Katrina Hodgson, NASM CPT, BS Health Science, has helped thousands reach their goals by designing fitness programs with her workout videos and her website ToneItUp.com. As one of Diet.com’s featured personal trainers she hopes to share her passion for fitness and continue to make a positive impact for the Diet.com community.

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Fitness Expert Katrina

by Katrina Hodgson, Diet.com Fitness Expert
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Spring is here and I have received many questions this week on how to flatten your tummy!! With bathing suits right around the corner and summer dresses, we want to be able to fit into the clothes we want to wear and feel great in! Tightening up your abs is one of the hardest things because there is no single solution. It takes 3 main commitments that you want to incorporate into your lifestyle.

First thing is calories! Any fat that is overlaying your muscle needs to be broken down into energy ‘burning fat’. To do this, take in fewer calories in than you burn. That simple? Yes, but it’s hard. It’s very easy to overindulge in a few extra hundred calories (yes hundreds!) with a couple glasses of wine or even calories from healthy foods! No matter what, calories are calories and we want to take in less than what we burn in order to lose fat. Some food are more calorie dense, so make wise food choices throughout the day. Some examples are to drink low calorie drinks like crystal light, fill up on low calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and stay hydrated all day so that you do not mistake thirst for hunger. With these small changes you can deduct just a few hundred calories from your diet each day. Be creative!

The second great way to lose fat in your abdominal area is to do cardio. Whether it’s walking, taking your kids to a park, walking stairs, jogging and or doing cardio on machines like ellipticals or bikes, it’s all burning calories. Try to stay within your target heart rate zone to achieve the most out of your cardio workout! (Check out my last blog on burning calories)

The third most important part is to build sexy abdominal muscles below your layer of fat so that when we lose a few extra pounds, the tight muscle is exposed and gives you a smooth flat appearance to your ...    Continue

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@ 2:39pm ET on April 11, 2007
I have a class at my gym called core storm. It is awesome, you do all sorts of ab moves combined with cardio to keep your heart rate up inbetween what ever strength training you are doing, mixed in with some balance work (also engages the abdomon) and he even tosses in some arm/leg work. It is the most perfect 70 minutes of my week. You guys should see if your gym has something similar, it is awesome. (Mine is heald at the Las Vegas Athletic Club, Central Location, if any happen to be members there...)

@ 4:14pm ET on April 11, 2007
Is it true that if you do things like normal situps that it will just make your stomach stick out more? I'm a pilates girl now, but in the past I did lots of situps!

@ 9:52am ET on April 12, 2007
Pilates is amazing. It demands a ton of core strength and endurance. Many of the moves in pilates are holding a pose and using muscle endurance. A combination of both is what I like best. Doing sit ups will create muscle and strength, but do not worry about your tummy sticking out more! The 'v-sit' I suggest and the side and front planks are much like the moves we do in pilates. Whatever you can do for you core is good! If you enjoy it- you will do it, so if you are working those muscles then keep up with what you really enjoy and that you will stick with! Have fun ;)

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