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How to Get a Flat Tummy — Fast

FUEL UP: Foods rich in protein help you build muscle, while soluble fiber — found in oats, beans, fruits, and veggies — shrinks belly fat. A study from Wake Forest found that for every 10-gram increase in soluble fiber people ate daily (about two small apples, a serving of oatmeal, a half cup of pinto beans, and a half cup of peas), their belly fat decreased by almost 4% over five years.

FIGHT WITH FIBER: Adding ground flaxseed to your diet — mix a teaspoon or two into cereal or yogurt — helps prevent constipation. (It's hard to have flat abs if your pipes are backed up.) To avoid stomachaches, increase fiber slowly and up your water intake, advises Jessica Crandall, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

GO FOR A FAT BLAST: In a Duke University study of 196 sedentary, overweight adults, aerobic training significantly reduced deep belly fat and also burned more visible midsection flab. To maximize the benefit with a minimum time commitment, try interval training, suggests exercise physiologist Jessica Matthews of the American Council on Exercise. Start with a 1:2 ratio (jog 30 seconds, then walk briskly for a minute), aiming for 150 minutes weekly.

Posture Perfect

Standing tall, with tummy and butt tucked in, automatically makes your front look flatter. These two moves help you pull it off. Do each two to three times per week; work up to three sets of 12 reps.

Glute Bridge: Lie on back with bent knees, feet on floor. Lift butt, drawing pelvis to the ceiling without arching back. Lower butt down slowly.

Bird Dog: From all fours, extend one arm and the opposite leg to shoulder and hip height simultaneously, keeping shoulders and hips squared to the floor. Lower slowly to start, and repeat on opposite side.

It Takes Two to Flatten

Front Plank:

A. Lie on stomach, with forearms on floor and hands palm-down on either side of chest.

B. Tuck toes, lift legs, tighten abs, and raise body to a modified push-up position, keeping forearms on the floor. Hold five seconds, then lower.

C. Repeat three times. Work up to holding for 20 seconds each time.

Half-Kneel Lift:

A. Kneel on right knee, with left foot forward and left knee at 90-degree angle. Hold a soccer ball with both hands at right hip.

B. Without rotating body, slowly bring ball up and across until it's above left shoulder and slightly behind you. Return to start.

C. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 reps on each side.

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