1. How do I tone up my stomach?

    I often get asked this by my friends and so I thought I’d write a quick little bit about it! 

    Firstly, I have a problem with the phrase ‘tone up’…because muscle does not turn to fat or vice versa. What people really mean when they say this is that they want to reduce their bodyfat percentage which in turn, reveals the muscle below and gives that ‘toned’ look. 

    Also, unfortunately there is no way to remove fat from one particular bodypart (spot reduction). Of course you can work certain muscle groups more than others but at the end of the day it comes down to where your bodyfat goes from first. This will be different for everyone and is simply down to genetics - for example, on me fat goes from my stomach before my legs and glutes.

    So, how to get a flat stomach? Or a ‘toned’ bum? Or ‘toned’ thighs? Well, you need to reduce your overall bodyfat percentage. To do this you need to perform cardio, lift weights and eat healthily. By lifting weights, you will build muscle and burn fat whilst speeding up your metabolism…you will not get ‘big’ or ‘bulky’, you will simply become fitter, stronger and leaner. Furthermore, we’ve all heard that abs are made in the kitchen and I stand by this. I believe that eating 5-6 small meals spread evenly throughout the day which are high in protein, vegetables and with good sources of healthy fat really is the key to a flat stomach.

    Doing 100 sit ups a day will NOT give you a 6 pack. I repeat, sit ups, crunches or whatever you call them will not give you a flat stomach. It will of course build the muscle but it will still be covered by a layer of fat unless you really get cracking on lifting weights, performing cardio and making healthy choices for your meals. I used to do 100 sit ups every single night before I went to bed and I did not have a six pack. Now I do abs once a week, if that, and I have a much leaner stomach than I have ever had.

    Below: Me when I did 100 sit ups and NO WEIGHTLIFTING….followed by me doing minimal ab work but WEIGHTLIFTING and eating 6 times a day.

    So people, the answer to ‘how do I tone up my stomach??’ is REDUCE YOUR BODYFAT:

    • Lift weights to build up your muscle, especially focusing on compound exercises which engage the core (e.g. squats, deadlifts). 
    • Use free weights - dumbbells and barbells - rather than machines as they take out some of the work.
    • Perform cardio, HIIT (high intensity interval training) to help get off that stubborn fat.
    • Eat small meals every 2-3 hours of a diet high in protein, vegetables and healthy fats. 
    • Focus your carbs around your workout and at breakfast and make sure they are of the good type! No white bread, white pasta etc (you know the drill).

    Above: Erin knows the secret to good stomach!