The abs (or abdominals) are probably the one body part that everyone wants to improve on – and no wonder, a great stomach is such an attractive body part that showcases health, great life choices and allows you to look fabulous in a crop.
But for most, the abs are a seriously difficult body part to showcase, largely because you need to have an extremely low body fat percentage for that ‘ripped look’ (typically between 15 to 18 percent BF in women, and under 10 percent body fat in men)
But even if a six pack is not necessarily your ultimate goal, there are a few ways you can make the journey towards a flatter stomach that much quicker. It will take a lot of dedication and willpower, but it’s not unattainable.
Get your nutrition in check.
And by this, really analyse why you eat, how you eat and when you eat. Food should be your fuel for activity, as well as a pleasurable activity - not a mindless pastime.
Focus on whole foods that fill you up including carbs, and restrict your intake of refined or processed foods – these typically contain way too much sugar and are just not nutritionally worth it. A diet shouldn’t be something that is too difficult for you to stick to, otherwise it becomes easy to relapse.
Eat enough protein – protein will help you build lean muscle, even as you burn body fat – just chose great sources of both animal as well as non animal protein towards this cause. And don’t stay away from good fats – these are absolutely essential for bodily function. Choose avocado, coconut derivatives such as coconut oil or milk and nuts and seeds. A well balanced diet keeps you in an optimal state for burning fat faster!
Do a lot of heavy compound weightlifting.
The heavy weights at the gym should be your best friend. Get low with squats and lunges, attack your deadlifts and get under the bench press. Work with a trainer to build on your progress – and remember that lifting heavy means lifting heavy for you. Lifting heavy means challenging your own body; it’s not a competition. Every time your muscles are challenged, more energy is used in repairing them. Which means more fat is burned. It also means that more continues to be burned at rest. And that’s a win win for the fight against your belly fat.
Stop doing thousands of crunches every day.
Not only is this detrimental to any kind of muscle building plan (muscle grows at rest, not at work) but you are also wasting your time. Yes, crunches and sit-ups in all of their many forms can help you to functionally improve your core; however it’s the big compound workouts that have the biggest impact on your central nervous system and ultimately the greatest effect on the amount of fat you burn.
Be smart with your cardio.
Yes, cardio can burn hundreds of calories, but it takes a lot of time, can get super dull unless you a natural endurance athlete, and can also deplete the very muscle you are trying to build. Instead, choose intense, high impact cardio that allows you to train for a much shorter time, but offers you the biggest bang for your buck. Incorporate strength training in a circuit or superset for improved fat burning potential, or attack High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for a successful training session. These can take 15 or 20 minutes, but can work every muscle in your body for a super high calorie burn.
Remember, it’s lowering your body fat percentage that will allow your tummy to get trim. Focus on getting your nutrition on point, and working long term to shed body fat and showcase the newer, leaner you.