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A new year – a new you. As we enter 2010, we make countless self-improvement promises to ourselves—to gossip less, to floss more and to tighten that tummy. While we can’t help you with the first two goals (in this article), we can certainly help you with the last. We have constructed a complete guide to help you get fab abs in just a month. That’s reason enough to celebrate a new year!

Exercise Plan

We’ll start with your new and improved 2010 workout. The first thing you need to realize is that in order to get fab abs, you must combine both cardio and strength training—great abs are a result of both slimming down and toning up. Marissa Adamany, certified personal trainer and fitness athlete, suggests doing 45 minutes of cardio a day (this could be on the treadmill, elliptical bike, Stairmaster, or that 6 o’clock spin class), along with weight training. A good weight-training program, she says, is a circuit of standard crunches, bicycle crunches, leg raises, and crunches on a stability ball. We suggest doing the circuit three times with 20 repetitions per each exercise. “Just remember to switch it up every two weeks or your body will get used to it,” Adamany says. If you’ve been running on the treadmill a lot recently, jump on the Stairmaster next time instead.
Commit to one hour at the gym, five days a week (allow yourself a weekend break) with this routine:

  • Begin with 45 minutes of cardio (your choice)
  • Then follow up with three sets of the Four Step Abs Circuit (below)
Four Step Abs Circuit

1. Standard Crunches (20 repetitions)

2. Bicycle Crunches (20 repetitions)

3. Leg Raises (20 repetitions)

4. Crunches on a stability ball (20 repetitions)

Insider Tip: Doing faster crunches activates more stomach muscles, Adamany said. We suggest doing your crunches to a fun song like, Britney Spears’s new hit, “3.” This will make your workout more fun, and we all know that “time flies when you’re having fun!”

Eating Plan

After all this hard work in the gym, there’s no sense in slacking off when it comes to your diet. Pay close attention to what you put in your mouth – keep in mind that old time saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” – yikes! “If you create a 3500-calorie deficit through diet, exercise or a combination of both, you will lose one pound of body weight,” according to www.bmi-calculator.net. To obtain the optimal physique, reduce your calorie intake by about 200-300 per day – Adamany suggests noshing on fiber, protein and calcium. Both fiber and protein will keep you full longer, and eliminate senseless eating throughout the day – always a plus!

How to get your daily dose:

  • Apples
  • Fiber One Cereal (our absolute fave! – refer to www.hungrygirl.com for some great recipes)
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Nuts
  • Lean Turkey
  • Skinless Chicken
  • Fage Greek Yogurt (It’s delish!)
  • Eggs

A Saint Louis University School of Medicine study found that women in their research groups who ate eggs for breakfast consumed an average of 140 fewer lunch calories than those who ate bagels. The study also found that the women who ate eggs consumed fewer calories for the 36 hours following, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

  • Yogurt
  • Low-Fat Pudding
  • String Cheese
  • Milk

“Dieters who consumed 1,300 milligrams of calcium every day shrunk their waists more than dieters who consumed the same amount of calories with less calcium,” according to a study conducted by the University of Tennessee, Adamany told us. Things to stay away from (how to beat the bloat): carbonated beverages, chewing gum (swallowing air while chewing bloats your stomach) and beer (this is a no-brainer).

Sample Meal Plan:

  • ¼ cup scrambled Egg Beaters (protein)
  • ¼ cup spinach mixed in your eggs (fiber)
  • 2 slices of Canadian bacon (protein)
  • 1 Dannon Light & Fit Yogurt (calcium)
Mid-morning Snack:
  • Lean Turkey on Fiber One English Muffin (protein and fiber)
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Mustard (not mayo)
  • 1 Banana
Mid-afternoon Snack:
  • ½ cup cottage cheese (calcium)
  • your choice of fruit

These tips should have you well on your way to a body as rock solid as Shakira’s in her “SheWolf” music video. Of course, we all know that obstacles somehow find their ways into our perfect plans, so if you find yourself off track or in need of advice throughout the next month, just shoot us an e-mail ([email protected] or [email protected]) and we’ll gladly find the answers for you! Good luck, and hopefully this will be your last New Year setting that oh-so-popular flat belly goal! We believe you can do it! Sources: Marissa Adamany, certified personal trainer and fitness athlete http://www.bmi-calculator.net

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