Get fit with GBN: Best workout for a toned tummy - six core moves and diet tips from fitness experts to beat belly fat

Woman doing crunches/man's abs

Six core moves can carve toned abs

Sarra Gray

By Sarra Gray

Published: 13/03/2024

- 12:11

Updated: 04/04/2024

- 10:55

GB News is launching a new diet series giving you the best workout plans and diet advice to help you burn fat and transform your body

Losing weight and toning up requires a combination of diet and exercise, and using specific workouts is the best way to target different areas of the body.

GB News exclusively shares the best workout to carve every part of your midriff and to help you work towards a flat, toned stomach.

Head personal trainer at Lee Mitchell told GB News: "This circuit will target different areas of your core, including obliques, lower and upper abs. The inclusion of high-intensity cardio exercises like mountain climbers, jumping jacks and high knees will help keep your heart rate up and maximise calorie burn.

"Perform each exercise for 45 seconds with a 15-second rest in between. After completing all exercises, rest for one to two minutes, then repeat the circuit three times.”

Woman doing Russian twists

Russian twists target the obliques


Woman doing leg raises

Leg raises target the lower abs


Circuit for a flat tummy

1. Russian Twists (obliques)

Sit on the floor with knees bent and feet lifted off the ground. Hold a weight or medicine ball with both hands.

Twist your torso to the right, bringing the weight beside your hip. Return to the centre and twist to the left. This is one rep.

2. Leg Raises (lower abs)

Lie flat on your back with legs extended and hands under your glutes for support. Lift your legs together towards the ceiling, keeping them straight.

Slowly lower your legs back down without touching the ground. Repeat, focusing on engaging your lower abs throughout.

3. Bicycle Crunches (obliques and upper abs)

Lie on your back, hands behind your head and legs lifted with knees bent. Bring your right elbow towards your left knee while straightening your right leg.

Switch sides, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee. Keep alternating in a pedalling motion.

Man doing bicycle crunches

Bicycle crunches target the obliques and upper abs


Woman doing plank

A plank helps core stabilisation


4. Plank (core stabilisation)

Get into a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders. Engage your core and hold this position, ensuring your body forms a straight line from head to heels. Hold for 45 seconds, maintaining proper form.

5. Mountain Climbers (cardio and core)

Start in a plank position. Quickly alternate bringing your knees towards your chest, as if running in place. Keep your core tight and maintain a steady pace.

6. Reverse Crunches (lower and upper abs)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and hands beside you or under your glutes. Lift your legs towards the ceiling, keeping them bent at 90 degrees. Contract your abs to lift your hips off the floor, bringing your knees towards your chest. Lower back down with control and repeat.

In between cardio bursts

Perform each of the following exercises for one minute before moving to the next ab exercise: Jumping jacks, high knees

Things to remember

  • Form is key - Focus on proper form for each exercise to target the right muscles and prevent injury.
  • Engage your core - Throughout the circuit, consciously engage your core muscles for maximum benefit.
  • Controlled movements - Avoid rushing through the exercises. Focus on controlled, deliberate movements for better results.
  • Adjust intensity - If the circuit becomes too easy, increase the duration of each exercise or decrease rest time between exercises.

Of course, toned abs are only visible if the body fat percentage is low enough, so the addition of cardio moves is key for burning extra calories. Diet is also just as important as exercise for carving an athletic frame.

What to eat for toned abs

Filling up on plenty of fruits and vegetables and cutting down on sugary foods is vital for good results, although Lee explained everything can be enjoyed in moderation.


Mountain climbers

Mountain Climbers are good for cardio and core


Woman doing reverse crunches

Reverse crunches target the lower and upper abs


He said: "To achieve toned abs, remember that nutrition is key - abs are famously said to be made in the kitchen. Focus on a diet filled with lean proteins, healthy fats and ample fruits and vegetables, while steering clear of hammering processed foods and excess sugars.

"That does not mean you cannot have abs and still indulge - it’s all about moderation and mindfulness. Additionally, consistency in both diet and exercise routines is crucial; it's better to maintain a steady regimen than to sporadically push yourself hard."

Many studies show sugary and processed foods can increase belly fat and lead to weight gain. Research published in the National Library of Medicine found those who eat more fructose (a form of sugar often in sweet snacks) had more belly fat and around 2.6kg more fat mass than those who eat less. A similar study found fructose can also increase hunger and appetite and lead to sugar cravings, making weight gain more likely.

As well as eating healthily, the expert added it is important to fill up on water and stay hydrated to debloat and reveal your hard-earned abs.

Fruits and vegetables

Filling up on healthy fruit and vegetables can help tone the abs


Lee told GB News: "Don't forget the importance of hydration - keeping well-hydrated supports your body's metabolic processes and can aid in revealing those toned abdominal muscles."

NASM-certified personal trainer, fitness expert and senior editor at Powerlifting Technique Ben Jenks agreed with this diet advice and also recommended eating high-protein foods.

He suggested swapping processed, sugary foods for "lean protein" and healthy fats and carbs. He told GB News: "We can't skip nutrition [when trying to lose belly fat]. Reducing refined carbs and sugars encourages fat loss to uncover those abs.

"My biggest 'aha' moment [in my own transformation] was realising I had to cut out late night bowls of cereal to get serious results. Replacing junk food with lean protein, smart carbs and healthy fats optimised my diet."

A high-protein diet has many benefits, including reducing hunger and helping to build muscle. Studies have shown eating a substantial amount of protein can also boost the metabolism, which encourages the body to burn more fat.

High-protein foods include meat, fish, dairy, eggs, nuts, beans, lentils and tofu. Supplements such as protein powders and protein bars can also increase protein intake, although Britons must look out for brands with added sugar.

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