Spanx may save the day when it comes to a suede midi skirt but there’s no faking it with a crop top. Unfortunately for us, the red carpet at Cannes cemented the fact that abs are officially fashion’s hottest erogenous zone. The upshot? It’s time to get yours in tip-top condition. So put down that (second) McFlurry and listen up to Dmitri’s top tips for a firmer, flatter tummy. You catch our midriff?
“Abdominals are one of the most stubborn areas of the body to lean out and yet with the right approach and a mindful regime it’s surprisingly easy to get the results,” he says. “Obviously exercise, nutrition and stress management are vital to long-term health and optimum body composition so bringing it all together will ensure the best results for your body as well as your abs.”
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
Foods to avoid
“Nutrition is your key to a flat stomach. Adjusting what you eat can help you lose unhealthy fat from around the middle, tone up the tummy and help reduce discomfort and bloating.
The three main culprits to a bloated tummy are fructose, lactose and gluten so avoid eating these foods the day before wearing a crop-top. Foods that can lead to fermentation such as beans and pulses can also make you bloated as can cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower as they all contain indigestible sugars so it’s also worth cutting these out before an important event.” That leaves…Diet Coke? Not according to Dmitri; “Sugar-free foods and diet drinks are often high in the type of sugar-like molecules that can cause bloating (Xylitol, Sorbitol, maltitol and other funky sugar substitute chemicals).”
Foods to gobble up
“Avocados are an amazing source of good fats but may not be suitable for those on a low FODMAP diet (IBS friendly foods) as they do contain a type of sugar that may cause some people to feel discomfort and bloating. (Other foods that contain these sugars are apples, peaches and watermelons.) Instead, go for a simple protein-based breakfast such as a spinach omelette, a large leafy salad with a piece of salmon or chicken for lunch (oily fish such as salmon are anti-inflamatory) and avoid carbs for dinner.” Sound like you might be left wanting? “Nut oils are great for keeping your energy and calories up without compromising on your body composition." says Dmitri who adds that ginger tea is particularly great as it has anti inflammatory and anti bloating properties.”
Follow Dmitri’s exercise guide to perfectly honed abs:
“Strength training combined with high intensity interval training (HIIT) are one of the best ways to speed-up fat loss around the tummy area and firm-up the mid-section,” says Dmitri. But if it’s tummy-specific exercises you’re after here’s what he suggests:
“Stomach exercises do help to trim the tummy but are even more important in strengthening the trunk. When done correctly midsection exercises will firm up the stomach, strengthen your lower back and improve posture, all having an added benefit of a healthier spine. Try these three exercises in a circuit for a complete stomach routine.”
1. The Plank.
From an all fours position come down onto your elbows, lift your knees to extend the body in a straight line from elbows to the feet. Hold for 45-60 seconds while breathing steadily. If the full plank feels too much come down onto the knees.
2. Back extension.
On the exercise mat lay on your stomach with your legs extended straight behind you, forehead down on the mat and the palms down either side of the shoulders. Breathe out to lift the arms, head, shoulders and chest off of the floor while pulling your tummy in. Breathe in to lower. Repeat 10-12 times.
3. Cycle crunches.
Lay on your back with your feet lifted, bent at the knees and hips to 90 degrees. With the palms behind your head curl your upper body. Begin by twisting your body from one side to the other bringing your elbow to the knee of the opposite leg.