Top Tips to Tighten and Tone Your Abs

Want abs in 2013?  When getting in better shape (especially at the start of a new year), so many people set a goal to tighten and tone.  People ask me all the time how to get a chiseled core.  So, I put together a list of my top tips to tighten and tone your tummy!  It takes hard work and dedication, but if you follow my advice below, you’ll see results!

chalene-johnson_abs

 

chalene johnson absTop Tips to Tighten and Tone Your Abs

1) Eat clean.

“Abs are made in the kitchen.”  You hear this all the time, and it’s true!  Only 20% of your physical results come from exercise.  80% is based on your diet.  So if you want abs, you MUST eat clean.  This means eating more whole foods and foods that are low in fat but high and protein, as well as cutting out the processed junk.

 

2) Use HIIT for cardio.

Not all cardio is created equal.  High Intensity Interval Traing (HIIT) is a superior form of cardio that is scientifically proven to burn more fat than your traditional cardio workout.  To see your abs, you have to get rid of the subcutaneous fat on top of your muscles.  Since HIIT burns 9x more fat than your typical cardio workout, you’ve got to mix it into your routine if you want faster results.

 

3) Strength train 3 times per week.

Again, to see your abs, you need to reduce your body fat.  And to reduce your body fat, you need more muscle.  No matter how much you work out now, you won’t see the same results if you aren’t strength training 3 times per week.  Lifting weights drastically changes

My sister @jenellesummers on Instagram showing an amazing ab exercise to train your core off the floor.

your body.  Lift heavy weights to build more muscle and truly change your body composition.

 

4) Train your core off the floor.

Most people think the only way to train your core is to lie down on the floor and do a bazillion crunches.  Not true!  In fact, you’re likely to have stronger, more defined abs by training them standing up!  Just take a look at any boxer, volleyball player, gymnast, or tennis player.  They have great abs – and it’s not from doing crunches. A regular ‘ol crunch on the floor really only tones your outermost layer of your abdominals – your rectus abdominus.  Functional exercises, on the other hand, incorporate all layers. Believe it or not, one of the very best ways to train your abs is by doing push ups!  They target all of your core muscles from the front to the back.

 

 

5) Add resistance to your ab workout.

If you insist on training on the floor with crunches, at least add some resistance to make your exercises more effective.  Use a resista-ball, or pick up a weight.  Your goal is to get your muscles to fail.  By failing, they break down and build back up even stronger helping you burn even more calories.

 

6) Count your calories.

Different health and fitness professionals will tell you different things, but this is my personal opinion based on 20+ years working in the fitness industry (especially with women).  If you want to lose weight and see your abs, you have to count your calories!  Just following the latest diet trend won’t cut it.  You see, diet plans are created for the average person.  So based on your body type, you could actually gain weight even if you’re eating super healthy.  You need to know how many calories you’re burning to know how many you can take in.  And if you’re really serious about your results, you’ll invest in a calorie-monitoring device, so you have an accurate idea of what you can afford calorie-wise.  I highly recommend the Bodybugg or the Fitbit.

 

7) Get more sleep.

Every day, it seems we have more and more substantial research coming out of our top universities proving that the amount of sleep you get affects your weight.  In one study, a group of people who got 8 hours of sleep each night was compared to a group that got 5.5 hours.  They had the same diet and exercise regimen, but guess who had almost 50% greater success in losing fat?… Go to bed early!

 

8) Reduce your stress.

When under stress, our bodies cope and attempt to protect us by creating more fat and holding on to it…especially in your mid section. Take steps to reduce the amount of stress in your life, and not only will you feel better, you’ll look better, too.

39 thoughts on “Top Tips to Tighten and Tone Your Abs

  1. Doing your 30 Day Push and this was on my to do list today. FInd more off the floor ab exercises! I swear you read my mind everyday. thank you for being so inspirational on so many levels. And keep reading my i=mind!

  2. Hey Girl,

    I just want to say thanks 4 everything.. I am a mom of 7 wonderful angels and my abs need toning. I lost the weigjt thanks to Turbo Jam and I dont sweat so for the first time in 9 years I have been able to get on the scale and weigh 180 and not 225lbs…. My clothes can’t fit.
    .. Tears of happiness!!! Thanks so much!!!

