Having a lean mid-section is not just about looking fit, it's also one of the surest signs of good health. Here's how to make it happen...  

By personal trainer Mareike Bout  

Studies show that people with smaller waistlines live longer than those with larger ones. While it's true that you can't achieve a six-pack overnight, you can use these smart strategies and quick tips to get a lean and toned body in no time.

  • Eat more than you think: A fat-loss diet isn't about deprivation and starvation; it's about eating enough times throughout the day to keep your metabolism moving. My recommendation is to eat three balanced meals and three snacks of foods high in nutrients, like protein, fibre, calcium, good fats, and whole grains. If you're ever hungry when you're dieting, then you're not eating enough of the good stuff.
  • Power up early: In one study of nearly 3,000 people, researchers at Harvard University found that those who ate breakfast every day were 44 per cent less likely to be overweight than those who didn't have breakfast.
  • Lift a little: One secret to getting a flat stomach is through adding lean muscle all over your body, which will help you burn fat 24/7. Circuit training, which means you work one muscle group one after another with little rest in between, is one of the best ways to achieve this.
  • Move more at work: You need to find ways to get up more, move more, and burn more. An Australian study found that workers whose jobs require more than six hours of chair time a day are up to 68 percent more likely to wind up overweight or obese than those who sit less.
  • Do this move: While you’re burning the fat on the outside, you should also be tightening your abs on the inside. Here's one Pilates move that can tighten your belly. Lie on your back with your legs extended along the floor. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling, with toes pointed and hands at your sides, palms down. Hold for 10 to 60 seconds. Make a small circle on toward the ceiling with your left toes, rotating your leg from your hip. Keep your body as still as possible by tightening your abs. Do six circles, then reverse direction for six more. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Sweat it out: Research shows that High Intensity Interval Training is more effective for burning fat than long steady sessions. I recommend one or two short sessions a week.

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