For some women, attaining a stomach that is bikini-ready seems impossible. Childbirth, stress, menopause and unhealthy food choices can cause weight gain in the abdominal region. If you want rock-hard abs, you must eat a balanced low-fat diet, do aerobic exercises and train your entire abdominal area as hard as you can. Stick with it -- it may take up to eight weeks or more to see results.
Eat to burn fat. "The Eat-Clean Diet" author Tosca Reno states that losing body fat is 80% diet, 10% exercise and 10% genetics. To get those abdominal muscles to show, you must eat for fuel and fat-burning. Eating clean is how many bodybuilders prepare for competitions, giving them the ripped look they need to win. To eat clean, you must eat five to six small meals a day, consisting of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and essential fatty acids. Choose fish, tofu, lean beef, beans and legumes for your protein. Eat whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables for your carbohydrates, and consume olives, oils, avocados, nuts and seeds for your fats. Avoid caffeine, sugar, processed frozen meals and greasy fast foods.
Increase your intake of monounsaturated fats. These fats are found naturally in olives, oils, avocados, nuts, seeds and dark chocolate, and they help prevent weight gain in the stomach area, according to the American Diabetes Association. The less fat you have around your stomach, the easier it will be to see your rock-hard abs. Eat a small amount of food containing monounsaturated fats with every meal.
Work your entire core. You have six muscles in the abdominal area, often referred to as the core. When defined, the largest of these muscles, the rectus abdominis, creates the six-pack look. In order to get this muscle and the rest of your core muscles to show, you must work them hard. Regular crunches are fine, but you will need to up the intensity your workouts and add variety to get your abs rock hard. Try adding weights to your crunch routine by holding a plate or dumbbell on your chest. Incorporate different movements, such as the plank, the side plank, V-sit crunches and hovers, into your abdominal routine. Work your core muscles at least every other day for the fastest results.
Burn belly fat with cardiovascular exercise. Aerobic activity is a catalyst to help your body burn energy from fat stores. Your cardio routine should be a minimum of 30 minutes, and you should work at 80 to 85 percent of your target heart rate. To maximize fat-burning during cardio, Jason Karp, PhD, suggests doing a different aerobic activity weekly. Do shorter but harder interval training at 90 to 100 percent of your target heart rate once a week, or extend the length of your workout to 90 minutes to two hours. The key is to train hard and consistently, so perform intense cardio at least five days per week.
Drink plenty of water daily to stay hydrated and metabolize excess fat. Execute all exercises properly, striving for great form over volume.
Be aware of your lower back when doing advanced core exercises. If a movement is causing extreme pressure or pain in your back, stop immediately. Always consult your doctor prior to beginning any new diet or exercise program.