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How to Get Flat Abs

A Lululemon team leader shares her top tight tummy secrets

Lululemon

When our key leader Anne went to Maui with our creative team in February, she shared her behind-the-scenes experiences on our blog. Her story happened to include one particular selfie that garnered a lot of interest from our guests. “I wondered if you’d share your core routine as you have killer abs!” wrote Tiffany. Well, Tiffany, we asked Anne if she would, and guess what? She said yes. Here you go!

-My Routine to Score the Core-

Crunches and sit-ups were once the bread and butter of core, but my thoughts are: why target just one area when you can combat a few? You can build upper and lower body strength, increase power and speed and improve core strength with full body workouts.

Core Stability
Get ready to lunge.

The how to: When lunging, keep your upper body straight, your chin up, and step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. The knee of the forward leg is aligned with the ankle, not over your toe. Abdominal muscles are pulled in. For more intermediate lunges, try walking lunges to challenge your balance using weighted dumbbells at your side in each hand. Once you have that mastered, try walking overhead lunges with a single weighted plate or weighted barbell directly over head, with hands over head pull your shoulders into the ground keeping your head level, your gaze forward, and chest held high. Do not bend your elbows or let the weight shrink during this movement. Perform 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.

Want some great alternative movements for a strong core? Try weighted front squats, and kettlebell swings.

Hang In There
The hanging leg raise movement is a core crusher! You’ll love the results of this one as it trains the whole midsection.

The how to: Raise your legs until your torso is at a 90-degree angle with your legs. By changing the position of the legs from bent to straight shifts the focus of the exercise and addresses different abdominal muscles. Modify by doing lying leg raises on the ground pushing your feet to the sky directly above your heart.

Burpees
It’s a love hate relationship with these things, but the burpee is a full body strength training exercise that requires absolutely no equipment—none! Zip! Zero! Zilch! And they work.

The how to: Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by sides. Squat and place hands on the ground under the shoulders. Keeping abs tight to spine, jump feet back into plank position and immediately lower into a pushup. Extend arms back into plank position and jump feet back into hands landing in your squat position. Jump up reaching arms to the ceiling. Repeat to failure.

Get Mile “High”
High intensity running stimulates an ‘after burn’ where your body continues to spend calories post-exercise. So head for the trails, log some miles on the bike, or walk your dog.

The how to: Get 30 minutes of cardio in a day. Don’t have the time? Incorporating speed work or interval training (running at a very fast speed for short intervals of time) burns a great number of calories in a short period of time. Running is an effective cardiovascular exercise to help you get lean and toned.

Heat Things Up
Hot yoga helps with metabolism, flushing toxins from the body, and improves circulation.

The how to: For my goals I prefer one of the vigorous, flowing styles of the practice such as Vinyasa or Power yoga. These classes have great cardiovascular benefit; you burn calories, tone, strengthen and lengthen your muscles, and provide weight bearing exercises that are good for your bones.

-My Meals to Score the Core-

Time to tweak the diet. Even if you’re spending three to six hours a week in the gym, what you eat is the most important factor in getting flat and six-pack abs. To truly see results your meal plan needs to be convenient and easy. Reaching for the right foods will banish bloating, and help you to prevent cravings and maintain a healthy metabolism. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Power Up With Protein
Choose protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in fat and calories such as lean meats, seafood, beans, soy, nuts and low-fat dairy. Protein helps you feel full longer and allows your body to maintain lean muscle mass. Fuel up after a workout with 10-20 grams of protein.

Green Means GO!
It’s always a green light with vegetables. These power foods are the No. 1 food you can eat regularly to help improve your health without loading up on calories. Leafy greens in particular are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and rich in fiber.

EFAs
Essential Fatty Acids increase metabolic rate, which means that you burn more calories. Good fats such as omegas, olive oil and coconut oil are easily used by the body and do not contribute to an increased waistline.

Drinks Count
Alcohol and soft drinks add up in your caloric intake—empty calories with no nutritional value. The best liquid asset continues to be water. Water helps keep you satiated, flushes body waste and assists in food digestion, all great ways to prevent bloating. Fresh lemon juice added to your drinking water is an easy and tasty way to add nutrients and makes a great replacement for soda or other sweetened beverages.

Getting flat abs starts right now, so go and make this week a great week!

This story first appeared on blog.lululemon.com.

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