There are a lot of “top secret” tips and tricks to get six-pack abs floating around on the internet, and while some of them might have a bit of truth to them, many could even do more harm than good in the long run! If you want toned abs and a flat stomach, it’s important to know which methods are tried and true to ensure success! What you eat will be paramount in your journey to a firm, toned abdomen. When it comes to burning off stomach fat, all the crunches and lunges in the world won’t make up for a diet full of starchy, greasy, unhealthy foods!

Protein is Key

Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and energy, so it’s important you monitor your protein intake and make sure you are getting enough in your diet. Protein will be the fuel that powers you through your workout. Your body has to work harder and burn more calories in order to break down and process protein than any other macronutrient, so making protein a priority in your diet maximizes the benefits from your workout. Also, proteins fill you up more and for longer periods of time than carbohydrates, so it’ll help keep you from indulging in unhealthy snacks!

Fat Isn’t Always Your Enemy

Fats have a bad reputation in general, but healthy dietary fats like olive and fish oils, almonds and other nuts, avocado, and nut butters can be essential to attaining the six-pack of your dreams. Dietary fat is crucial to keeping your insulin levels regular. High insulin levels can cause your body to pack on fat, which is exactly what you don’t want! Healthy fats, like protein, also keep you feeling satiated for longer periods of time. Some diets very high in fats can actually get you to your goal faster, as your body learns to break down fats for sustained energy.

Many of these foods, especially nut and nut butters, are very calorie-dense and can increase your daily calories quickly, but budgeting about 20-30% of your day’s caloric intake towards these foods will keep you healthy and on the right track for toned abs.

Chow Down on Carbs After your Workout

The best time to take in carbs when trying to get a firm, flat stomach is after your workout, when your body is essentially begging for nutrients to turn into energy. Of course, along with all these proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, you should aim to consume at least 1-2 cups of raw vegetables daily. Vegetables are wondrous for maintaining insulin levels, improving the way your body processes protein, and replenishing your body’s store of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All the fiber in vegetables prevents bloating and will leave you looking lean and toned!

Balance Diet and Exercise for Optimal Results

Diet is the first thing you should look at when you start seriously making steps towards a flatter stomach and six-pack abs. The same old routine of simple carbs and processed fats just won’t cut it if you really want to see a difference, so make salads, lean meats, and other healthy choices the staples of your diet.

The best exercises to pair with your new diet for a six-pack are crunches and leg raises. Look for tips online to make sure you are doing them right and getting the most out of your workout! Incorporate running and other cardio to help you burn off the fat sitting on top of your soon-to-be toned abs. If running is beyond your ability as a beginner, try swimming a few times each week. Skipping and jumping are two-for-ones: great for burning fat and for your abs! Try pushups or pull-ups, they are great for your stomach muscles and will help your whole body be fitter and stronger.