Basic crunches simply won't do. What works: Engaging what are literally known as the corset muscles — the transverse abdominals that wrap around your midsection — as well as your obliques, says Heather Andersen, founder of New York Pilates, who created this waist-whittling workout. Do the entire sequence every day (a total of 25 minutes), plus follow the flatter-belly diet tips too and you could see a smaller waist in as little as 10 days.
PELVIC ROCKS Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor and hip-distance apart. Exhale as you press your entire lower back into the floor. Inhale as you lift your low back off the floor. Repeat nine times. "This simple move helps you find a neutral spine, the most efficient position to train your abs for all the exercises that follow," explains Andersen.
TOE TAPS Lie on your back with knees bent in tabletop, keeping a neutral spine. Slowly lower your right leg toward the floor, then bring it back to start. Repeat nine times; switch legs. Finish with 10 reps, using both legs. "The weight of your leg forces you to stabilise your abs," she says.
LEG REACHES Lying on your back with knees bent in tabletop, extend your right leg straight out and slowly lower it toward the floor, then engage your lower abs to bring it back to tabletop. Repeat nine times, then switch legs. Finish by moving both legs together for 10 reps.
LOWER AB TRIFECTA Lie on your back with knees bent in tabletop. Bring your hands behind your head and curl your head, neck, and shoulders off the floor. Repeat Toe Taps and Leg Reaches with your head lifted. Finish with a set of the Hundreds: With your legs straight out and lifted off the floor at hip height, arms long at your sides, pump them up and down one inch as you inhale for a count of five and exhale for a count of five, for a total of 100 counts.
ELBOW PLANK Lying on your back, prop yourself up on both elbows with knees bent in tabletop and ribs pulled in. Let your knees drop to one side about halfway (the opposite hip will lift, but don't rotate your upper body), then bring legs back to start. Repeat nine times, then switch sides.
SIDE PLANK WITH ROTATION Get into a right side plank, with your elbow below the shoulder and feet stacked. Extend your left arm straight toward the ceiling, then rotate your rib cage toward the floor, threading your left hand under your waist, keeping your hips still. Do two sets of 10, then switch sides.
To flatten your belly, a strategic diet is key. Registered dietitians Leah Silberman and Molly Rieger, creators of Tovita Nutrition, a virtual nutrition counseling and concierge service in New York, divulge exactly what to add to your diet and what to avoid.
TRY TURMERIC, which has anti- inflammatory properties that help depuff, says Silberman, who suggests using it to spice up vegetables, chicken, and fish as well as your morning smoothie. On the run? Try a turmeric shot at your local juice joint.
DRINK DANDELION AND GREEN TEA "They're natural diuretics that help flush out excess water in the body," explains Rieger.
SNACK ON PINEAPPLE AND PAPAYA "Pineapple has the digestive enzyme bromelain, and papaya contains papain; both lessen bloating," Rieger says.
AVOID CARBONATED DRINKS, which introduce air bubbles into your gut with every sip, says Silberman. Choose flat water instead (aim for two litres daily). "Staying hydrated helps re- move cellular waste for a flatter stomach," she says.
EAT VEGGIES WISELY Beans, legumes, and cruciferous vegetables (such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower) can make you bloated, notes Silberman. Eat small portions of them (no more than half a cup). The same goes for onions and garlic.
Via Harper's Bazaar US