Question: Toning The Tummy

I had my daughter 2 years and have terrible stretch marks on my tummy. It looks like gathered cellulite. I have been to 2 doctors for advice. They both suggested alternatives but ranging from R8000 t0 R12000 and were from the same place. My skin lost a lot of elasticity since I gained 30kg and have since lost 25kg so I have a lot of lose skin aswell. How can I firm this up and work on the stretch marks in an affordable manner? I am so tired of this little caeser flap! and the fact that it seems I will never wear a Bikini again. I really dont want to go for a tummy tuck but it seems like the only option to me.


I sympathise with you – childbearing can really take strain on the body! Whilst I can’t guarantee that my advice will fully restore your body to its former glory, these tips will certainly help. The most important thing to remember is that you CANNOT spot train, and exercising the abs alone is only a small part of training your body effectively.

Practise high intensity cardio and interval training
Shaking up a steady-state cardio routine to one that is varied and explosive has been proven to target more abdominal fat. This is perhaps because you will not only burn more calories during the session, but afterwards as well. The exertion of varying intensities will stimulate your body’s repair cycle more than if you were going for a steady state run. This means more fat and calories burnt for up to 24 hours after training.

– Switch up your usual run with 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 60 seconds of jogging or walking. Repeat these intervals 15-20 times each session. As you progress the 20 secs can become 30-40 secs and the rests can reduce to 20- 30 secs.
– Don’t switch all your cardio sessions to high intensity interval training. Aim for two sessions a week, along with one or two regular 30-60 min cardio sessions.

Compound movements for lean mass and increased metabolism
Strength training plays a critical part in toning your abs, as well as the rest of the body. Muscle requires fuel to operate, so the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day, and the higher your metabolism. Remember, too, the value of REAL strength training. It is extremely difficult for women to make significant weight gain, so don’t be scared to lift heavy. Aim for 3 sets of 10-12 reps, where the weights you’re using mean you struggle to perform the last few reps. This is the weight you should be lifting for significant results. Compound exercises are multi-jointed movements, while isolation exercises only use one. Many people accredit isolated exercises to significant results, but compound exercises are responsible for greater calorie burns during sessions as well as increasing lean muscle tissue at a greater rate , therefore improving your resting metabolism.

Be sure to incorporate compound movements into your strength training sessions, don’t only focus solely on your ab exercise.

Target the abs – ALL of them!
The abdominals are made up of different muscles on the front, side and middle of the abdominal area. Yet, so often we focus only on the desired ‘six-pack’. Targeting all three of these muscle groups is crucial when it comes to sculpting your abs.

Rectus abdominis – This is the flat muscle running from the chest to pelvic area, popularly referred to as the ‘six pack’.

Internal and external obliques – They are located on either side of the body, attaching on to the ribs. You’ll feel these when you turn and twist your torso. These are responsible for creating that hourglass look in the torso.

The transverse abdominis – This internal muscle forms the innermost layer of the abdominal wall. Tightening and firming this muscle is the key to flatter abs.

Extra tips:
– If you sit often, swap your chair for an exercise ball. This will keep those all-important core muscles engaged for hours with little effort on your part.
– Start dry-brushing: this is my secret weapon against cellulite and loose skin. Using a hard, horse-hair brush, move them over your stubborn areas (thighs, bum, and tummy) with long, firm strokes. This will boost your circulation and help dissolve stubborn fat areas.
– Invest in Bio Oil! Or Busby tissue oil, or something similar. Whilst this is most effective when stretch marks are still new and purple, it can still diminish the smaller, white stretch marks.

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