How to Get a Flat Stomach & Toned Muscles Without Starving or Over Exercising

Written By

Rhea Dali

Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

How To Get A Flat Stomach And Toned Muscles Without Starving Or Over Exercising - Woman Runs In The Gym On A Treadmill

Flat abs, toned arms and legs, a tight butt—the diet industry has sold this image to us for a long time under the guise that the only way to achieve this is through hard work — sweat, slashing calories, cutting carbs, even doing a shake weight or Jane Fonda leg lifts. How to get a flat stomach and toned muscles?

But if these things really worked—at least long term—the diet industry would be out of business.

What if I told you that you could get a flat stomach and toned muscles easily and effortlessly by focusing on one thing? Gut luv—INSIDE and OUT. 

First— Gut Luv—INSIDE…

How To Get A Flat Stomach And Toned Muscles - Women Doing A Cardio Hiit Routine And Squatting

Your self concept—your personality—creates your personal reality…including your body, your weight, your muscles. How to get a flat stomach effectively?

Simply put: In order to have a body you love, you must first love yourself. All of you.

Your self concept—how you see yourself—is the biggest rocket fuel or dead weight to getting a body you love or seemingly staying “stuck” in a body that you hate. 

Consider Chantel’s story to understand what I mean.

Chantel had a lot of weight to lose like 100 pounds…and she had tried everything—the diets, the supplements, the workouts…to no avail. It felt like an uphill battle…until she decided to come at it from a different approach…

Complete self love—she started seeing herself AS IF she had already lost the weight, speaking to herself and viewing herself as completely worthy and accepting every inch of herself, even if she was not where she wanted to be JUST YET…She made up her mind that IT WAS POSSIBLE for her…and BELIEVING IS SEEING. 

Here’s a little excerpt from her story and ways on how how to get a flat stomach : 


I #manifested 100lbs lost. What will you do now that you understand YOU ARE #WORTHY? @Your Manifesting Bestie

♬ som original – Cake Bliss

The more Chantel genuinely loved herself and saw herself as capable—knowing the weight loss was in the bag, literally the weight fell off.

The subconscious cells in her body responded to her conscious mind’s commands and she looked up 4 months later—100 pounds lighter. That’s how to get a flat stomach without too much struggles.

How to Get a Flat Stomach And Toned Muscles?

Step #1 Start in Your Mind

How To Get A Flat Stomach And Toned Muscles - Girl Is Engaged In Sports While Listening To Music, Resting And Drinking Water.

For getting a body you love, it has to start in your mind. How to get a flat stomach? You need to set your mind and tell yourself these:




Whether you want a body composition shift or an internal health shift, it’s in the bag when you DECIDE it is.

To help you “get there” and get the best ideas on how to get a flat stomach use the GUT BRAIN RESET FORMULA.

Tune In

What’s your current story or limiting beliefs not serving you? (I am fat; I am not good enough; my stomach is blubbery; my thighs are huge). Brain dump them so we can do a proper call out and burial.

Take care.

Next create your new story. The highest version of you, who is the rocking her jeans and t-shirt or bikini you? Get a picture. Get a visual. Create a vision board even. List not only the physical qualities, but also how you think, speak to yourself, treat your body, what you’d on a daily basis with your time. Physically, just focus on one thing at a time that make you feel good — one thing that moves a needle forward—more on this in a second. 


The knowing state. Know it is yours. It’s in the bag. Celebrate it and to keep your body and mind aligned, practice nervous system regulation. Daily. Yoga, breath work, sauna, exercise, and joy—lots of focus on doing things that bring you joy, that feel good. 


The second part of your METABOLISM OPTIMIZATION plan is GUT LUV—OUTSIDE.

