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Fitness, Fat Loss

Want a Flat Tummy? Do These 3 Things Every Day

By Darren Nuzzo on Jun 24, 2024 9:00:00 AM
5 Minutes Reading Time

Money, the Yankees to lose, and a flat stomach: just a few of the many things that humans really, really want. While I have no change to spare and no influence over the outcome of baseball games, I can help you get a flat tummy.

But first, let’s clear up some misconceptions about your midsection. The idea that you can sweat your way to a slimmer stomach is outdated, and endless hours of sit-ups and the Stairmaster can’t guarantee success either. So, what are you supposed to do? Let’s take a look at the three principals you’ll need to master to reach your goal: diet, strength training, and lifestyle.

1. Prioritize a Balanced Diet with a Caloric Deficit

The most important factor in getting a lean midsection is maintaining a balanced diet with a caloric deficit. This means consuming fewer calories than you burn, which encourages your body to use stored fat for energy, including the fat around your stomach. There’s no one right way to eat. But here’s a time-tested way to structure your diet:

  • Eat Whole Foods: Focus on whole, unprocessed foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These foods are rich in nutrients and will keep you feeling full and energized.
  • Control Portions: Be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating. Using smaller plates and paying attention to hunger cues can help. Chewing slowly is also a reliable hack to help you stay present, decreasing the likelihood of overindulging.
  • Reduce Sugars and Refined Carbs: Minimize your intake of sugary drinks, candies, pastries, and refined carbohydrates. These foods can quickly add to your calorie count without the benefit of giving you nutrients or making you satiated.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Hydration is essential for digestion and it can also help curb hunger.

By creating a calorie deficit through a healthy diet, you set the foundation for a flatter tummy.

2. Strength Train

Sure, exercise burns calories. But more importantly, it builds muscle. And the more muscle we have, the more energy our body expends naturally. Meaning, if we invest in growing muscle now, we are ensuring calories get burned later.

But the benefits of muscle go beyond caloric expenditure. It’s also important for our perceived body composition. Muscle creates an illusion of leanness. The more muscle we have, the tighter and harder our physique appears. If we want a flat stomach, we have to reframe our thinking. Instead of just thinking about losing fat, we should emphasize building muscle.

  • Strength Training: Incorporate strength training exercises at least two to three times per week. Focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and push-ups, which engage multiple muscle groups.
  • Core Workouts: While spot reduction is a myth, strengthening your core muscles can help define your midsection. Focus on exercises that lengthen and shorten the abdominals. Leg raises and machine crunches take your stomach through a full range of motion and pack a large stimulus with little risk of injury. Planks and other isometric exercises are fine, but they are difficult to add progressions to, so you might outgrow them quickly.
  • Cardio Exercises: Activities like running, cycling, swimming, and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) can help burn additional calories. But understand that your path toward a calorie deficit should be diet. If you rely on cardio to reach your expenditure goals, you can overexert yourself and start carrying excessive stress and fatigue, which can actually hinder your weight loss.

3. Manage Stress and Get Adequate Sleep

Stress and lack of sleep can significantly impact your weight and abdominal fat. Here’s how to address these factors:

  • Manage Stress: Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone linked to increased abdominal fat storage. Practice stress-reducing activities such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies you enjoy. Research suggests that mindfulness and stress management can help reduce cortisol levels and support healthy weight loss.
  • Get Quality Sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Poor sleep can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, leading to increased calorie intake and weight gain. A consistent sleep schedule and a relaxing bedtime routine can improve sleep quality.

Studies show that insufficient sleep is associated with higher body fat, particularly around the abdomen. By managing stress and prioritizing sleep, you can create a hormonal environment conducive to fat loss and a flatter stomach.


Getting a flat tummy is challenging, but following these steps will give you framework to get there. Focus on a balanced diet with a caloric deficit, regular strength training, and effective stress and sleep management. If you do that, it’ll only be a matter of time until you reach your dream physique. Until then, be patient and celebrate the small wins along the way.

Flat Tummy Guide | Mind Pump

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Darren Nuzzo

Darren Nuzzo is a writer and performer from Huntington Beach, California. When he’s not authoring works of literary fiction or bombing at open mics, he returns to his roots of health and wellness, teaming up with Mind Pump to bring a new voice to the fitness industry.

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