ATLETA Fitness

4 Steps to a Flat Stomach for Summer

The days are getting longer and the heat is certainly turning up; another reminder that summer is just around the corner! And with this in mind, it’s time to get those flat stomachs for beach season.

Different people, and professionals, will all give you an array of opinions on the matter. Generally, though, a flat stomach is believed to be made up of 70% diet and 30% exercise. What does this mean those of us aiming to achieve that lean, shredded look? Read on for more information on how diet and exercise can help you get that summer six-pack ready!Chick with abs on Beach


Monitor Energy Intake

Monitoring and balancing energy intake is the first step towards achieving a flat stomach. Balancing energy requirements against expenditure ensures your energy intake is conducive to weight loss and muscular toning. Everyone has different energy requirements, based around activity level, height, weight and age (among other minor factors). The World health Organisation has developed a formula to estimate daily energy expenditure, see the link here for more information.

Maintaining a daily energy intake around, or mildly below, that set for your individual requirements will ensure you avoid weight gain, and continue leaning up for your summer six-pack! Just as important as total energy intake, however, is the make-up of your diet. Not all foods are created equal in the energy world…

Limit Sugar and Processed Carbs

Excessive sugar intake and processed carbs can detract from your ability to shed belly fat, and attain that lean, summer look. High processed carb and sugar intakes spike insulin levels inside the body, causing the body to store fat and glucose for future energy use and in turn burn the ‘simple sugars’ that are now readily available in the blood stream. The one exception here, however, is post work-out. An insulin spike post-workout can help the body to repair damaged muscles and improve exercise returns, as insulin release also causes the release of insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This acts in a similar way to growth hormone and testosterone, causing improved muscle repair and better returns for your workout. That said, you don’t require a heavy sugar load to achieve this insulin spike – a fruit salad, or even pasta and breads are more than enough to cause this; so don’t use it as an excuse to reward yourself with too much sugar!

A balanced diet containing high vegetable intake, moderate fruit intake, adequate protein intake and a balanced dose of carbohydrates is ideal for leaning up for summer. 5-7 servings a day are recommended for vegetables, where a medium salad is generally 2-3 servings. 2-3 servings of fruit are all that is required, due to the high sugar content of fruit– one medium banana, some berries, a kiwi fruit and an apple is more than enough. 1-1.5 grams per kilogram bodyweight is the recommended protein intake for active populations, equating to a yoghurt, glass of milk, small piece of fish and a protein supplement for an average sized female.

Adjusted food pyramid

Balance your diet according to your energy needs, exercise habits and daily schedule.

Carbohydrate intake causes water retention, and as such can make it hard to shred weight and get that flat stomach you desire. A balanced and limited mixed grain, seed and bean intake will ensure you receive sufficient energy to stay active, without gaining too much weight. Ideally however, most carbohydrate intake should come from your fruit, vegetable and dairy intake. For those who regularly bloat after eating, it may be worthwhile looking into the FODMAP diet. This diet has been specifically designed to exclude the foods, and chemical components of these foods, that can cause excessive bloating after eating. Click here for more information on FODMAP foods, and how it could help you reduce bloating.

A balanced and nutrient rich diet will certainly help you shred your stomach for summer, but regular exercise is the tool that will take you from a slim stomach to beach-ready, shredded abs!


Structured Resistance Training Program

A structured and varied resistance training program will improve your muscle tone, leaving you looking leaner for summer. A good resistance training program will balance load across all muscle groups in the body, focusing on leg work and including core strengthening exercises. Click here to find out why you’ve got to do the leg work to get your summer body! A varied training program will also ensure your body is surprised by each workout, stimulating better improvements and long term results from your training. Group training can be another great way change up your regular sessions, by providing a different training stimulus each week and taking the thought out of structuring your own training day to day. Click here for more information on our summer group training.
Optimized-Mountain CLimbers on BeachAs well as resistance and strength work, cardio is needed to shred the physique and let the world see your hard work. High intensity interval training is the perfect choice to flatten your stomach for summer…

High Intensity Interval Training

HIIT is a great way to shock your body, create a massive energy burn and finish off a tough session in under 20 minutes. HIIT comes in many shapes and forms, and is limited only by your level of exercise creativity. Running is the most commonly thought of form of HIIT, although there a plenty of other ways to train with HIIT. Using an exercise bike or rowing machine is another great way to utilise HIIT and have a tough workout in a hurry. Bodyweight exercise such as mountain climbers, gorilla crawls, bear crawls, jump squats and many others used in differing combinations can be a fun way to change up from your usual HIIT and create a full-body muscle and cardio burn! Follow the link here for more information on how to change up your cardio training further.

A balanced, healthy diet and a well-structured regualr exercise program are all you’ll need to get those six-pack abs ready for summer! Click below to find out more on training with the ATLETA Team.

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Written by Johann Ruys



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