You exercise like a demon, eat like a saint (with the exception of the odd burger every now and again) and guzzle water like you’re in the Sahara desert. So, why haven’t those elusive abs made an appearance yet?
1. Unbalanced hormones
If you’re reasonably lean but can’t seem to shift that last layer of fat on your tummy, it may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance. Women who are dominant in the sex hormone, oestrogen, tend to store more fat around their midsection and hips—and find it far harder to lose. This can be caused by excess soy consumption, whey products or being on The Pill. If you think this may be the case, speak to your GP.
2. Not eating enough
Ensuring you’re eating enough is essential for building lean muscle mass (which plays a big role in giving you those toned muscles you desire). When you chronically undereat, it can slow down your metabolism, which not only makes it difficult to gain muscle but to lose fat, too.
3. You’re stressed
Not only can this wreak havoc on your overall health, it may also be what’s standing between you and your six-pack. The more stressed you are, the more cortisol you release. This can lead to the accumulation of stomach fat (and makes it nearly impossible to lose it). The solution? Introduce some self-care practices into your routine, yoga, meditation and mindfulness are all great tools.
4. Re-think your cardio
Doing long stretches of steady state cardio (like jogging or using the elliptical) also stimulates the stress hormone cortisol, which, of course, is not a good thing! Instead, shorter bursts of cardio (think HIIT sessions or sprint) combined with weight training sessions is one of the most effective ways to reduce body fat and create lean muscle.