Bare legs are so 2013 - this summer, it's all about the bare midriff. Would you reveal yours? Read our eight top tips first
Just when you thought you’d got your spring wardrobe covered - nice pencil skirt, pastel shades, pretty blouse, phew, no need to bare any flesh just yet apart from maybe a tiny sliver of ankle - a pile of celebrities go and bare their midriffs. Isn’t a bit early in the year for this, I hear you cry?
Bare legs? That’s so 2013 – at California’s coolest Coachella festival last week, there were more midriffs about than gladiator sandals. Queen of the scene appears to be Poppy Delevingne and her beautiful hippy followers who all have tummies as taut as a Gucci leather handbag. Love it or hate it, it seems nearly every celebrity is at it, including Beyonce who last week snapped a pic of herself about to board a flight in leopard print leggings and cropped top. What's more, there have been all manner of A-listers on the red carpet of late slinking about in dresses with cut-out sections flashing their upper abs. Since when did it become OK to expose your stomach at a black tie do?
But here’s the point - unlike the nineties when the Buffalo-booted Spice Girls flashed a strip of flesh, complete with stomach piercings aplenty, this time round the trend feels somewhat more sophisticated. The key now is in exposing upper abs only (no belly button required). Either that or the trend seems to be about flashing a sliver of stomach a la Gwyneth Paltrow who is forever wearing dresses with cut out sections around the tummy area and who at 40 has unfortunately well and truly crushed the idea that only teenagers should expose their stomachs. (Cheers Gwyn)
Undoubtedly midriff baring will be more divisive than Marmite, but for those of you who do fancy giving it a go, we asked our experts at Get the Gloss for their tips to getting a washboard wonder.
1. Abs are made in the kitchen
I wrote a piece about this following a bikini mission last year. My trainer Steve Mellor from Freedom2Train taught me that you can do as many crunches as you like but unless you get rid of the overlying fat on top, then your abs will be buried forever, Only through fast burning exercises (see below) and clean eating (also see below) will you beat the belly blubber.
2. Manage your insulin levels
Amelia Freer who is a nutritional therapist we love at GTG and who has helped me endlessly with my own diet says “elevated levels of insulin encourage the storage of fat, particularly around the middle. So managing blood sugar levels to reduce insulin production is key to reducing abdominal fat storage.” This means saying no to refined sugars and processed foods such as white bread, white pasta, cakes and pastries which lead to fat storage, and yes to anything unprocessed such as fresh everything.
3. HIIT IT
“The best fat-torching exercises are ones that increase your lean muscle mass, like lifting weights or HIIT exercises,” says celebrity trainer Dalton Wong of Twenty Two training . We have written extensively about HIIT training, which involved short bursts of hard exercise, followed by very short rest periods. The key, according to Steve Mellor is “if you can speak you’re not doing it hard or fast enough.”
4. Test for intolerance
“To avoid bloating” says Amelia Freer, “you need to avoid foods you may be intolerant to. Gluten and dairy are the most common to cause bloating but one man’s food is another's poison. If you aren't sure if foods are causing bloating, keep a food and digestive diary for a week to see if you can link symptoms to a particular food. For example you may be eating raw foods but they may not be suitable for you or alternatively, grains or caffeine might be an issue. Everyone reacts differently so don't follow the trend, tune in with your own body instead.”
5. Stand tall
Even the most taut midriff can be ruined by bad posture, but Dalton Wong says that back exercises can help with that. “Choose exercises like a variation of rows/pulling exercises for your back, long postural endurance exercises like cobras and Y + T’s (stand legs hip width apart and pull your arms up into a ‘Y’ shape, take them back into the middle before swinging them out to the sides into a T shape). Also don’t forget to stretch your chest out, and lift that chest up”
6. Pack in the protein
Protein is not just for bodybuilders. Amelia Freer insists that if you want to lose body fat, then adding protein to every meal will help. It not only keeps you fuller for longer but it builds lean muscle (note not bulky muscle). The more lean muscle the more fat you will burn and the tighter your tummy will look.
7. Drink more water
Ignore anyone that says drinking more water is not necessary. You ask anyone with an enviably taut stomach if they drink water and they will say absolutely yes. It flushes out toxins and helps everything function more smoothly. The recommended amount by fitties is two litres a day, that’s a big bottle and a bit more.
8. The crunch bunch
When your body fat is lower or if fat is not an issue for you but lack of definition is, then Dalton suggests exercises that work the abs. He advises a “weighted swiss ball crunch – by using the ball, you get a greater range of movement which equals a stronger, more defined tum.”
Images: Getty Images, instagram.com/beyonce, instagram.com/poppydelevingne