help you build lean muscle mass and tone your abs. For circuits, run fast – at about 85 percent effort level – for three minutes and alternate your running with doing  two minutes of the following exercises: crunches, planks, bridge exercises, side planks and pushups. Do a 10-minute jog to warm up and cool down after your workout.
  • Banish unhealthy foods from your diet. Alcohol — especially beer, fried foods, processed snack foods and desserts are all high in calories and low in nutrients, and can cancel out all your hard work by packing on extra pounds to your gut. Do yourself a favor and eat nutrient-dense foods from all of the foods groups, and reach for healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, yogurt, smoothies and popcorn when you feel the urge to munch on something.