Physically, try these 5 little-known metabolism and body comp boosters:

#1. Apple Cider Vinegar Shots & Enzyme Therapy

How To Get A Flat Stomach And Toned Muscles - Apple Cider Vinegar On Wooden Table With Ripe Apples

Add 1 tbsp ACV to 4-8 oz of water in the mornings in addition to your morning 16 oz of water for a digestive and metabolic booster to jump start stomach acid for the day, and try Proteolytic ENZYMES—2-3 inflammation busting enzymes at bed time and upon waking—

Enzymes function as catalysts, and increase the rate at which a reaction occurs. All the chemical reactions in the human body need enzymes to accelerate their movement—including your metabolism, digestion and muscle tissue repair processes.

Without proper enzymes, your digestive system can’t break down food, you won’t absorb nutrients or  detoxify your body, and you develop a sluggish metabolism and gain weight more easily. Certain enzymes also help with burning body fat. This is worth considering when you wish to finds ways on how to get a flat stomach.

Proteolytic enzymes—which are basically just stronger forms of digestive enzymes— taken away from meals speed up metabolic processes more readily; you can continue to take digestive enzymes with meals too for helping with digestion, and you’ve got your 1-2 punch. 


How To Get A Flat Stomach - Girl Doing Heavy Duty Squats In Gym With Barbell

How to get a flat stomach and achieve toned muscles? Weight training and muscle burns fuel at a much more efficient rate. Running—especially daily or long distance—does the opposite, breaks down muscle and stresses your metabolism out—as if you are running from a bear at all times. In this state, flat abs, toned muscles, and even a healthy weight are much harder to achieve. Try it for a couple weeks—table the running and cardio in favor of weights, bootcamps, circuits and HIIT – shorter power based cardio bursts. 

Also, a little insider tip on how to get a flat stomach, is to include a core-based movement exercise every time you hit the gym. Again, nothing crazy—I love my 3 minute weighted planks, or 100 reps of scissor kicks and flutter kicks, or 3 sets of bicycle crunches and leg lifts. Just a little something without HYPER FOCUSING ON IT and this is how to get a flat stomach the better way. 


How To Get A Flat Stomach - Young Slim Girl Making Fresh Organic Smoothie

Intermittent fasting is an inefficient way to lose body fat or tone muscles—at least if you are cutting out an entire meal altogether. In fact, despite what Instagram and TikTok influencers claim, if weight and fat loss or body composition shifts are your goals, reverse dieting and actually eating enough —versus less— is the golden ticket. How to get a flat stomach without harming yourself.

While IF of say 12-14 hours is totally appropriate for giving your gut a break to rest and digest, it does not mean you have to skip breakfast or an entire meal. When we cut calories or meals, we actually slow down both digestion AND metabolism — as less enzymes and stomach acid and bacteria are recruited, and out body holds on to the calories it does get. Sometimes this type of eating also leads us to overeating later in the day—after all we skipped breakfast—earned it!

For context too, sumo wrestlers skip breakfast and eat 2 meals per day. Just saying .

How to get a flat stomach and achieve it best? Generally, aim for at least 3 eating windows daily and a balance of protein, fats and fiber; and when it comes to “eating enough” an appropriate caloric amount would be 1600-2000 calories for women, and 2200-2600 calories for men. 


At t least 93% of people—that is more than 9 out of 10—have dysglcyemia, metabolic and blood sugar regulation problems, caused by irregular eating habits. This includes under-eating protein…skipping breakfast…snacking frequently…eating out more than cooking in…and over consuming sugars, starches and fruits.

All of which lead to increased body fat, difficulty losing weight, fat around their stomachs, and low energy to name a few things… Avoid this if you want to achieve your how to get a flat stomach plans.

A SIMPLE hack beyond just eating enough protein—that .8-1 G protein per pound of bodyweight daily—is to eat your green veggie and protein FIRST at meal time, followed by finishing with the majority of your starch if you include potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, rice or another carb at a meal. 

#5. SWEAT 

How To Get A Flat Stomach - Woman Drinking Water To Rehydrate To Avoid Heat Stroke After Running Outdoors

Move and sweat daily—and I am not just talking about exercise—I’m talking NEAT & HEAT. 

First NEAT: Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It ranges from the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, undertaking agricultural tasks and fidgeting.

