It’s that time of the year when many people panic… We’ve come out of hibernation only to realize that our winter comfort foods have added a layer of fluff to our midsections. Since warmer weather styles show more skin, it becomes “crunch time” (pun intended). But it’s not just crunches that will help you get summer style ready. Now you CAN go with the crop top…here are 9 ways to get your abs summer ready!
If you’re interested in building your perfect spring/summer capsule wardrobe, check out Erin’s post here.
#1) Do a Small Cut
In general, people have more success when they think about changing their eating habits as a lifestyle rather than a short-term fix. But if you’re heading to the tropics and want to be leaner, a small calorie cut could help. The idea is that by lowering your calorie intake just a little bit for several weeks, you’ll be able to lose enough weight to show off your defined muscles, including those summer-ready abs! But it’s just a little bit! If you typically need to consume around 1,400 calories a day to maintain your weight, a small cut might be 1,200 or 1,300 calories. It’s less, but not so much that you’re ready to eat your arm by the end of the day. You should still feel satisfied after meals. Yep! This is not a quick fix. This is much more of a long game. Keeping track of your calorie intake can get tedious, using a food journal can help.
#2) Reduce Salt & Sugar
Both salt and sugar promote bloating. While bloating happens all over your body, it can be more noticeable in your face and midsection – especially if you’re wearing a bathing suit or a crop top. So to get your abs summer ready, cut back on the salt and sugar you consume. Even without doing a single sit up, your abs will be more defined. Reducing salt and sugar doesn’t mean you need to eat a bland diet. There are ways to spice up your meals without the added salt.
By the way, make sure you check out this post about healthy snacks to curb your sweet cravings.
#3) Improve Your Posture
Your mom was right. You really should stand up straight. Women with correct posture can look up to five pounds lighter than women who slouch! There are added benefits to standing tall. Good posture can improve your mood and your confidence. Even more of a reason to get those shoulders back when you’re showing off your summer abs! Need help correcting your posture after hours hunched over your keyboard? Here’s a posture-corrector that will remind you to sit up straight.
#4) Target All Your Abs
Yes, crunches will help you get your abs summer ready. A strong core is a hallmark of a healthy physique. The thing is, crunches only target one part of your core. To get a zipped-up middle, you need to focus on the entire core. Exercises that work your obliques, lower abs, transverse abdominal muscles, and even lower back will help you define all of your abs. An ab roller is a great way to target your entire mid-section with just small adjustments. I know it looks low-tech, but rollers can really torch your middle.
#5) Smooth Your Skin
Dry, wrinkled skin is going to look flabbier than hydrated, smooth skin. It is because hydrated smooth skin helps light reflect, so your stomach seems flatter. Deep, rich creams, oils, and lotions work well for the belly for most people. Here is a luxury option and one for less. Both work to penetrate your skin layers for deep hydration. Dry brushing can help with exfoliation and unclog pores, which will make your skin – and abs look more defined.
#6) Up the Fiber and Lean Protein
Including more fiber and lean protein in your meals will help you feel fuller and stay satisfied longer. That means you’ll be less likely to snack in between meals. This type of meal planning can help you with a cut too. It gives you a lot of nutrient-dense foods with lower calories. With some planning, you can have a full plate of food that is lower in calories.
A word of caution! Don’t just jump into a fiber overload! Many people’s bodies need a period of adjustment as they increase their fiber intake. Go slowly, so your body has time to adjust.
#7) Cut Alcohol
Sure, there’s something iconic about the idea of sitting poolside with a juicy cocktail. But that image may not match your goal. When you drink alcohol, you are drinking a lot of empty calories, and drinking is often paired with eating, so you’re doubling down on extra calories. Alcohol also makes it easier to stop using your prefrontal cortex. You know, the thinking part of your brain. With your inhibitions lowered, you are more likely to find reasons to not exercise or eat healthy.
Working your abs will help make them defined. But you can’t spot-correct your body. So, if you want to get your abs summer-ready, you need to work your entire body. A good full-body workout will help you strengthen all of your muscles. Those muscles burn more calories at rest than fat does, so you’ll get leaner, even if the number on the scale doesn’t change. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of a full-body workout. There are a lot of options that do the planning for you. Here’s one that Erin loves. There are also tons of at-home fitness apps that make it even easier to get your exercise in.
If you’re interested in the best at-home workout apps, we rounded up our favorites here.
#9) Drink Water
I know. I know! How many times do you have to hear it? At least one more because it works. Drinking water will help you look great because it will help your body rid itself of toxins and other impurities. But that’s not all. Staying hydrated will also help your skin look younger, even the skin on your stomach will feel and look improved. Making sure you drink enough water during the day can be fun with this cool water bottle. It connects to Bluetooth to keep track of your ounces for you.
Bonus! Be Confident
One of the best parts of being over 40 is that you realize you should dress for yourself – not for other people. If you want to bare those abs– then bare them! You have just as much of a reason to do so as anyone else.
So, are you going to bare those summer-ready abs? What styles are you excited to try? I can’t wait to hear. Let me know in the comments.
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