If you're squidgy of belly, your first step should be reducing all-over body fat.
And the best way to do that, says celebrity trainer Greg Brookes, is by eating like our hunter-gathering ancestors. His new Evolution Diet eschews modern foods, particularly the high-salt, high-fat processed varieties, in favour of fresh, seasonal fruit, veg and proteins.
The belly is a dump site for fat, he says. “Beware of stress, too. High levels of the ‘stress hormone' cortisol increase blood sugar. Your body lowers blood sugar by dumping it in the stomach.”
Don’t overwork the abs every time you hit the gym as this can be counterproductive. Never do old-fashioned situps and treat crunches with caution. Pilates and yoga are superb for stomachflattening. Try the plank: lie face-down on a mat, then lift up on to your forearms and toes, keeping your back straight (do not let your belly sag). Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals, hold for up to 60 seconds, lower and repeat 3-5 times.
This also targets your core (the spine-supporting muscles in your abdominal region and back).
Or the bridge: lie on your back then raise your hips to rest on your feet, shoulders and forearms, clenching your buttocks and drawing your belly button towards the spine.