Here’s the deal, most of the time when people are asking about getting a flat stomach they’re really looking to burn fat and see their abdominal muscles, to tone up.
In this article, I am going to let you in on the secret to getting a flat stomach and you will find out how much you should plank and how long in order to answer your question.
Burning fat requires a caloric deficit, eating good nutrition is going to have one of the biggest impacts on calorie burning over any other thing you in your health & fitness journey, this is critical.
The average woman is said to need around 1500 calories per day, that means you have to burn more calories than you consume to be in a deficit.
We are highly generalizing here saying 1500 as a rounded number as every single person will differ slightly.
That means if you’re burning 500 calories through exercise and you eat 1500 calories per day you will be in a 500 calorie deficit.
Keep this up over a week and you are going to be in a total 3500 calorie deficit over the course of 7 days, this is also roughly the number of calories which are found in 1 pound of fat.
Let me get you to answer the ‘how long should I plank for a flat stomach’ question when I tell you that 1 minute of ‘planking’ (is that the right word, it is now!) will burn around only 3 and 4 calories per minute.
That means if you were to plank to burn calories you’d have to plank for 875 minutes to burn 1 pound of fat, it’s not effective, let’s just leave it at that.
What Is The Best Way To Get A Flat Stomach?
This is the real question I know you want to be answered.
The plank was simply a method you thought would potentially get you there quicker, we’ve stopped that thought unless you seriously want to plank for 875 minutes per pound, you’d be breaking records for sure!
As mentioned, nutrition is key for getting a flat stomach but also some other things to take into account.
Are you reacting to foods making you bloat? If so it would be worth doing an elimination diet to find out which ones are causing you an issue.
Are you needing to strengthen your core and improve your posture?
If so it could be worth planking with other strengthening exercises in the weight room to get you standing up taller and your stomach pulling itself in automatically.
Cardio will help you burn calories but as mentioned in other articles for fat loss which I have written, weight training will be key to getting your stomach to flatten and burn fat sustainably over time.
When mixed with a good nutrition plan you can build consistency implementing.
How Much Should I Strength Train?
When I start working with a client I will always make sure that they are honest about their current stress levels, history and experience in the gym, I want to make sure they aren’t saying 5 sessions a week if they are only able to hit 3 or even 2.
This is why when it comes to answering this question it is going to differ depending on the individual I am working with.
Building up habits and stacking them is key to developing a successful routine, start with 2 sessions, complete and get consistent then move to 3, 4 and even 5 potentially providing your recovery is great along with your nutrition you will be able to recover.
Strength training will also allow you to hold onto muscle when in a caloric deficit, this is great because one of the biggest mistakes people make is going full-on cardio and no strength training.
They melt away ‘weight’ but end up melting muscle instead, resulting in their metabolic rate decreasing through less movement during the day, not what you want, the scales go down but your body fat percentage goes up, not fun.
When you do get into the gym to train I would always advise for people to train at a good intensity rather than just doing a really high number of repetitions along with lightweight.
Many women shy away from the heavier and more compound weights because I have been told they don’t want to get too bulky, this is not going to happen.
Female hormonal status means that you won’t have the level of testosterone in your body in order to build muscle fast.
Even in natural males it takes time to build up muscle, putting in the specific training and periodization, the food and being in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than you’re burning per day).
Is There Anything Else I Can Do?
Here’s a secret people don’t tell you, a magic pill shall we say, stress management and lowering it as much as possible to allow your body to really start to thrive and flatten that stomach.
The thing people forget about when they’re stressed is that the body starts to charge up and release a lot of adrenaline to essentially run off.
This isn’t great as it means blood is shunted to the muscles just like when our ancestors had wild animals chasing after them and they had to literally decide if they would fight or flight, running as fast as possible.
When this happens the blood isn’t available in your body to digestion.
Cortisol (the stress hormone) really spikes up and creates all sorts of confusion within the body leading to digestive issues such as IBS and bloatedness along with high levels of fatigue, low focus and brain fog amongst many many more long term problems if it’s elevated for an extended period of time.
Therefore if you’re wanting to flatten that stomach then strength training with good high levels of intensity, a consistent focus on nutrition alongside aiming to lower your stress levels will allow you to have a much better chance of achieving this.
If you need help in order to get a plan in place feel free to drop me a message, after helping over 1000 clients on a 1-1 basis I have become pretty great at providing solid online coaching for people just like yourself, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.