Pilates exercises are fantastic at targeting your abdominal muscles, helping you build a strong core because of the emphasis on your transverse abdominis. Or as I like to call it, your sexy, smart muscle since it flattens your abs in the front (sexy) and stabilizes your spine in the back (smart).
There’s more to washboard abs though, the key is having a healthy digestive track. Yep, those organs underneath your sexy smart muscle. Inflammation in your small intestine and colon such as gas, bloating, fungal infections and food allergies will prevent you from getting that flat stomach you came to Pilates for in the first place. It takes a holistic approach—think exercise, diet, and lifestyle.
Getting your GI tract to its healthiest state takes the keen guidance of a trained professional like a Naturopath or a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner. But start with these four tips to get you headed in the right direction:
- Drink enough water every day. That’s half your body weight in fluid ounces of pure, clean water. No substitutes allowed (tea, coffee, etc.) Add a pinch of sea salt as well to replace electrolytes.
- Get quality sleep. Getting eight hours of sleep is important, but what’s also important is when you sleep. If you stay up too late, your body interprets this as stress, and releases hormones that can affect belly fat. So go to bed at the first sign that you’re tired because that second wind at 11 pm may leave you with belly fat. It’s better to go to bed early and wake up early than to do the opposite.
- Avoid foods that cause you obvious GI distress like gas or bloating, or foods that make you tired fairly soon after eating them. These are signs that you have a food sensitivity or low-level allergy to that food, which will cause damage to your small intestines and colon.
- Take a good probiotic daily. I personally use MegaSporeBiotic because it’s great at surviving the harsh digestive track and effectively populating the GI tract with lots of healthy gut bacteria.