Stop doing crunchesDirima/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.)
Set aside more time for sleepRawpixel.com/Shutterstock
If you’re sacrificing sleep to squeeze in early morning workouts, you may be doing your body more harm than good, says Jay Cardiello, a celebrity trainer who’s worked with stars like Sofia Vergara and Jennifer Lopez. “Skimping on sleep can cause the body’s levels of leptin to drop. Leptin is the hormone that tells your brain that you’re full. So when you don’t have enough of it, it sends a message to the brain that there’s a shortage of food and increases your appetite,” Cardiello explains. “Do your waistline a favor and make sleep a priority. Seven or eight hours a night is ideal.” Try some of these seven essential oils for a good night’s sleep (and three to avoid).
Make some hard choicesIgor Normann/Shutterstock
“It doesn’t matter if you do core exercises all day long if you’re indulging in bread, dessert, and wine on your ‘cheat days,'” says Cherry. “You will continue storing abdominal fat. Pick one and truly savor it. This will allow you to enjoy life without overindulging.”
Jim White RDN, ACSM, owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios, seconds Cherry’s strategy, but he believes you will see results even faster by giving up alcohol. “Since alcohol provides little nutrition and is straight empty calories, I negotiate with my clients to reduce their intake at least by half. Each serving of alcohol that they eliminate per week helps them cut about 150 calories.”