You've got it down. You stopped crunching and drinking beer, and you started interval training and doing planks—and maybe you even tossed in some yoga and Pilates. You've almost completely shed that pesky layer of fat that was hiding the six-pack you always knew was there, and now it's time for the finishing touches. Subtle as they may be, these targeted tips from some of Equinox's top experts will help take your abs from toned to totally sculpted.
1. Pick the right protein: Choosing a protein that is rice-, pea-, artichoke-, or hemp-based may be easier on the digestive tract than many lactose, whey, and milk proteins, which can cause some belly bloat. —Maria Pagano, R.D., exercise physiologist, and Tier 4 coaching manager
2. Breathe: High levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, can cause the body to deposit fat around the midsection. By lowering your stress levels, less cortisol is released. Taking a few five-minute breaks to relax and breathe throughout the day can significantly decrease cortisol. —Jesse Schwartzman, R.D., exercise physiologist, and Tier 4 coach
3. Focus on your hips: Chances are your hips are probably tight. That means you're in a perpetual state of anterior pelvic tilt, where your back is slightly arched, creating slack in your abdominal wall—not very flattering. Loosening and opening the hips will help you change the position of the torso relative to the hips, so posture improves and abs engage as you go about your business throughout the day. —David Harris, vice president of personal training
4. Become a coffee connoisseur: Instead of adding flavor shots or creamers to your morning cup, experiment with different blends, types, and flavors. The antioxidants and phenols found in coffee might give your metabolism a boost and kick-start your digestive system. Varying the kind you drink can maximize these benefits. —Michael Olzinski, exercise physiologist and personal-training manager
About the author: Q by Equinox is the daily blog of the luxury fitness brand. Check back here weekly for new posts that tap into Q's stable of world-class trainers and experts to keep up with all things health and well-being.