A flat stomach: It’s not just about looking great in your favorite body-hugging outfit. Having a smaller waistline cuts your risks of heart disease, diabetes type 2, and other health problems. Check out these 25 tummy-shrinking tips—including some quick fixes for fitting into those skinny jeans tonight.
At the gym
Training. Women who hit the gym and watch calorie intake reduced ab fat-cell size by about 18%, making them more successful at tummy trimming than those who just dieted, according to a Wake Forest University study. The more weight-bearing the exercise, the more calories torched from your midsection. So walk, run, or add some jump roping to your usual routine. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women who did full-body strength-training twice a week decreased overall body fat and didn’t gain as much ab fat as those who didn’t.
Work in intervals. Women who did 20 minutes of interval training three times a week lost more belly fat than women who logged 40 minutes of moderate cardio three times a week, according to an Australian study.
Crunch time. Doing crunches? Pull in your abs before curling up to work your muscles twice as hard.
Do the bicycle to target other ab muscles (crunches work only the rectus abdominus, aka your six-pack): Lie with your hands behind your head; alternate touching each elbow to the opposite knee.
Don’t neglect your midback muscles (the lats). They work with your core to help you stand straighter, minimizing your pooch. Try Lat Rows: Bend at the waist and hold a dumbbell in each hand; bend elbows and pull weights up until elbows are level with torso.
To really challenge your abs, crank out crunches on a stability ball. You’ll engage more muscles than you will doing traditional crunches, according to a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
At the bar
Watch your brew. Beer drinkers have the highest waist-to-hip ratios of those who have six or more drinks a week, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill research says.
Have a little wine. Light to moderate wine drinking can protect against ab poundage, some studies suggest. But …sip just one daily glass of vino or other alcoholic beverage—more will build your belly instead.
Before a big event
Avoid carbonation. Fizzy drinks are full of gas—and you will be, too, if you drink them. The result? A not-so-svelte profile.
Cut back on energy drinks. Your body turns sugary, caffeine-laden drinks into fat faster than caffeine-free ones, spelling danger for your waistline, one New Zealand researcher notes.
Don’t sip through a straw—you’ll swallow extra air, which will show up on your middle.