Personal trainer at the exclusive Reebok Sports Club in NYC, Melissa Paris has your secret to great abs by swimsuit season, but if you are picturing endless amounts of crunches, think again.
Great abs are the hallmark of a well rounded athlete: low body fat, a muscular core and a clean, healthy diet. “It’s a combination of exercise and diet that ultimately fights fat,” says Paris, “so stock up on those fruits, veggies and protein packed snacks.”
“Nutrition is 85% [of results], so if you’re not fueling yourself with lean meats, lots of fruits and veggies, and healthy fats you will not get the abs you desire no matter how many exercises you do,” says Paris.
While great abs are a sign of a clean eater, they are also a sign of an athlete that knows good form- no matter what workout they are doing. While crunches are good for hitting your superficial ab muscles, the exercises that are going to get you great results aren’t traditional ab exercises at all.
Paris recommends working your abs during every workout routine. “Even if it’s leg focused, you are working your abdominals. If you suck in your belly button towards your spine you are working your transverse abdominals. These are the muscles that hold everything together like a girdle.”
So what exercises are best for the washboard abs you crave? Paris’ favorites are pull ups, dumbbell pullovers, planks, side planks, and Romanian twists. The secret is to keep your core activated at all times. Like Paris says, always pull your belly button into your spine and rock your hips backward so your lower back never arches. This means your core is engaged, and in addition to a taught tummy, you will protect your back from possible injury.
Don’t forget your cardio to battle belly bulge. Paris recommends spinning, swimming or kick boxing at least 3 times a week, and for an extra fat blaster, sip on antioxidant packed green tea, which has been shown to aid in reducing belly fat.