People with faster metabolisms tend to move often in the day—outside of just 30-60 minutes in the gym or on a spin bike, and spending the remaining 23 hours sedentary. How to get a flat stomach? Try to achieve these regularly:

  • Take the stairs
  • Go on a walk date with a friend
  • In fact, walk alot – aim for 10k steps daily
  • Lift weights or do HIIT in the morning; and yoga at night
  • Even simply sway your leg while you work
  • No need to count calories burned either. 
  • The body is made to move, not exercise. Just be a human BEING—and be present in the day, versus a spectator. 

Second: HEAT. 

When you’re exposed to intense heat or sweat, your body has to work harder and your heart rate will increase by up to 30%. This boosts your metabolism – the rate at which you burn calories. Experts estimate that the high heat of a sauna (around 150 degrees) will boost your metabolic rate by roughly 20%.

Hot yoga, hot detox baths and of course your movement patterns throughout the day all add up here.

Cold plunging or “Cold thermogenesis” also has grown popular over the years as it activates brown fat; Brown fat breaks down blood sugar (glucose) and fat molecules to create heat and help maintain body temperature. 

However I think the jury is out whether this actually boosts metabolism or does the reverse—encourages fat to keep you warm. Cold plunging is great for many other benefits. This is like a natural energy boost and a lift in mood…but again body composition studies and metabolic boosting results are still 50/50. Remember this is you want to learn on how to get a flat stomach.


How To Get A Flat Stomach - Woman Exercising At Home Doing Pushups

You know I love bonuses, and the bonus for your metabolism boosting recommendations comes down to your circadian rhythm. How to get a flat stomach? You have to apply theses

Your biological clock plays a huge role in your metabolism. Ideally we would rise with the sun and set with the sun—and our metabolism yearns for this. How to get a flat stomach? You have to apply these.

Knowing this, certain lifestyle habits can cater to how our metabolism is designed to be optimal—schedule wise, an optimal metabolic boosting schedule looks like:

Waking between 5-7 am and starting the day off with A SOLID morning routine—think movement, hydration, sunlight exposure and mindset fuel—before jumping into work, checking email and social media, feed your mind…

Also feed your body with high protein, non-starch breakfast—great for energy and brain function. I love my gut luv shakes, but good old meat or eggs and maybe some veggies here also are great. Forget the bagels and cereal. 

Your morning routine is then followed by: Deep work and daily tasks and to-dos for a few hours.

To break things up, take a mid-day “breath break”— a time to realign your energy and refocus your mind.

Fuel up: reach for a protein-based meal or snack again—avoid starch and fruit mid-day, along with a mid-day energy boosting break—for a walk, socializing, getting away from screens, moving your body, breath work

Your mid-day breath break is then followed by a little more deep work, then putting work away for family, socializing, hobbies, an evening walk and activities, as well as a: Simple supper—not over-eating, protein, veggies and some starch is good in the evenings from a blood sugar perspective. 

Then on to your bedtime wind-down—especially some heat a hot shower or detox bath, yoga, sauna session…and something to feed your mind beyond work and email/social scrolling: a book, journaling, a funny TV show. 

Oh and the cherry on top—mitigate your artificial and blue light exposure, as well as caffeine. Turn your devices onto NIGHTSHIFT or RED/ORANGE/AMBIANT LIGHT at all times of day to avoid stimulating blue light–get as much natural light and fresh air as possible…and cut the caffeine. 

Voila. Metabolic optimization—A BALANCE of work, play, breath breaks, and rest—all fueled by high protein, movement, light and less stress overall. 

In summary, boost your metabolism with these 5 little hacks 

  1. ACV & Enzyme Therapy
  2. Strength Training- cut the cardio
  3. Eat breakfast
  4. Emphasize protein at meals and during the day
  5. Sweat
  6. Bonus: Balance your circadian rhythm 

These tips will help you figure out the most effective how to get a flat stomach approach for you. To less stress and a speedier metabolism we go.

If you’re looking for personal support, let’s optimize your gut and take your health back into your own hands! Book a complimentary 15-minute Health Strategy Call today.

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