Everyone wants a lean, muscular physique and six-pack abs. And, although there are lots of people and products making lots of promises, you can do all the abs exercises you want but, until you lose that layer of fat covering your midsection, the only thing you’ll accomplish is strengthening the muscles hidden beneath the fat.
Here are 6 tips to help reveal your abs:
- Burn fat. Doing lots of abs exercises won’t help you lose fat (I once read that it takes 250.000 crunches to burn one pound of fat!). To lose fat, you’ll need total-body strength training, a certain type of cardio called interval training, and a diet that is consistent with your goals.
- Lift weights. Every time you exercise, you should aim to work every major muscle group. Research shows that the metabolic impact of strength training persists for up to 48 hours, post-workout. The more lean muscle you build, the greater the number of calories you burn, at rest.
- Keep moving. Turn your strength training workout into a metabolic circuit by minimizing rest intervals between sets. Alternate between upper- and lower-body exercises, or push-pull exercises. Increase the intensity even more by mixing in cardio exercises like step-ups, jumping jacks, running in place, or jumping rope.
- Work your entire core. Don’t limit your focus to your abs. Find exercises that work your entire core, from shoulders to hips. We really like to incorporate planks – 4-point, 3-point, side, and several other variations – into our core work. Rotational exercises, using kettlebells and medicine balls, tend to be higher-intensity and are also effective core exercises.
- Add intervals. As discussed in a previous article, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is one of the best ways to burn fat. HIIT involves alternating intervals of high- and low-intensity activity. HIIT works equally well, whether the type of exercise is resistance/strength training or cardio. The key is to go hard during the high-intensity portion of the interval, and keep moving, even during the low-intensity portion of the interval.
- Eat smart. If you really want to get a ripped six-pack, doing the right abs exercises is only part of the equation. Avoid (or, at least minimize) foods like white grains, pasta, fruit juices, and other processed, high-sugar foods. Ultimately, excess blood sugar gets stored as fat. Make sure your carbs are whole grain and high-fiber. Increase your protein consumption by eating more lean meats (chicken, turkey, fish), eggs, and dairy (milk, Greek yogurt), and add a daily protein shake to your diet..
Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!