High up on many of our wish lists is the desire to boast a washboard stomach and we’ve all pledged (many times) to get rid of the belly baggage (next week).
Yet achieving the abdominal Holy Grail affectionately known as the six pack can be mightily challenging, especially with so many tasty temptations and devious diversions on offer. So you’re going to need discipline, focus and six top tips if you want a six pack — read on.
Due to all manner of factors from overcooking your food to eating plants grown in depleted soils, the healthy diet you’re eating might not be as nutritionally rich as you think.
It’s difficult to absorb the huge array of vitamins, minerals and much more through natural foods. That’s where dietary supplements come in.
Just imagine your body is a Formula One car, then supplements are the best lubricants, oils and filters money can buy. When your body has everything it needs, then it will reach its optimum levels of performance and you will be able to train better and your body will strengthen and regenerate quicker.
2. Watch your diet
Ever heard the phrase ‘abs are made in the kitchen’? Well, it’s true! You can do crunches until the cows come home, but if you’re overeating, you’ll always have a layer of fat concealing your hard work.
There’s just no point in working out if your food intake is too high — it’s like pushing water uphill with a spade (exactly). So manage your diet with discipline.
That doesn’t mean it’s time to starve yourself though, you still need energy to work out! One thing to make sure you’re getting plenty of, is protein. The stress you put your muscles under when working out will cause your muscle fibres to tear. Adequate protein will feed your muscles properly and help them recover and grow bigger.
Lots of people find eating frequent small, balanced meals works well. Others prefer going down different routes such as Paleo or Intermittent Fasting. The trick is to find out what works for you, make sure you don’t overeat and most importantly, stick to it!
3. Cardiovascular exercise
We’ve already discovered that in order to achieve visible abs, you need to decrease your overall body fat through diet. However, you can kick things into high gear by incorporating some cardio into your workouts as well.
Cardiovascular exercise encompasses a huge range of exercises, including but not limited to running, swimming and rowing. It’s really a matter of finding what you like and what you’ll stick to.
One of the best ways to encourage fat loss through any form of cardio is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which involves cycles of high intensity and low to moderate intensity recovery.
As well as the fat burning benefits, some experts say HIIT encourages your body to burn calories up to 24 hours after your workout. Now that’s value for effort if ever we saw it!
4. Exercise abdominal variation
You can strip back the fat via diet and cardio, but to give your abs that hollywood definition you so desire, you’ll need to do some ab focused work too.
Your abdominal muscles have three sections – lower, middle and upper, so you’ll need a variety of workouts to target each section.
Mix up your routine with crunches, bicycle crunches, hanging leg raises, planks and side planks. When performing a crunch make sure your posture is good with your shoulders back and avoid placing your hands on the back of your head.Don’t overdo it — build up your repetitions slowly.
Nobody said this was going to be easy, but if you stick to it, the physical results will soon give you the lift you need to continue. Until that happens, you’ll need help to keep motivated so for top tip 5.
5. Find fun in your routine
How many times have you come up with a detailed exercise and diet plan with good intentions, only for it all to fizzle out after a few weeks? Solve the problem by making your workouts fun!
With so many activities and exercises classes on offer there truly is, as the cliche goes, something for everyone. Pilates, swimming, kickboxing, bikram yoga, kettlebells, street dancing or even a game on wii fit. Boredom is certainly no excuse!
Keep progress photographs too, even if you can’t see any progress in the mirror, a photograph can be more telling! Just the thing to spur you on.
6. Sleep on it
If you want ripped abs, you are going to need to get your prescribed 40 winks. Getting adequate shuteye is essential for letting your muscles recover and grow.
This seems like quite an easy tip, but is it? Sleeping time is very important if you’re training and must be taken seriously. Sleep allows the body to rest, recover and grow, so get a good 8 hours rest a night and you’ll feel the benefits when it’s time to start training.
That’s the last of the 6 top tips, so good luck with the six pack.