We all have a six pack, but for most of us, your abdominals are hidden under a layer of fat. If your goal is to tone up your tummy you need to understand that you cannot spot reduce fat from around your abs and you need to work towards overall fat loss. You do not need to do hundreds of crunches and sit-ups to show off your abs! This is not the most effective way to tone your core or shred the fat around your belly.
These three steps are the secret to great abs:
STEP 1: Clean up your diet- Abs are made in the kitchen!To burn fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit- meaning you need to consume less calories than what you use in a day. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat, but eat healthy foods in the right amount. Here are some foods you should have in your diet:
Make sure you eat enough protein
Consume healthy Fats
Chose high fibre carbohydrates
Take a probiotic.
Drink enough water
Drinking enough water will keep you boost your metabolism, hydrated, helps flush out waste such as sodium to help retain water and prevent bloating and acts as an appetite suppressant. Increase water intake when it’s hot and when you are exercising.
Don’t avoid eating all together!
Step 2: Train according to your goal- Burn off the layer of fat to see the abs
Cleaning up your diet really is a key to showing off your abs, but training play a role too. Combine lifting weights to tone up and lose weight with some cardio conditioning for sustainable results! Remember that the more lean muscle you have on your body, the more calories you can burn at rest. This is the reason why balancing out your cardio with strength training is the best for amazing results!
For your weight sessions;
Focus on a lot of big, compound movements and keep your rest periods shorter to pick up your heart rate. Remember to keep the weights heavy enough to obtain good lean muscle mass results. A weight where you can just finish 8-12 reps of the specific exercise is ideal for hypertrophy.
Lead an active lifestyle and try and move around a lot;
Go for walks with your friends as a catch up instead of dinners and drinks.
Add in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) as part of your cardio conditioning as an effective fat loss strategy;
Step 3: Train your whole core, not just your abs- to make your abs pop
The foundation to a great set of abs is a strong core, (See my 7 week CORE training program that tagets your whole body but with a core result emphasis)! Your ‘core’ is the midsection of your body. It involves all muscles in your front, in your back and on your sides. The muscles in your core are stabilizers for your entire physique and a vital part to keep strong for a healthy body and to shape the visual aspect of your abs!
Core training can be defined as doing specific exercises to develop and strengthen your midsections stabilizer muscles. This involves a big variety of exercises to target all areas, and not only sit-ups and crunches! Also remember that big compound movements and balancing exercises target your core effectively. Make it a priority to always make sure you engage your core in your exercises to train safer and to get the best results.
Weakened core muscles can result in many complications like lower back pain, poor posture, degraded balance or general weakness of the body. Yet another benefit of having variety in your training rather than just doing sit-ups and crunches!