Getting six pack abs is an ideal aim for many people wanting to improve their fitness. Hard abdominal muscles are perhaps the surest sign of peak fitness, but require a lot of work.
There are no short cuts to getting a six pack, and anyone serious about taking on the challenge should think about focusing on a mixture of diet and exercise over several months, while being careful not to be taken in by quick fix solutions.
Patience is key, and will ultimately result in a flatter stomach and a healthier body. In the same way, getting six pack abs should be thought of as part of core strength training, and general cardiovascular fitness.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is being able to balance cutting out fat while focusing your exercise habits around some simple routines.
The following list consequently represents some dieting, exercising, and general rules for reaching your goal:
Table of Contents
- 1. Be Serious About Nutrition
- 2. Focus on Eating Small Meals During the Day
- 3. Slow Your Food Intake
- 4. Getting More Lean Proteins
- 5. Switch to Whole Grains
- 6. Drink More Water
- 7. Cut Out Junk Food
- Exercise and Training
- 8. Understand Your Core
- 9. Work on Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fitness
- 10. Pick the Right Weight Training Regimen
- 11. Focus on Crunches
- 12. Make Use of Accessories
- 13. Explore Pilates and Yoga
- 14. Don’t Go Overboard
- 15. Be Cautious
1. Be Serious About Nutrition
The most effective way to lose and manage your weight is to have a much better idea about how nutrition affects your body. You need to be able to monitor what goes into your body without taking risks on extreme diets.
Balanced levels of protein, non saturated fats, and vitamin and mineral rich foods are essential, while you should focus your carbohydrate intake around at least five items of fruit and vegetables every day.
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2. Focus on Eating Small Meals During the Day
Rather than simply reducing your calorie intake, try to have a lot of healthy small meals during the day. Exercising after a large lunch or late dinner will make you drowsy and unproductive.
Regular healthy meals will allow your metabolism to speed up to handle energy intake and break food down. Make sure that you don’t skip breakfast, and snack on fruit, vegetables, and fibre rich foods to reduce your appetite.
3. Slow Your Food Intake
A simple way to reduce fat and help regulate your metabolism is to take your time over food. This will help your body to better adjust to a new diet, and will make it easier to break down nutrients.
It takes time to train your metabolism to respond to different levels of food, and it will be easier for some people than others. However, consistent habits will eventually make a significant difference.
4. Getting More Lean Proteins
Lean proteins are essential to keeping yourself healthy while losing stomach fat. Good examples include fish, and particularly salmon. Chicken and turkey are also good choices, while any dairy products should be low fat.
These foods also contain essential minerals for your body. For side dishes, consider taking on more beans and lentils, which will also help your fibre intake.
5. Switch to Whole Grains
Whole grain foods like cereals and bran, as well as brown rice and brown bread, are ideal solutions to burning fat. These are much better for you than refined grains, which tend to remove a lot of nutrients at the processing stage.
When combined with lean proteins and reduced junk food, your body will be able to break down fat much faster, while creating a generally healthier metabolism.
6. Drink More Water
Keeping yourself hydrated is an important part of maintaining a general level of health by flushing out toxins. While not overdoing it, make sure that you take regular drinks as part of short meals and snacks during the day.
The same effects can also be achieved with smoothies, while you should try to cut down on sugary soft drinks and caffeine. Diet drinks that promote weight mass will also not always help you to lose fat.
7. Cut Out Junk Food
The easiest way to put on and keep stomach fat is through junk food containing saturated and trans-fats like hydrogenated oils. Processed foods are also very addictive, and will lead to general health problems and high blood sugar levels.
Try to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels to ensure that you aren’t taking on too much fatty foods and sugary drinks.
Exercise and Training
8. Understand Your Core
Abdominal muscles form part of your body’s core, which also includes the spine, pelvis, and hip musculature. All of these muscles require flexible movement and stability to work efficiently.
A six pack, or rectus abdominis, is basically the abdominal muscles’ natural state without a layer of fat. A good exercise regime should work to condition these muscles while losing fat, rather than packing on mass.
9. Work on Cardiovascular and Aerobic Fitness
You need to view abdominal workouts as part of a more general fitness regime. In this way, cardiovascular and aerobic exercise will help you to reduce fat and tone up muscles.
Running, jogging, bike riding, dancing, and rowing are key ways to achieve these effects.
10. Pick the Right Weight Training Regimen
Getting flat ab muscles is less about adding mass than about toning. However, keeping up a moderate weight lifting program will help to strengthen your back, shoulders, and arms, which will make sit ups and crunches easier to maintain when resistance training.
11. Focus on Crunches
Crunches represent the most important exercise type to follow. These basically involve a mixture of sit ups and twists that keep your back flat, while raising and bending your legs to help contract your stomach muscles.
Other types include bicycle and reverse crunches. Speak to your gym trainer about which kind of crunches will be best for toning your stomach muscles, and make sure you report any lower back pain.
12. Make Use of Accessories
Crunches and sit ups can be made easier through the use of exercise accessories. Exercise balls are particularly useful due to their ability to balance out your core without putting undue stress on your back. Incline benches at the gym also work in the same way.
13. Explore Pilates and Yoga
General flexibility is crucial for developing your core and toning your stomach muscles. Pilates is excellent for increasing your flexibility and helping your back to stand up to crunches and sit ups.
Yoga is similarly useful for helping to strengthen your core, while enabling you to keep weight off. Both are suitable for men and women.
14. Don’t Go Overboard
Getting a flat stomach takes a while, and any exercise regimen should be ideally organised with a personal trainer or at the gym.
The best way is arguably to add more intensive crunches to a general aerobic and weights routine. 15-25 crunches in a session is a normal level you should aim for, while you should always stop if you are suffering any pain around your core.
15. Be Cautious
Improving your abs doesn’t happen overnight, and it will be harder for some people to shift the weight than others as the result of their genes, age, or general health. Your first priority should be to get into a healthy diet routine, while working on your core muscles.
Beware of adverts promising magical supplements to lose weight, or devices that will burn off fat and tone your muscles. These will invariably do more harm than good to your general level of fitness, and should be avoided if you want to be serious about losing weight and getting great abs.
The most effective way to getting flat abs is to be patient, and to make full use of your gym and trainers to make sure that you aren’t pushing yourself too hard.
Having realistic goals is crucial, so expect to commit to several months of work before you start to see lasting results. By doing so, you will have flat abs and a much more healthy body overall.