12 Sep Your Flat Belly and Abs Questions Answered
**this blog was ORIGINALLY published in 2013 but was thoroughly updated as of May of 2020.**
How do I get abs? How do I get a flat belly?
The most common weight loss and fitness question I get is some version of how to get abs. “How do I get abs?” or, “How do I get a 6-pack?” or, “How do I get a flat belly?”
Now, before I share my method, I want you to know that I didn’t get ‘abs’ until I was in my late 30’s. AND that was after I had my daughter, had gained almost 60 lbs when pregnant and AFTER I thought it was hopeless. It took me a while to figure it out, but once I did, I’ve been able to maintain them year round for over 12+ years now (I’m 48 now).
One of the biggest issues holding you back is that there is SO much information overload out there. It is no wonder people get so confused! So that’s the reason I decided to write this blog.
I wanted to put together the most common questions about getting that elusive flat stomach that everyone is dying to have and teach you how to get abs.
Here are some of the top questions and my respective answers when it comes to ABS:
Are abs really made in the kitchen?
It depends. Here is the deal with abs. Nutrition plays a HUGE role with almost everybody that has abs. This is because if you EAT more than you are burning in a day, you will store fat and have a layer over those abs.
If you are an athlete, train at a super high intensity, etc. then the nutrition becomes slightly less critical because you are burning thousands of calories. Because your metabolism works so efficiently, you will have a flat belly. is why you will see ultra fit people or athletes get away with eating whatever they want, yet they still have abs.
For example, I used to eat a super strict diet and would do long sessions of cardio to get my abs to come out of their hiding spot. However, as soon as I went off my “diet”, they would disappear.
Now though, due to my short, functionally focussed workouts, I am not nearly as regimented or strict with my diet, but I have abs all the time. They are BOTH important but when you change how you workout and you do functionally focussed workouts that target and define your core, the nutrition component can be less rigorous.
I also have to mention that I can’t remember the last time I did long slow cardio at the gym, either. The cardio I do now is more for enjoyment (walking, biking, hiking) OR it is short burst during my functionally focussed workouts.
I’m not going to lie — it is nice to have abs without the hours of slow cardio and watching every bite. The KEY to this is to train at a super high intensity so that my metabolism is always on fire burning up what I am putting down.
How to get abs: Is cardio important for abs?
Again, it depends. You have to get rid of the layer of fat for your abs to show. If you choose to do that through cardio, it can be done, but it is not necessary to log hours every day on the bike or treadmill.
Training with functionally focussed workouts is more efficient and changes the body much quicker than long, drawn out cardio. So if you are looking to make a change quickly, you need to learn these moves and then up the intensity there.
If you are competitive runner, triathlete, etc., what I am saying about cardio really doesn’t apply to you. Who I am talking about are those people at the gym leaning on the elliptical, walking on the treadmill, or slowly pedaling away on
That may bring the abs out from hiding for a little while, but inevitably most people don’t have 1-2 hours a day to spend on the treadmill.
If you want to get a flat belly the fastest way possible, focus on sprinting, plyometrics competitive swimming or running, High Intensity Interval training, OR take the short cut I teach HERE.
Can I get abs after having a baby?
YES! You 100% CAN! It may be harder, it may take a bit longer, but YES, YOU CAN!
In case you didn’t know, I am mother, so I know what it is like to deal with excess baby weight and what it’s like to overcome it and get abs. There is a simple formula for uncovering those abs!
1. DECIDE it is possible…. That is critical. If you stay focussed on why it is NOT possible it will never happen. Decide it IS possible first and then start taking the actions to get you there.
2. Train your core abs. Here are the exercises I suggest that you can do anywhere.
3. Dial in your nutrition… Focus on natural, real unprocessed foods like I share HERE
4. Finally, STAY CONSISTENT.
How to get abs: If you have loose skin what can you do?
Skin can be challenging, believe me, I know. It isn’t easy to share, but this pic is of MY stomach. (Click the pic for a video and more info.)
Even if the skin isn’t as tight as it used to be, you CAN still develop those muscles and you CAN lose overall body fat and that WILL drastically change the appearance of your stomach so you have abs.
How to get abs: Do stretch-marks ever go away naturally? Or does there have to be a cosmetic procedure?
Most stretch-marks will fade over time. Unfortunately exercising and diet will not change appearance of stretch marks. What you can do is make sure you drink plenty of water and keep the skin moisturized from the outside as well.
