Make your life less convenient
aroonroj.kul/Shutterstock Former personal trainer and boutique fitness studio owner Carla Birnberg has a different approach to exercise—one that doesn’t involve sprinting on a treadmill or bike, and she says she’s never been fitter—or had flatter abs. “At 48 years old, my midsection is far more ripped than it was decades ago and my cardio of choice is walking. This is something I do every day. Even if my schedule is super busy, I make time to get at least 10,000 steps by simply making my life less convenient. I’ll take the stairs, park far away from entrances, and pace during conference calls. Every little bit adds up.” (For days when it’s not feasible to cram in the recommended 10,000 daily steps, this shorter routine has got you covered.)
Steer clear of fake food
LightField Studios/Shutterstock There are so many diets these days—Paleo, vegan, gluten-free—that it can be difficult to decipher which approach is best for your goals. But Birnberg says a specific diet isn’t necessary. When she was working with clients, she would tell them to simply stay away from fake, chemical-laden fare and eat more nutritious whole foods. “I don’t get behind any specific approach to eating,” she says. “I believe we need to find what works for us and I personally stick with foods that my grandmother would have recognized.”
(Psst! Don’t miss these other ten sickening secrets about processed foods.)
Stop doing crunches
Dirima/Shutterstock “There is zero evidence that doing ab exercises like crunches or planks actually help to lose belly fat,” says Richey. Kelvin Gary, NASM-CPT, owner of Body Space Fitness in New York City, stresses the same message, saying you can see results faster by doing compound movements instead.
“When a client comes to me asking how to get abs fast, we’ll add a lot of compound movements that link upper and lower body into their training program. They might do squats combined with overhead press or lunges paired with a row,” says Gary. “These exercises raise their heart rate, which increases their calorie burn, helping them see results faster. This style of training also helps strengthen the core by connecting the upper and lower body in one movement, which can ward off injury.” (Hate hitting the gym? This tiny change can make workouts way more enjoyable.)