Top training tips to tone your tummy

Emma White - Nutritionist | 04 Oct, 2016

Hi, can you suggest which is the best type of exercise to get rid of my flabby mid region, I'm not really big anywhere else just stomach, bum and hips. I was thinking swimming or cycling or even the gym but want to focus on my flabby belly. Please can you help, as i don't have time to do all types of exercise.

The most effective type of exercise to target a 'flabby belly' is the type that is done consistently! Apart from that, there is no 'best' exercise for dropping body fat, it is more about finding the 'best' exercise for you.

To change the flabby belly takes 2 approaches:

  1. Reduce body fat stores from the area – through (a healthy and structured approach) reducing the intake of calories and an improved use of these body fat stores (through cardiovascular exercise).
  2. Tone the muscles under the diminishing body fat stores through strength and core exercise.

There's a widely held belief that cardiovascular exercise is the 'best' way to drop body fat – but this isn't strictly true. Cardiovascular training is an effective method for burning calories and training your body to use body fat as fuel, but it doesn't have the longer term benefits of strength (or resistance) training.

The development of muscle tone that results from strength (resistance) training, increases your metabolic rate as muscle fibres are like little power houses that burn energy 24/7, meaning you burn more body fat, more of the time.

If you prefer weight training then stick with it and try a whole body circuit approach where you perform your exercises in a circuit-style fashion, one after the other with minimal rest. This means not only do you activate muscle tissue but you achieve the effects of cardiovascular training because the circuit format keeps your heart rate raised to an effective level. You could even do a bodyweight circuit of your own at home if the gym wasn't a realistic option. An example might be:

  • Press ups (knees or full) – 15reps
  • Lunges – 10reps each leg
  • Sit ups – 20reps done superslow
  • Single leg squats – 10reps each leg
  • Abdominal plank – 30-40 second hold

Within your strength training you must include effective core/abdominal work together with targeting the bigger muscles in the body (that burn more calories). I suggest you take a look at my core exercises article (due on the website shortly) and/or get a specific plan and guidance for your 'core' exercises workout from a fitness professional at your gym.

If you're happy to do cardiovascular exercise, then I would suggest you do combination training, where you alternate weight training days with cardiovascular training days. This allows your body to recover properly and provides the best of both methods. The fastest way to burn it off is to do it more often! So see how many sessions you can squeeze in, (however small), into your weekly plan.

Loads of ideas here so just find what works for you and go for it! Little and often is better than 1-2 times a week so bear that in mind. Time doesn?t have to be a factor just schedule your time and make it effective! Good luck!

Nutritionist Emma White (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.

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