AS we approach Christmas, it's like that many of us will be worried about how we look in a certain outfit.
This is normal and it can be easy for us to compare what our outfit looks like to how it appears on an Instagram model.
But if you're feeling uncomfortable and want to tone up your stomach area, there are certain exercises you can do to help.
Of course, becoming lean is also about the food we eat, but combining a balanced diet with these exercises could help you tone your stomach area and lose belly fat.
Speaking to The Sun, a whole host of fitness experts have given their top tips – which are specifically designed to target your tummy area and strengthen your core.
Millie Senior, personal trainer and fitness expert at Innermost explained: "Unfortunately, there is no way to ‘spot reduce’ fat – you can’t choose where on your body you lose fat from. To lose fat, you need to be in a ‘calorie deficit’.
"Simply speaking, you need to burn more calories than you take in. Ab exercises alone won’t be the reason you lose ‘belly fat’ and won’t give you six-pack abs or a flat stomach, but the following exercises, alongside a calorie deficit, will help you on your way!"
Here are eight exercises that could help you feel more confident.
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To do a deadbug, Millie explained that that you first need to lie flat on the floor with both arms and legs in the air. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
She explained: "Slowly lower your right leg downwards until your heel touches the floor. At the same time, slowly lower your left arm until your hand touches the floor behind your head.
"Return to starting position and then repeat the other side. That’s one repetition. Make sure your lower back doesn’t lift off the ground throughout!"
With these you should aim for three sets of ten repetitions once a day.
2. Mountain climbers
To do a mountain climber, you first need to position yourself in the press-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart.
Then Millie says you need to keep your core engaged and make sure your bum isn't sticking up in the air.
"Drive your right knee towards your chest and return to the starting position. Repeat with your left leg. That’s one repetition.
"Remember to breathe throughout and keep your core engaged!"
Tash Lankester, personal trainer at FLEX Chelsea said said there are two kinds of crunches that could help.
She said that cable crunch, which is performed on a weight machine at the gym, will help.
She said: "You can increase the weight, increase the reps, and play around with 1/4 reps and holds to really increase tension in the area."
To do this you need to kneel in front of the cable machine and grip the rope attachment with both hands.
Then with both hands pull it down in a controlled way.
Tash said a decline crunch is also another great exercise.
"You can add a dumbbell here to add weight and increase the load each time", she said.
To do this you need to lie down on a bench which is slightly tilted on a decline and secure your legs. Then put your hands either side of your head and remember to keep your elbows in.
Next you need to push the small of your back into the bench to avoid injury. You then sit up as though you are doing a crunch and repeat.
4. Hanging leg raises
Tash said that hanging leg raises are another great way to tone up, but that these require a lot of core strength to be done properly.
She said: "Start with knee raises if you cannot fully get your legs straight, then progress to single leg raises, eventually you may even be able to get toes to bar!
"It’s a great progressive exercise that doesn’t require extra load."
Top tips to make sure you’re on the right path to weight loss
Personal trainer Lewis Paris explained that we need to dispel myths when it comes to fat loss.
He said: "When losing weight we can't simply decide where we want to lose fat, it's impossible, instead we lose fat all around the body.
"Yes we can help encourage certain areas around the body to "tone up" by performing certain exercises but we still can't pinpoint exactly where the fat will be lost."
To ensure you're on the right path to losing weight and shedding belly fat, keep it simple and focus on these 3 things:
– Understand your daily maintenance calories and eat 2-300kcal less
– Increase your NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (walking, cleaning, gardening, playing with your kids etc)
– Introduce LISS workouts x1-2 times per week: Low Intensity Steady State Cardio (bike ride, brisk walk, cross trainer)
He added: "To increase your chances of burning belly fat and building a solid core, you must first understand how to contract & breathe correctly during your workouts.
"This will not only encourage good technique and a saved lower back but it'll help improve your mind to muscle connection, your muscles will get stronger and you'll build a more toned physique around your midsection."
5. Hollow hold
Another easy exercise that you can do at home is the hollow hold, says Lewis Paris, personal trainer with corporate wellbeing platform Gympass.
He said you should do this for 45-90 seconds with a 60 second rest and do three to four sets.
Lewis explained: "Focus on keeping your lower back in contact with the ground and your core will burn like a sausage on the BBQ."
Rachael Penrose, trainer at F45 Training explained how to do a hollow hold.
She said: "In a U-shaped position with the arms extended, biceps to the ears and the legs raised off the floor, engage the core and hold, or perform a small rocking movement for a more advanced version. This will really activate your mid-section."
Lewis said that there are a variety of planks that could help you tone up the stomach area.
The first is a strict elbow plank and you would do 60 seconds on and 30 seconds off for five sets. This is a traditional plank when you lie on the floor and come up on your elbows.
Lewis said: "Focus on keeping the hips tucked in by squeezing the glutes and contracting the core, try to avoid sinking hips."
He also recommended a elbow side plank, with a 60 second hold on each side followed by a 60 second rest for three to four sets.
"The elbow side plank will allow a best degree of focus with regards to contracting the rectus abdominis and keeping the hips up", he said.
To do this you need to be on your side and lean on one elbow/forearm while your body is stretched out in a plank position.
Lastly, he said that plank jacks will also work, for this you would do 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.
Get into a plank position and hold your core tight, then use your legs to jump wide and then back to your starting position.
Sarah Durnford, head trainer for Les Mills UK said that with a lot of attention being put on the front of the body, it's easy to neglect the back of the body.
She explained that it's important for balance, symmetry and good posture alignment.
Sarah recommended a pointer, which is when you are on all four and raise the opposite arm to leg.
8. Russian twist
Rachael from F45 said we must not neglect rotational work and our obliques, and the Russian twist ticks both these boxes.
She explained how to do a Russian twist: "With the feet either on or off the floor, rotate your torso from side to side to work your rotational plane.
"As a progression, hold a weight in your hands while you perform the move."
Hayley Madigan, Bulk ambassador and PT said that if weight loss is your goal then you will make more progress if don't overdo the cardio.
She added: "Cardio is great for cardiovascular health and overall health, but weight loss comes down to calories in vs calories out.
"So, if you’re running a 5k every day but eating more calories than you’re burning, you will not only be overworking your body, but you likely still won’t reach your goal.
"Try increasing your daily expenditure by moving more, walking to work and back, trying new active hobbies like paddle boarding or bouldering.
"And instead of focusing on how many miles you run or the amount of time you stay on the stairmaster, focus more on your nutrition and upping your daily movement".
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