Believe it or not, in addition to workouts, what you eat and some factors of your lifestyle also play a part in how defined your abs look. (Or not.) If you’re tired of doing sit-ups without seeing results, here are some additional healthy habits that might help you break them free.

Burn More Calories

You can do ab exercises all day long but your abs just won’t look defined unless you burn off the fat that is over them on your abdomen. That means that getting enough cardio is important, but so is lifting weights and doing resistance training which can also be a great way to burn calories. The more muscle you build on the body in general the more calories you will be burning, so yes firming up those abs can be accomplished by spending some time focusing on other areas of the body as well.

Drink Water as Soon as You Wake

Even though we aren’t running around in our sleep we still get pretty dehydrated overnight. Some research that was done in Germany found that refueling your water supply with 16 ounces of cold water on an empty stomach in the morning can raise the metabolism quite a bit. They found that for 90 minutes the metabolic rate could be raised 24 percent. That’s plenty of time to have an impact on your breakfast. Which brings us to…

Absolutely Eat Breakfast

Some studies have found that men are more likely to carry weight in their midsection if they skip breakfast than if they eat it, which is pretty notable. But further research has also found that the size of the breakfast makes an impact as well. Interestingly the people who eat larger breakfasts are more fit in the abs than people who eat even smaller breakfasts. Of course this has its limits, that doesn’t mean stuff your face off every morning. It does mean that you should aim to fill up on some lean protein and a bit of fat and carbs for energy. Aim for around 500 calories if you’re unsure.

Plan Your Meals

If you head to work without any food it’s pretty likely that you’ll end up eating something worse than if you had packed some snacks. Most people get hungry between breakfast and lunch, and reaching for snacks around the office generally means donuts or cake. But if you bring a snack like a high protein Greek yogurt, some nuts, or an apple and cheese you’ll have something on hand to get in and cut your cravings. The same goes for lunch. You can always leave the sack lunch in your desk if a networking opportunity comes up, but it’s better to have it and be prepared so you don’t even have to think about it.

Get Quality Sleep

More research has shown that men who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to carry weight in their midsection. This is thanks to the spike of the stress hormones that occur when the body is chronically tired. For whatever reason, those hormones encourage the fat to stay on the body when it is consumed, and particularly in the abdominal region.