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You can fill out loose stomach skin by building more muscle underneath.
Loose skin in the midsection can hide your abdominal muscles and cover up your hard work. While core strengthening exercises, like planks, can tone your stomach and increase muscle, they do little to actually shrink loose skin. Building more muscle and losing extra stomach fat can help reduce the appearance of loose skin and help your stomach look tighter. However, if you've lost a lot of weight -- 50 pounds or more -- loose skin just might stick around regardless.
Tell Loose Skin to Walk the Plank
Skin is elastic, and when you gain weight it stretches to fit your body size. However, when you lose weight, it can take some time for your skin to shrink back down and fit your new smaller frame. Doing planks will help you build up your core muscles. While this won't make your skin shrink any faster, as your core muscles get bigger, they can fill in some of the loose skin and give your stomach a tighter appearance.
To perform traditional planks, get on the floor facing down and balance the weight of your upper body on your forearms. Your forearms should be under your chest and make a 45-degree angle with your upper arms. Extend your legs out just as you would when doing a pushup. Keep your back and legs aligned and do not allow your bottom to stick up or sag down. Squeeze your arms, abs and legs and hold. The longer you hold the position, the more you will feel the burn. To perform side planks, balance on one forearm and align your body so that your chest and the front of your body are perpendicular to the floor. Squeeze your arms, abs and legs and hold. Switch sides for an even workout. Traditional planks work your abs and lower back while side planks target your obliques.
Fight Excess Fat With Cardio
Planks and other abdominal exercises are not the only way to tighten stomach skin and reduce the appearance of fat. Often, what appears to be loose skin is actually subcutaneous fat hiding underneath the skin. One way to get rid of this extra fat and give your stomach a tighter look is by doing cardio. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend doing no less than 150 minutes of moderate cardio or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobics a week to lose weight. Adding intervals of high-intensity exercise to your traditional aerobic routine will help you burn more fat and get a flatter stomach faster.
Eating for Tighter Abs
Modifying your diet is another way to eliminate extra body fat and tighten the skin surrounding your midsection. To burn fat, you have to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you consume. Reducing your caloric intake by 500 calories a day will help you safely lose a pound a week. When combined with cardio and strength training, this will help tighten your stomach skin. Choose foods that are low in fat and eliminate foods with empty calories and low nutritional value to lose weight.