Most of the people I talk to ask me “how can I get a 6 pack?” It seems to be what everyone is in for when hitting the gym. I get it, it’s a visible way of showing off results. But abs are more than just something nice to look at, so if you don’t aim for the look, you should be looking to get a stronger core as it protects your back.
Here are my 7 steps to a leaner midsection:
Don’t Waste Time On Spot Reduction: Okay, so to get those abs to show the fat percentage needs to drop. Ab training with 100 sit-ups, crunches and planks is not the way to do this. Your whole body needs to get leaner for your abs to get leaner.
Do Sprints: Sprints are an excellent way to lose body fat. I say excellent and I mean it. Sprint interval training leads to a fat loss of 1 to 3 kgs with at least half coming from the midsection. It also improves insulin sensitivity, which is involved in the fat deposition around the stomach area and metabolic rate.
Strength Training Using Total Body Lifts: Strength training increases your metabolism and therefore improves fat loss and increases the size of the muscle that make up your abs to help them “shine”. Lifts such as deadlifts, squats and lunges have the greatest core activation. I mean I can definitely feel my core when I squat, can you? It also strengthens the lower back and help prevent lower back injury.
Always Engage The Core: I say this sentence often and more often than not I get looked like I am delusional. Many people don’t know what I’m talking about, what even is the core and how the hell do you engage it? A tight core means ab stabilisation and a strong back, when you stabilise your abs you decrease the compression on the spine, therefore decreasing the risk of hip and back injury. Remember to consciously engage your abs on every exercise and even going about daily life. I definitely engage mine when I walk, it’s like a mini workout and they’ll always feel nice and tight.
Tighten Up On Your Nutrition: So I am going to give it to you straight. You can work out all you want, do as many crunches and planks as you want, if you don't watch what you eat you might as well not work out. I am not asking you to become a freak who never enjoys food, please do enjoy food. But watch what you eat and the portion. Stay away from refined carbs they are packed with calories and lead to irregular blood sugar and high insulin levels. Nothing good. Instead plan your carbohydrate needs based on your specific situation: If you are trying to lose fat eat less than 50grams per day, but also consider carb cycling where every 5-7days you have a high carbs day.
Cope With Your Stress: I’ve talked about cortisol many times in the past and here we are again. It’s the stress hormone that halts fat burning. When you find yourself constantly stressed you are in a chronic state of high cortisol levels and your body shifts into fat storing mode as it thinks your body is in danger (primal ways). What better way to de-stress than working out? ;)
Try these ab exercises: We all love crunches, and yes they are useful but there’s better out there. Try Rollouts, Hanging Leg Raises, Hip Lifts, Overhead Squat, Chin-ups. Of course it all depends on your fitness levels. Please be careful and work progressively to avoid injury.
Looking for help with your fitness and diet? Then hit me up on firstname.lastname@example.org and let me help you!
Happy Healthy Living,