1) Your workout needs to be well-rounded. Crunching away will build muscle, but it will not burn fat. You need to do cardio to burn calories/fat. Find something you love to do. Whether it's running, biking, Zumba or walking, you have to like it or you will not be motivated to continue. For me, a combination of running, cycling and the elliptical work best. I don't get bored because I keep changing what I am doing. I also try to throw in something different, like Zumba or a hike, every now and then.
2) A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips. We have all heard this, or some variation of this quote. There is truth to it. You can workout hours a day but if your nutrition is bad, you may never see the results you desire. Cut back (way back!) on sugars. The refined kind, like candy and soda, can go all together or be very limited. The kind in fruit is a-okay. Cut back on white flour. Add healthy protein AND fat. Fat? Yep. Olives, Avocados, nuts, and, if you so choose, meats. Keep healthy snacks on hand so you never get too hungry, which will cause you to reach for unhealthy snacks. Cut veggies, salt-free nuts, greek yogurt are just a few of my go-to's. If you can buy it from a vending machine or drive-thru, avoid it!
3) Work the core, not the abs. Yes, the abdominal muscles are part of the core, but you need to work the entire core. This also includes the obliques and the back muscles. Sculpt the obliques (the muscles on your sides) and this will help pull everything together. Work the back (upper and lower) to give better posture and define your core even more. How do you work the entire core? Pilates, of course! A true Pilates workout works the core and the limbs, sculpting and toning the entire body. Yoga and Tai Chi in some instances do the same. There are other balance activities, such as Indo boarding or BOSU training that do the same. But I am a little biased and think Pilates does best!
Let me know if these tips are helpful. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
This photo is me right after returning from my 4-day PPS-II training. 8 hours of, give or take, of practice plus eating only healthy foods (except my dinners!) gave me picture-perfect abs. Those jeans were tight when I bought them...to this day (it's been about 6 months since the picture) they are still on the loose side!