OH THE ABS! The area we all seem to constantly want to improve! The quest for the perfect 6-pack seems to always be the mission. Media posts everywhere you look, saying things like, “THE TRICK TO THE PERFECT 6 PACK ABS” or “EAT THIS/ TAKE THIS SUPPLEMENT AND YOU WILL HAVE ABS” its hard to find truth as to how to reveal that six-pack.
That’s why I have decided to clear up these myths about the abs and tell you simply tell you how you can reveal that six-pack of yours!!
OK LETS BEGIN! :)
First off, let me begin by saying,
Training your abs does NOT lower your body fat specifically at your midsection!
Unfortunately, you cannot spot reduce. If you want to get your abs to show more you have to bring your overall body fat percentage down!
That being said, you can do a million crunches but if you have a layer of fat over your abdominals, your 6-pack will not be visible.
You will however strengthen your abdominal muscles which is never a bad thing, but the look of that shredded 6-pack will not appear do to the layer of fat on top.
So this may make you ask,
HOW DO I LOWER MY BODY FAT PERCENTAGE?
I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen.” Well, when we want to reduce or body fat percentage, it is really quite simple we just have to simply expend more calories than we consume.
It is so crucial that we obtain optimal amounts of macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat) for our bodies!
Every BODY is different so it is key that you provide enough of each macronutrient to fuel your body everyday!
Protein is especially important when wanting to maintain your abs because it will help you build lean muscle as well as burn body fat. Out of all the macronutrients, protein has the highest thermogenic effect on the body!
Fat is your friend!! It is so important we are consuming healthy fats primarily from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as raw nuts, nut butters, fish oils, olive oils, etc. These sources of fat will keep your insulin levels stable, that is extremely important if you want to lose belly fat and reveal those 6-pack abs!
Carbs may have been given a bad name in the diet industry but that is definitely one big myth!! Yes, eating too many carbohydrates will lead to weight gain but eating too much of anything will lead to weight gain!! Carbohydrates are our body’s main fuel source that our body needs to function at its peak and remain healthy! When on the 6-pack quest some great sources of carbohydrates that are my favourites are sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal and vegetables!
Combining all 3 of these macronutrients in optimal amounts for your body type will keep your metabolism strong and make your body a fat burning machine!
HOW & WHEN SHOULD I TRAIN MY ABS?
Now the next part to address when unleashing your 6-pack is what is the best way to train your abs!
As I mentioned above, you cannot spot reduce. Doing 1000 crunches is not going to be beneficial if your abs are still covered by a layer of fat. But it is still important you implement some consistent ab training in your workout routine.
- Aim to train your abs 2-4 times/week!
- Choose 3-4 abdominal exercises and aim for 4 sets of each exercise for your ab workout.
- Train your core abdominal core at multiple angles using a veriety of exercises to maximize better results! (I will be posting an abdominal workout shortly on exercises you could do!)
- Keep your rest periods short! (30-45 seconds)
- For weighted oblique movements, choose a light weight. (this is so you don’t develop muscle thickness around your midsection)
- For bodyweight ab exercises aim to go until muscle failure! For weighted abdominal exercises try to aim for higher reps.
Ultimately, you just really want to feel the burn in the right places when training your abdominals!
OTHER EXERCISES THAT WILL REVEAL YOUR ABS…
- Compound, multi-joint, total body movements! These types of movements will result in greater fat loss and more muscle building response than any crunch ever will!
- HIIT workouts/ Intervals! Instead of doing steady state cardio on a cardio machine try out a HIIT style workout as it will spike up your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning machine! (Check out my blog on HIIT training under the ‘Fitness’ section). Interval workouts- try combining abdominal exercises in your cardio routine!
Overall, stay focused on your diet, perform compound exercises, do smart cardio in your workout routine, be consistent & use good form during your abdominal training and you are well on your way on your six pack quest!