  3. Thanks Chalene for all the great advice! Your one of my favorite mentors and fitness instructors! Can’t wait to see you at Camp Do More! I will definately share this info with my challengers!!!

  4. Thanks so much for this article. I have been trying to get more definition and wondering what new exercises I need to do. This really helps! Thank you!

  5. I was just sitting here, being lazy, finding excuse after excuse why I don’t need to do my work out! Here I was surfing Facebook and I read your and found this link…you’ve inspired me once yet again! Now I have to work out…HIIT here I come…thanks for always giving my my second wind!

  6. Sweet!! Thanks so much for this, you’ve helped me get mine started and I’ll be adding all these things to finish them off! Woo-hoo!

  7. I love these tips! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people you can’t get abs just by doing crunches! Other wise I would have had them a long time ago! I love the wall climber move I’m going to have to try that one!

    • Strength training is super important. Doesn’t matter which one as long as you’re lifting heavy 3 times per week. Find one YOU enjoy!

  8. Chalene,

    Thank you for posting this article! This is great advice, especially trying to regain your figure after having a baby. I’m comfortable with my weight, but really need to tone!

    • Interval times vary depending on the intensity – however they are short…maybe 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Try the drills in Turbo Fire! ; ) They are timed out for you. I recommend doing HITT training 3 times or more each week.

  9. I’m doing Turbo Fire for the fourth time. I love it since I’ve lost 25 pounds and I feel great! However, I would like to try something new because I would like to lose 10 more pounds. Which workout program do you recommend me to do? I should mention that I started with Chalean Extreme a year ago. Any info. will be greatly appreciated! Thank you, Chalene!

  10. If I’m doing CE and HIIT every other day Mon. – Fri. along with an ab workout 4-5 times a week, would you say that’s good or would you advise something more? I also mix in Fire 30, 45, ect. Thanks!! You’ve not only changed my body, but also have given me self-esteem!!

  11. Thanks so much for the motivation! I have been doing piyo at the gym for the past year and love it, but would love to be able to do it from home. I saw somewhere that you’ve made piyo videos to sell. Do you know where I can purchase one of those? Thanks!

  12. Is Turbo Jam considered HIIT too? or just Turbo Fire? Thanks! Love your stuff…. I am determined to have sculpted abs for the first time in my life after having four kids in the past five years!!! Thanks to you!!!

  13. I have a hard time figuring out what my calorie intake should be. I bought a fitbit and my average total calorie burn per day ranges from 2100- 2500. I am 5’7″ and 143 lbs. Having a hard time getting 10lbs off. So how many calories should I be eating?

    Oh..and I am doing CX and TurboFire.

    Please help! I actually don’t care what the scale says if I could just tone up!

    • Hi Candace! Thanks for your comment! Since this was an older article, it wasn’t seen right away, but always want to help and appreciate comments! That’s great you got a FitBit! It will be very helpful. To lose a pound, you need to create deficit of 3,500 calories. So, you can lose one pound per week by taking what you typically burn in a day and aiming to create a deficit of 500 calories whether that’s by burning an extra 500 calories with exercise, eating 500 calories less, or doing a combination of the two (maybe burn 250 more in your workouts and eat 250 less). If you do that daily, you can steadily lose about a pound per week!

  14. Sleep is the biggest challenge for me these days. Chalene, you mentioned many times that you workout very early, around 5:30. How much hours of sleep do you have?

  15. I have been doing Turbo Jam for the last 3 months and love it! I lost 10 pounds striclty from changing my diet before I started and have lost another 8 pounds and 2 jean sizes doing Turbo Jam. My abs are getting definition except I can’t seem to shake the pooch from having kids. I am 5’1 and weigh 106. So I’m happy with my weight, just need to tone. What else do you recommend I can do?

    • That’s great, Pamela! Diet is #1! You might also try strength training added in with your cardio routine to boost your metabolism. Keep up the good work!

  16. Once again, to see your abs, you ought to reduce your system fat.  And also to reduce your system fat, you may need even more muscle.  Despite how much you determine today, you won’t see the exact same gains if you aren’t strength training 3 times per week.  Lifting weights drastically changes .My sibling @jenellesummers on top of Instagram showing a fantastic ab exercise to train your core off of the floor. the body.  Lift heavy weight to build even more muscle and additionally truly change the body composition. .

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