Wanted - flat tum

Just wondering if anyone had any tips on maintaining/reattaining the flat stomach that made a brief appearance late in my marathon training. I don't want to keep up 35 miles a week but I do want to look fab in my bikini. Will stomach crunches do the trick? Or some other gym routine? I'm currently doing about 15 miles a week plus the odd swim.


  • 90% of achieving a flat tum is sensible diet (low in saturated fat and simple sugars). Crunches are useful up to about 20-30 reps but more are not necessary - if you can do more than that with ease then add some resistance.

    Keep up a good level of CV exercise and remember that the best way to "re-shape" your body is to add a couple weights sessions per week (with weights heavy enough to leave you unable to keep lifting after 8-15 reps).

    Good luck!
  • Do you just want a flat tum or do you want some muscle definition?

    I have kept up my stomach routine (which consists of 3 sets of 20 crunches every day, more if i have the time) for nearly a month now which is a record for me.

    Its definition im after, which is there already, just hiding under a layer of 'insulation' lol!
  • A flat tum eh?

    Listen up! You have already experienced the first rule of getting a flat tum - you need quite a low body fat - and that is what marathon training does for you. (Think Paula Radcliffe - very little body fat and her tummy is like a stretched drumskin!)
    Sad fact - this entails lots of cardiovascular exercise and lots of care and knowledge about diet.

    The next rule is abdominal muscle tone - running strengthens this to some extent without specific exercises. Abdo crunches are OK for the upper muscles (just below your ribcage), but if overdone they can leave you with relatively weak lower transverse and deep abdominal muscles - and the effect is a rather unsightly "pot belly"! So if you intend to do abdominal exercises, try to get a knowledgeable gym instructor to demonstate a balanced program -

    - sorry - long answer to short question -
  • Leg raises are very good for the lower abs.

    Although saying that, i can feel my crunches most in my sides and very low abs, dont know why this is?
  • Yes, yes! My upper abs are much better than my lower ones...I'll give leg raises a try. Basically I just want flatness, but a little definition would be nice. Surely a bit of muscle can help to hold in the fat?!

    What about the swimming? Any particular strokes that are better than others (backstroke?)

    Maybe you feel the crunches lower down because your upper abs are already toned from running, DBSA?
  • Maybe, although unlikely

    There is another thread on here somewhere, not that long back, i was quite concerned that i wasnt doing them properly and am putting to much strain on my back, should the back be straight or cruved?
  • Sadly, the fat is on top of the muscle otherwise a good theory!

  • since i started swimming it _has_ helped my abs/core stability. in theory crawl should involve a rolling action which i'd have thought helps.

    wish i looked good in a bikini :-)
  • Wish i had a private pool to swim in....
  • if i wore a bikini i'm fairly sure i'd have the place to myself pretty quickly.
  • Can't do crawl :(

    I'm a very bad swimmer, not helped by the fact that I can't see a thing without my contacts so not even the sight of you in a bikini could scare me...
  • specsavers do approx prescription goggles (at 0.5 thingy increments) for £30
  • SticklessStickless ✭✭✭

    Even early on in Pilates, you learn a lot about lower abs. It's a refinement of "crunches" I believe, takes a bit of learning, does not involve the six-pack, but once learned, does not need 35 miles per week, nor particularly horrible dieting. I say this because it's made a noticeable difference for me, and I'll never hit 35 miles per week, and I've never successfully followed a slimming diet in my life.

    And its good for running as well. (Strong core makes moving the legs easier.)
  • I don't think there is an easy way to a flat stomach. Lots of work and good diet!
  • I found that pilates was the best way to good good core strength, which happened to bring along with it a flat stomach and the beginings of a 6-pack. It's also improved my posture and improved my running. Well worth a try if you can find a class. Definitely worth finding a class though - don't just try a book or video, you really need an instructor.
  • Whats a pilate?
  • a bit like a pirate with a six pack
  • To get a flat stomach eat little and do plenty of ab work and keep fit at all times. The exception was ginger spice who went on atkins diet coz she couldnt eat little. As soon as you stop the above it goes pretty rapid-The cheap option is to do what most of us do-Hold your breath when someones looks at your tum!

  • Already doing that last one...
  • goes pretty quickly once you stop..............oh yeah...that's true
  • Pilates is really good but you have to do it properly. It works on only doing small repitions but you do them so slowly with the muscles pulled in tight, really concentrating on the movements. You won't get results overnight but in time you do notice a difference. The biggest thing i found was how it affected my posture on a day to day basis, in the fact that i was more aware of holding my stomach in and standing tall.
  • should have checked the spelling in that!!!
  • You need about as much room as you take up lying on the floor with your arms stretched over your head.

    I would recommend trying a class for a while rather than just using a DVD because you can't watch the screen all the way through the movements, and the DVD won't tell you when you're doing it wrong!

    When you first start doing pilates it really makes a difference having an instructor who can re-position you when you're wrong - otherwise you strengthen the wrong muscles and end up either hurting yourself or ruining your posture.

    The moves aren't generally complicated, but you do need to be very aware of the muscles that you're working and concentrate really hard on your body. I find it easier to do in front of a mirror because then you can see if you're out of line, or if your shoulders are creeping up to your ears!

    I would definitely recommend a class - most gyms, and local leisure centres will have a class I expect.
  • the zapper things only work for definintion and tone. and only if youre pencil thin already. there better for rehabilitation treatments and the like, from torn muscles etc.
  • Hiya, reading with interest....have been told that, unusually for a woman, am storing what fat I have on my stomach not my thighs or anywhere else....can I get rid of that without losing fat elsewhere first, don't want to lose weight anywhere else but would like to lose the roll on my stomach....do lots of CV (run/swim/squash) and a weights session once a week, work ABs 3/4 times a week....is pilates the answer, sounds good?!
  • I have read much on the subject of trying to 'target' particular areas of the body as I have always had real difficulty shifting the fat over my stomach but the rest of my body fat disappears with ease. (maybe something to do with my friend Al Cohol)

    Opinion is divided on the subject - some believe that by exercising certain muscles (eg Abs) the fat in that area of the body is used up first, others believe that regardless of which part of the body is excercised the fat is burnt evenly throughout the body.

    I have deduced that different things work for different pople and the best option is to give it a try and see what works for you. - now is that the least useful reply youve ever read or wot?
  • EP - there's a local Pilates class that I started doing a couple of weeks ago. Classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It's really good. Also available in Reading at various places I believe (seem to remember seeing them advertised).

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