There is a certain sense of confidence that stems from being healthy and fit. You feel stronger, faster and focused. Other perks include a toned body, and possibly, a flatter stomach, if that is your fitness aim.

“I always advocate embracing your natural physique. It’s great to have fitness goals, but make sure they are realistic,” says Samantha Clayton, Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife Nutrition.

“Body confidence looks good on everyone,” she adds.

Clayton, who struggled with strengthening her core after giving birth to triplets, shares her tried-and-tested, straight-forward secrets to getting a flatter tummy.

Suck it in

Stand up tall and pull your belly button toward your spine. Clayton says this was one of the first daily habits she adopted in her quest.

“The action of simply ‘sucking it in’ activates your core muscles and helps you maintain good posture. Your shoulders will relax, and you will immediately appear to have a smaller tummy.”

She suggests doing this at regular intervals throughout the day while seated or standing, starting with three sets of 10, holding your stomach in for 10 seconds at a time. Remember to breathe, she says, because it is not wise to hold your breath while contracting your muscles.

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Drink enough water to avoid bloat

“It’s very common for women to get a puffy appearance when they’re not well hydrated,” says Clayton.

“The human body can easily hold onto excess fluid, giving your tummy a bloated appearance.”

She recommends drinking about eight to 10 glasses of water a day.

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The plank

Common exercise moves that target the stomach – think crunches, sit-ups, and hanging leg raises – work the vertical and oblique muscles, but planking works several muscle groups at once.

“Planks blast the transverse abdominal muscles that help keep your tummy flat,” says Clayton.

 

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