For many they are considered the Holy Grail of training – a decent 6/8 pack of abdominal muscles. Those that have them show them off – and quite rightly so, after all they are not easy to attain. Here we look at the best secrets for getting amazing abs. Many think that it comes down to how many crunches, or attending the best gym. They’re wrong. Amazing abs are based on so much more than exercise and here’s what you need to know to give yourself a head start…
Body fat hides muscles, especially around the stomach, so no matter how much you train your abs, if there is a wall of belly fat in front of them they’ll stay hidden. Men need a body fat percentage of 10% or less and women around 12%. But even then, not everybody will be the same as physiology comes into play also.
The best way to burn body fat, even at the best gym, is cardio. Be it High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) which changes the intensity of the workout throughout the exercise, or more traditional cardio’ such as running, you will need to work hard. Stomach exercises do not target belly fat, they just strengthen the stomach muscles, for that you need a whole-body approach. Your exercises do however need to focus on your core strength, such as plank, plyometrics or boxing.
You do need to eat, and they say that abs are made in the kitchen not the gym. You should aim for smaller more regular meals, but to lose fat you’ll need to be calorie deficient. To build muscle, you’ll need additional proteins.
Clothes can be a form of motivation. Wear something fitted, then as your body changes shape you’ll both see and feel it in your appearance.
Routines soon become dull and uninspiring. Look to change them regularly, say every 6 weeks. More often and you are not getting the benefits, less often and you risk becoming fatigued and disinterested.
Abs are the Holy Grail because they are out of the reach of many people, even those that train hard. Set goals and commit to them. Take regular selfies of your stomach to see any progression and development as we are often the most critical of ourselves and that can impact motivation.
Abs are not made by numbers, crunches, sit-ups etc. They are a combination of factors. Starting with physiology, it is true that not everyone can have a perfect set, but each set can be improved! Next, and perhaps most importantly, there is diet, as you’ll need a low body fat percentage. Finally there is the exercise, like any muscle, you’ll need to train your abs to define them – so think core strength and cardio! If it was easy, we’d all have them. It isn’t, but that alone shouldn’t stop people from trying.