How to get abs: What is the BEST exercise for abs?
I am a big fan of PLANKS and this is why: They are GREAT for your lower back (when done with correct form) and they are AMAZING for CORE development. Planks are challenging to do, and there are a lot of ways to progress the exercise and make it harder.
Doing planks gives you a stronger CORE, which will improve your functional training with everything you do. They require a lot of energy and you DO burn calories, as it is a full body exercise and once again, they ARE CHALLENGING.
So plank away!
Work up to holding a plank for 2 minutes and then start progressing the exercise. Start the progression by lifting one arm at a time. Then try lifting one arm and the opposite leg. Anything to make you unstable or that requires more balance is a GOOD thing. If you can hold a plank for a long time, you are on the right track! If not, keep working. You can do it!
Don’t like planks? No worries lol… I have so many follow along functionally focussed exercises you can do with me HERE
No, not after what I learned about when I was dealing with my back pain. Now, before you tell me “you are no longer following me” I am going to admit and share with you that YES, two years ago, if you had asked me how to get abs, I would have said CRUNCH AWAY, as that is what I had been doing.
But I was wrong. Yes, I had developed a great “6 pack” with those crunches, but I also had a terrible time with back pain and hip problems.
In addition, I had a very dramatic anterior pelvic tilt which was further made worse by doing a lot of ‘crunches’.
I have since corrected my anterior pelvic tilt by changing my training and one of the first things I was told was to take the crunches out of my workouts. Not just minimize them, but take them out COMPLETELY.
To learn more about my current routine that is 100% crunch free, take a look at my Home Fit Workout Bundle HERE
How to get abs: Doesn’t eating fat make you fat? Why do you suggest fat on your programs?
Listen up, eating fat does NOT make you fat. Diets suggesting fat-free eating are based on old research and it has been disproven. Obesity rates have gone through the roof since the low-fat diet became popular. SUGAR, PROCESSED FOODS, and ARTIFICIAL FAKE FOODS are a primary cause of obesity and many other health problems. Eating fat does NOT make you fat. Lack of activity and eating unhealthy processed foods do 🙂
How to get abs: Is there a supplement or pill that targets belly fat?
UMMMM NO! I call BS on the ads that say their “magic pill” melts belly fat. Hard work, training with intensity, and proper nutrition are the ONLY “magic pills” that really work!
How to get abs: If you have a C-section can you get abs back?
Of course. Now there is not a whole lot you can do to reverse the c-section, BUT you can dramatically change the appearance by developing the muscles in that area and losing overall body fat. If you pay attention to your diet and train hard, the appearance will drastically change. Read this c-section to bikini ready story.
What is the quickest way to lose weight and get a flat belly?
The ONLY way to lose belly fat and KEEP it off is to do it the healthy way. You have to work at it and BE CONSISTENT!
I can tell you that switching from a processed food diet to a clean and natural one (like my Jump Start™ program) will help you feel better and shed weight.
The first week is a big one because you will lose excess water and bloat in ADDITION to body fat by switching to unprocessed foods and getting the ‘junk’ out of your system. Some people lose up to 5 pounds in just 7 days!
But by making that your LIFESTYLE, you will steadily lose body fat while maintaining high energy levels until you hit your goal weight even after that first week. Doing it properly with a healthy lifestyle means that you will experience realistic and long lasting RESULTS…and NEVER have to ‘diet’ again.
No diet works when you aren’t following it. That is why a healthy lifestyle is sooooo important! That is why my Jump Start programs have been so popular…with over 40,000+ people having successfully used it!
How do I get rid of the “pooch”?
Usually the pooch is from one of few things:
1. It can be overall body fat that needs to be lost through intensity in training and diet.
2. It could be BLOAT from an allergen. Keep a log to see if it is more distended due to certain foods like dairy or wheat.
3. It could be an anterior pelvic tilt which is common with females. That makes it LOOK like you have a pooch, but can actually be a lower back issue.
4. It could be extra skin, but that is less likely and usually only the case after losing a lot of weight.
So, figure out first which one of those things is the cause and then address it from there. IF it is is the pelvic tilt, fat-loss my Stronger program and my Follow along workout programs can help change your life. If it is allergen reduction you may like my Jump Start program which addresses nutrition.
So there you have it! I hope this helps give you some quality information so now you can go get that flat belly that you have always wanted!
– Natalie Jill