There is a point in our lives that we all cherish. It’s the point when we have a small waist, flat stomach, and we are not even trying. We’ve all had that period in our lives. Sadly, as we get older, maintaining a smaller waist and flat stomach requires more work than building a house. You get the feeling that you are training for the Olympics.
The bad news is that the dynamic life we live, the hectic schedule, the unhealthy diet, and all those times you skipped exercise have finally taken their toll on your body. The good news is that all is not lost. You can get a smaller waist, and I’m here to help you get there. Just stay with me as we review the steps you need to take to get to your elusive goal.
Step 1 – Set realistic goals
One of the most important steps in getting a smaller waist is setting realistic goals. Or more importantly, you need to be realistic about your body shape. We all have a different body shape. Some of us, no matter how hard we try, cannot get the small waist we think we can get. A person with an apple-shaped body naturally has a wider waistline. For him/her, getting an hourglass shape is simply out of reach.
That being said, the goal you need to set for yourself is getting a healthy weight and a trim and toned waistline.
Step 2 – It all starts with the diet
You’ve probably heard this over and over, especially if you are trying to lose weight and tone your body. It all starts with the diet. A healthy diet results in a healthy, shaped body. You need to lose weight to get a smaller waist. And in order to lose weight, you need to change your diet. Some have to make small adjustments, some will have to make drastic changes.
I recommend getting a trainer who will calculate exactly how many calories you need to consume throughout the day. Remember, you’ll have to be disciplined and determined. As a general rule of thumb, you need to follow these guidelines:
- Consume more protein, with the highest amount of protein consumed for lunch and after a workout.
- Increase your fiber intake, as fiber helps your digestion system. Irregular digestion is one of the many factors that contribute to wide waistline.
- Reduce your carbs, but don’t remove them completely from your diet. Every diet needs carbs in it; it’s just a matter of choosing the right carbs for you.
- In order to lose one pound, you need to cut 3,500 calories from your diet. But that doesn’t mean you need to cut 3,500 calories in one day. Reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories a day, and in one week, you’ll lose one pound. Remember, this is a slow and steady process.
Step 3 – Don’t forget your breakfast
Ever since we were children, our parents, and our teachers, were preaching that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” And they were spot on. A healthy breakfast will set you up for a day in which you’ll be able to avoid processed sugars and fats.
A healthy breakfast will kick start your metabolism, increase your fat burning rate, and provide enough energy to last throughout the day. So, you are probably wondering, what is a healthy breakfast is? The best, in my opinion, is a combination of carbs, fiber, and protein. But you need 30% carbs, 30% fiber, and 40% protein. The mistake many people make is that they have 80% carbs at breakfast. Cereals, eggs, fruits, and veggies are great sources of healthy nutrients for your breakfast.
Also, I recommend drinking a glass of water 10 or 15 minutes before breakfast.
Step 4 – The cardio regime
I said that in order to get a smaller waist, you need to lose some weight. The best way to lose weight is by doing cardio. There is absolutely no better way to burn calories than high-intensity cardio exercises. You are not only losing fat from your waistline, but from your entire body.
Jogging, swimming, bike riding—those are all great high-intensity cardio exercises. However, if you want to take things slow, and build from there, walking 3 to 5 miles per day is a good place to start.
Also, you need to know that heavier people burn more fat, while skinny people burn less fat. It is just natural. Skinny people have little fat to burn, so it might take them more time to get 1 inch off their waistline. Heavy people, because they have a lot of fat to burn, get an inch off their waistline in a matter of days.
Step 5 – Build some muscle
Once you start burning some fat off your waistline, your next step is to build some muscle. Muscles are leaner than fat, and in the process of building muscle and burning fat, you are actually getting a smaller waistline.
Now, one mistake that people make is that they work on their abs all day long, and they wonder why they don’t get a flat stomach. One of the biggest myths in the exercise world is that doing 1,000 abs per day will get you a flat stomach. You need to get muscles all over your body, and only then you can have a flat stomach.
That being said, aim for total body workouts in which you exercise your entire body. If you really want to kick things up a notch, high-intensity circuit training is the best way to combine cardio and muscle building exercises.
Step 6 – The waist exercises
I said that doing abs all day long won’t get you a flat stomach. But nevertheless, there are specific waist exercises that you need to do on a regular basis. Just remember, you need to do these in addition to your regular workout. Don’t mistake waist exercise as a total body workout. Here are some good waist exercises.
- Jumping oblique twist is a great waist exercise, as it burns calories in cardio fashion and tones the sides at the same time. The thing about oblique twists is that the exercise pulls your body inwards, which is very close to the look you are going for.
- Russian twist is another twisting motion that helps you tone the muscles on the side. Russian twist is also a cardio exercise.
- The hundred exercise. I’ve never understood why they call it that, but the exercise requires you to lie on your back, lift your legs up to an angle of 90 degrees, lift your shoulder blades off the floor, and pump your arms straight to the side. Repeat for 100 pumps.
- Regular sit-ups are boring, so I would like to kick things up a notch and use a sturdy object like a yoga ball for sit-ups. You can also try the sofa. Just remember, keep your hands crossed against your chest.
- One of the best ways to get a toned stomach is to do crisscross crunches. Think of it as riding a bicycle. The exercise involves a lot of muscles, including all your core muscles, but also your legs.
- For beginners, I recommend doing the windshield wipers. The exercise helps improve your motion around the torso.
- Finally, do the plank. Do the regular plank, but also the side plank. Aim to get to a point where you can do three series of one-minute planks after doing all the previous waist exercises. That is three series of one-minute normal planks, and three minutes of side planks (divided by 30 seconds for each side).
Step 7 – Think outside of the box
Working out for a smaller waist can sometimes get boring. This is the point where you need to introduce some unconventional exercises. Here are a few exercises to shake things up:
- Try the hula-hoop. It might be a toy from a few decades ago, but it is still very effective. Just 10 minutes per day of working with the hula-hoop will make huge difference.
- Try some dancing lessons. More importantly, Latin dance. Samba, salsa, rumba—all those dances require a lot of shaking and moving around. Dancing is one of the best cardio exercises, and you don’t even have to sign up for dance lessons. Just turn on the music in your house and dance for 15-20 minutes.
- Sign up for some yoga classes. I recommend one yoga class per week, preferably at the end of the week. This will relax your body, free your mind, and prepare you for another week of a tough diet and workout regime.
I always love to give my friends and fans some extra tips. And in most cases, the best secrets come in the form of bonus tips.
- Make sure you are comfortable while exercising. You need a proper floor mat, breathable clothing and always—I mean always—carry a water bottle with you. You’ll get dehydrated when exercising, and it’s important to drink water to keep your strength up
- If you cannot do cardio for 60 minutes straight, divide it into four sets of 15 minutes. And those four sets don’t have to be in the same period. You can do 15 minutes of walking in the morning, then another 15 minutes before lunch, and two more before going to bed.
- Pull in your stomach every chance you get. Just pulling the stomach in and keeping it there is a great strengthening exercise. You also build your overall body awareness. When you are standing up, keep your abs pulled in tight as well. Pulling in the stomach can reduce your waistline by an inch or two without even working out.
- Last, but not least, avoid processed foods, carbonated drinks, and excess sodium. I cannot stress this enough. One of the biggest enemies of a smaller waist is excess sodium. Right next to sodium on this list is sugar, followed by carbonated drinks and processed foods. All these make you retain water, swell, and just feel uncomfortable. Replace your carbonated drinks with some healthy homemade juices. Also, a great idea is to brew tea in the morning, let it cool down, and drink homemade iced tea throughout the day. Just don’t put any sugar in it.
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