The squat challenge is out the window for some women who have turned their attention to their abs.

Get washboard abs with these helpful tips

Get washboard abs with these helpful tips

Washboard abs are certainly having their moment in the health and fitness industry and it's not just about banishing muffin tips, love handles and spare tyres.

You're on the question for strong, lean muscle that results in washboard abs; and here is the advice to help you get them.

Rock-hard abs, traditionally deemed a "boy" thing have now become a symbol of sexy confidence, strength and beauty for women, made only more desirable by the recent trend of celebrity ab-pics and ab-selfies.

The great news is that abs are not as elusive as we think.

Cassandra Barns, nutritionist at says, "One of the principal triggers of tummy fat is stress. Although stress is believed to cause weight loss for some people, for others it does the opposite.

"When we get stressed; stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol are released into the body, leading to sugar and starch cravings, and ultimately excess glucose in the blood triggers insulin release, causing the glucose to be converted into fat and stored around our middles (belly)."

"I would suggest taking chromium, which is a nutrient that helps the action of insulin and could help control cravings and reduce hunger."

Quest's Chromium Picolinate, available for just £4.85 for a month's supply helps to maintain normal bloodglucose levels.

Here are a few other F ab tips from :

Avoid Muffins (obviously), cakes, chocolates, sweets and other sugary foods, as well as too much high sugar fruits like bananas, grapes and dried fruits especially raisins and dates

Avoid Refined (white) carbohydrates - i.e. white breads, pasta, white rice, pastries, pizza. These quickly break down into glucose, triggering the insulin response and fat storage. • Avoid Coffee and black ('normal') tea. Caffeine triggers the body's stress response, releasing sugars into the blood.

Avoid Alcohol. Alcohol is high in sugar.

Avoid Too many starchy vegetables. The main culprit is the potato, which, like white bread and other white carbohydrates, is quickly broken down into sugars. Others are sweet potatoes, carrots (when cooked), and parsnips. Limit yourself to just a small portion with lots of non-starchy vegetables (see below).

Eat Protein-containing foods like fish, meat, lean meats (preferably organic), beans and lentils, eggs (preferably organic and free range), and unsalted raw nuts and seeds. Protein foods help to slow the digestion and absorption of sugars and starches in our foods, limiting their effect on the sugars in our blood, and helping to prevent further cravings for sweet or starchy foods. A protein-rich snack between meals - such as an oatcake with nut butter, or a handful of seeds, helps to stop us overeating at the next meal, or reaching for something sugary to boost our energy.

Eat Lots of non-starchy vegetables (i.e. everything but the ones mentioned above as 'starchy'). Go for green veg and 'cruciferous' vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage etc.) in particular, as they are very rich in nutrients and antioxidants.

Eat You can include some wholegrain carbohydrate foods - such as wholegrain rice, barley, oats, rye and especially quinoa. Quinoa is not actually a grain but a seed and has a higher protein content than most grains. Oats are particularly rich in a fibre called beta glucan, which also helps to slow the release of sugars into the blood. If you want to lose weight however, limit them to a small portion (about 1/6 of your plate) and fill up instead with lots of non-starchy vegetables as above.

Eat Low-sugar fruits such as berries, cherries and plums. Most other fruits (with the exception of grapes and bananas) are considered 'mid-sugar' and these can be consumed in moderation preferably accompanied by a source of protein, such as a tablespoon of nuts or seeds.

Eat Foods high in 'good' fats - such as oily fish, avocadoes, raw nuts and seeds and cold-pressed oils made from seeds such as flaxseeds. Fats can help slow the release of sugars into the blood and make us feel fuller, preventing cravings.

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