You don’t have to look very hard to find a post on socials claiming to have the BEST exercises to give you flat abs.
I don’t like these posts.
The idea of getting a “flat stomach” by doing specific ab exercises is a unicorn of the fitness world.
If there was one “best” exercise for getting a flat stomach everyone would be doing it, right?
This idea that all we need is the “right” exercise for a flat stomach can be really damaging to our confidence and self esteem.
Ready for this?
Not everyone is meant to have a “flat stomach” and THAT IS OKAY (yes, I’m yelling that).
We all have different body types. And hallelujah for that, because the world would be very boring if we all looked the same.
Some people are naturally very muscular and are practically born with a six pack with very little effort. We all know that person. Let’s just be happy for them, ok?
I’m a mom of two with diastasis rectus. So I’ve got stretch marks, and some extra skin hanging around my navel from being stretched in pregnancy. While I’m very fit because I workout for a living, my stomach will NEVER be flat.
Can my abs still be strong? Hell yes they can, thank you very much.
Also. (This is for the ladies).
The way our stomachs look can change throughout the month based on where we are in our cycles.
You can see in my IG videos that sometimes my abs look tight and other times it’s bloat city.
Have I done anything differently? No. At certain times of the month hormones bloat me. It’s natural, it’s ok, and I’m not going to fight it.
So that’s the first thing.
We all have different body types, and not every body type is built for a flat stomach. And again, THAT IS OKAY.
You know what else bothers me about this idea that all we have to do to get a flat stomach is a few ab exercises?
It’s not that simple!
We can’t spot reduce fat from one area of our body.
This is not news. And yet it’s one of the biggest myths being pushed in the fitness Industry.
We CAN strengthen specific muscle groups.
If I want to increase my arm strength, I will target the muscles of my arms with specific strength training exercises. This will result in building leaner muscle tissue in the arm area, and therefore increasing strength and tone.
Strength training is a very effective tool to use to change the shape of our bodies.
If we want to specifically reduce fat in our abdominals, strength training can help, but other factors are also important.
Belly fat is often linked to nutrition.
So those magic flat belly exercises won’t be very effective if we follow them with unhealthy foods.
I talk a lot about healthy eating in my other blog posts, so I won’t go into it too much here.
Bottom line is: if you’re looking to lose fat, look at what you’re eating.
See if there are ways to increase your daily veggie intake. See if there are ways to reduce your sugar or processed food intake. These steps will help take your body to a healthier place.
Other factors that can affect belly fat?
Sleep. (Try for 7-8 hours a night).
Stress levels (Lower is better! Lower stress means lower cortisol levels. There are links between high cortisol levels and belly fat.).
Cardiovascular activity. (It’s good to get some!)
Posture. (Standing with a lengthened spine makes our abdominals appear flatter.)
So having a flat stomach really isn’t as simple as doing a few abdominal exercises.
I get it though.
I want to look healthy and strong too. I just know that my stomach isn’t going to morph into washboard abs probably ever.
So what to do?
Here’s what I do.
I wear high waisted leggings because they cover up my stretch marks and make me feel good.
I strengthen my deeper transverse abdominal muscles rather than worry about trying to get a 6 pack.
Because of my diastasis I also avoid more traditional abdominal exercises. For more info on that, see
I eat well so that I feel good in my body.
Finally, I keep scrolling when I see posts promising the BEST exercises to give me a flat stomach.