Abs – the hallmark of fitness. The most common motivation for guys and girls to get in shape and the most obsessed over body part. Yet, they seem to take longer than any other muscle to achieve. Why?
First, let me just reiterate the common and completely accurate saying, ‘your abs are made in the kitchen.’ The state of someone’s abs reveal how consistent their nutrition regimen has been thus far. The level of fat in the abdominal region is also a good indicator of their fitness level and overall health.
Knowing that the abs are a reflection of your training and nutrition can be a little intimidating, especially when you have so much to improve on. But the right information is what will help you set foot in the right direction and, needless to say, give you some pretty insane results fairly quickly.
The most common scenario people face is that they can’t see their abs, even though they can feel hard, solid muscle underneath. This is due to a body fat percentage that’s too high to reveal the abdominal muscles. If you are a fairly active person and you have yet to see one rivet of muscle, chances are, you’ve got to burn a little more fat of still. In order for you too see those horizontal and vertical creases, your body fat needs to be around 14-16%. If you’re unsure of your body fat, go to your local gym and ask one of the trainers to do a body fat test on you. But most of the time, you can still get a good idea of where your body fat is at based on how well your abs are showing.
In order to decrease enough body fat for your abs to show you’ll have to commit yourself to a clean diet, consistent weight training, and cardio. The type of nutrition plan to follow will depend on your current body, fitness level, and training. See about our nutrition plans to get the eating regimen that will help you sculpt the abs you want.
Live In The Future
Before we delve into the obvious stuff, lets start on the right foot. Your body is amazing considering what it does on a daily basis to adapt to your lifestyle and keep you healthy. It does its absolute best with what you provide it and we can only be thankful for that! Wherever your thoughts live in your mind is where your future lives as well, so continually fill your spirit with love, gratitude, and excitement for what’s to come.
Body image comes with many expectations. But keep in mind that providing your body with happiness, first and foremost, is what’s most important, especially when it comes to transforming your body and health!
Nutrition For Abs
Nutrition is the key to getting abs and comes first before weight training and cardio. You want to eat to fuel your muscles, without fueling fat storage. Therefore, your nutrition needs to facilitate your activity levels. The more intense and consistent you are with your workouts, the more calories you’ll need to eat. The opposite is true if your workouts aren’t as intense or consistent. Either way, you need to discipline yourself to eating clean and making good choices. This means you’ll need to satisfy your cravings for desserts with complex carbs and some fruit.
Managing your carbohydrates is a major component of ab nutrition. Having just enough carbs to keep your mental focus and energy to train will allow you to make huge progress. But you want to make sure to avoid going over board on servings, and always eat the right types in order to continue burning fat. The best types of carbs to eat are dark green, fibrous veggies along with some complex carbs like yams and oats. Fruits like berries and those high in electrolytes are also great in the right amounts. Eating the combination of these types of carbohydrates will allow your body to burn off the fat you need to reveal your abs, as well as make those knots pop with definition.
Do your best to eat foods that digest easily. Inflammatory foods like excess sugar, carbonated beverages, processed foods, dairy, and wheat can easily hinder your ab progress and cause bloating or discomfort. It’s always best to keep it clean and highly digestible.
In addition to eating the right foods, you need to realize that the amount of food will also affect the appearance of your abs. Surely we’ve all noted how big our bellies can get from eating a large meal. And eating large portions is actually okay when the meal is composed of healthy, easily digestible foods. Just keep in mind that if your intestines are full of food, they can push out on the abdominal wall and prevent any definition from showing. So if you’re really serious about getting those abs to pop, whether for a photo shoot or competition, portion control is key. Otherwise, keep your sanity and eat enough for you to be happy!
Training For Abs
Second to nutrition comes training! Just like nutrition, training needs to be done consistently and properly. Seeing pictures of perfectly sculpted abs with ridges that create shadows will make anyone want to work a little harder on their abs. But the truth is, only a little ab work is needed to get the results you want. Hard work is still necessary, but you’ll only need to spend a small amount of time on them in the gym if your nutrition and other muscle groups are taken seriously.
To get start, train 4-6 times a week and be sure to work your major muscle groups like legs, back, chest, shoulders, and arms. To burn more calories and thus more fat, lift heavy enough to build muscle strength and size. Building more muscle will increase your metabolism and lean you out much more quickly than cardio alone. Supersetting, doing two different exercises back to back with no break, is another technique you can use to increase calorie expenditure and fat loss by keeping your heart rate up.
And obviously you’ll need to implement some abdominal exercises into your routine in order to build muscle and see those beautiful contours. Some of the best abdominal exercises include, knee raises, roman chair sit ups, cable crunches, and stability ball jackknives. Implement these into your training 2-3 times per week to build insane abs.
Last, but in no way least, comes the cardio. Cardio is nearly more important than the actual resistance training when it comes to actually seeing those abdominal muscles. Again, you will only see the hard work you’ve put in on those abs if you’ve burned off that layer of fat. If you aren’t already in the habit of doing cardio on a daily basis, for a bare minimum of 3 times a week, start as soon as you can. The best methods of cardio to use to burn fat, in conjunction with a clean diet proper calorie intake, are the stair climber (my favorite), treadmill, bike, and eliptical. Interval training on any of these yields amazing results for fat loss. You can also take advantage of the outdoors and sprint up hills or jog. The amount of time you spend doing cardio will vary from person to person depending on current body fat percentage, diet, and other factors. A good range is 20-45 minutes per day for a minimum of 3 days per week.
Make It A Lifestyle
The final and most IMPORTANT part of all of this is forming a consistent habit. This has to become a lifestyle change for you in order to achieve the lasting results you want. Your regimen will evolve into a lifestyle through time, patience, and consistency. Many clients will swear that they are eating clean and are at a loss when they can’t seem to burn off their belly fat. However, after learning more, they reveal they are having a caramel latte from Starbucks every day. While you need balance in your fitness routine, let go of the things that are distancing yourself from your goal. Whatever you do, fully commit to the results you see in your mind!
Consistent action = consistent results = consistent motivation. In other words, the more consistent you are with your program as a whole, (while finding happiness in it all) the more motivation you’ll have to pursue your goals.