The 6-pack abs craze has gripped fitness enthusiasts for long. Seasoned trainers attain and maintain these packs with ease. But it’s the beginners who find it extremely hard, and in some cases almost next to impossible, to build these packs.
Here’s an eye opener: With the right kind of training and diet plan, anyone can achieve six-pack abs.
The key, however, is to remain patient with results. The core is the toughest part of the body to develop. But remember, nothing is impossible. Put the right kind of effort and give your body time to achieve results.
Before we give you your guide to ripped 6-pack abs, here’s a look at myths that need to be busted immediately.
Crunch, crunch and crunch: For those who think that for 6-pack abs you need to swear by crunches, then they’re absolutely WRONG! Crunches not only target just one area of your core, but they can also hurt your back if your form is not right.
Do abs daily: RUBBISH! Training your core 2-3 times a week is an ideal way of building those lean packs. This allows your body time to recover from the wear and tear, thereby building increasing muscle mass.
Ab exercises burn fat around your belly: If you think doing those crunches a million time will burn that stubborn belly fat, then you’ve got it all wrong. Agreed that any form of exercise will burn calories, but if you’re looking to lose fat then you need to combine high intensity cardio along with your core exercises.
Give up on carbs: WRONG! Carbs are an essential nutrient and you have to give your body the right kind of complex carbs. Eliminating the same from your diet will only derail your progress.
Now that you know what not to do, here’s a look at what you should do to get those ripped 6-pack abs.
Watch what you eat: The most important aspect to weight loss and muscle gain is watching your nutrition. What most people fail to realise is 80% of your effort to achieve a fit body depends on what you feed it. For those looking to achieve that perfect core, avoiding food high in fat is of utmost importance. Eliminate fried foods and high-fat foods like pizza, burger, white pasta, chips etc. Eliminate refined white sugar. This means no pastries, colas, candies etc. Of course, you will be tempted to have these foods, but the key is to eat them on a cheat day. But mind you don’t go overboard.
Fall in love with proteins: Focus on foods rich in good quality protein. Increase your intake of lean meat, nuts, fish, eggs and other foods that are known for its rich protein content. This will help in building muscles and will also keep your fuller for a longer time. Replaces fried foods with vegetables like broccoli, spinach etc. that are known for its nutritional value. Also give your body adequate amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 rich foods like olive oil, flaxseed etc.
Treat your abs with variety: Workout your abs 2-3 times a week with a variety of ab exercises. Don’t just stick to those regular crunches. Leg raises, exercise ball crunches, crunch with heel push, and oblique crunches are some of the most effective core building exercises. A healthy combination of upper, middle, and lower ab exercises will boost your core strength, and with time you’ll notice definition and muscle growth. Up the intensity with time and vary the exercises by adding weights.
Boost your cardio: Cardio exercises play an important role in your 6-pack ab journey. Cardio assists your body in burning body fat, thereby making your muscles more visible to the naked eye. Doing core exercises without an intense cardio routine is pointless. Swimming, jogging, elliptical bike, cycling etc. are some of the best cardio exercises. This will help you burn fat effectively and when coupled with the right core strengthening exercises, it will only do wonders.
Focus on body fat percentage: What most people fail to understand is that achieving a toned look is only possible if you bring your overall body fat percentage down. An average body fat percent for women is between 25-30% while for men it is between 18-24%. To get a clearly defined 6-pack abs, you need to focus on bringing your body fat percent to under 10%. Don’t panic, it is absolutely possible. If you focus on eating right and working out regularly, you’ll be shocked to see that fat percentage dipping.
Don’t overdo: The best of the best fitness experts will always advice optimum amount of rest and will discourage overtraining. It is extremely important you give your body enough time to recover from its workouts. 7-8 hours of sleep is an absolute must. Apart from that you also need to ensure that you do not push your body beyond 75-90 minutes of training 5-6 times a week. Remember, to give your body complete rest at least once a week. Muscle exhaustion will only make matters worse so love your body because it’s the only place you have to live in!