In order to successfully obtain a six-pack, there are certain requirements that absolutely must be in place. If they aren’t, you’re really going to struggle.
Here is what you need to know about the process of getting six pack abs.
You Need To Be Working Toward Fat Loss
You’ll often hear someone state that they want to “build muscle and get a six-pack.” The problem with this is that if you currently have body fat covering your abdominals, you aren’t going to lose that abdominal fat while working towards the goal of muscle building.
When your body is building muscle, you are in an anabolic (tissue building) state, which is going to require a surplus of calories. In order for the process of fat loss to happen, you need to be in a deficit of calories, which is what causes the body to use stored body fat as fuel. Since these are two complete opposites, you can’t expect yourself to lose abdominal fat while eating over maintenance to build muscle. With very new trainees it can happen since their body is just adjusting to exercise in general, but if you’ve been training for three or more months, it’s vital that you focus on one process at a time. In order to reduce abdominal fat, the process that must be focused on is fat loss.
Start With Your Diet
The single most important requirement for getting six-pack abs is your diet. There are a very few individuals who just have fast metabolisms and don’t need to worry as much about what they are eating, but that’s not the case for the majority.
Many people are under the false impression that they can literally exercise their way to a six-pack, but they don’t quite grasp the reality of just how much exercise must be performed in order to work off the foods they are consuming. Taking into consideration that a typical meal consisting of two cups of pasta, one six ounce chicken breast, and a salad with dressing can contains upwards of 900 calories, which is the equivalent of about 90 minutes of running or two hours of weight lifting. A simple dessert can add 600 or more calories.
Exercise helps increase your total daily expenditure which makes fat loss easier, but it should always be used to complement an already sound diet, not make up for a lack of self control.
Regulate Carbohydrates For Maximum Definition
If you really want to lean out in the middle, a lower carbohydrate diet is typically the best way to go. A few individuals can tolerate higher carb diets without water retention, but for most, higher carb diets tend to mean slightly more bloating, especially if you’re eating higher quantities of carbohydrates rich in fiber.
Lowering your carbohydrate intake also causes you to lose water weight, so this is a good strategy to use once you get leaner and are ready to really push it to the next level. As an additional benefit, a lower carbohydrate intake also makes hunger levels more manageable, so you may find fat loss progresses faster due to the fact you’re not taking in as many total calories each day.
Move Away From The Ab Mats
Most people will try to find the best abdominal exercise out there in effort to increase the definition they experience. The problem with this is that, while abdominal exercises will help to build the muscles and make them stronger, they are not really going to do much to remove the layer of fat covering the abdominals. While performing these exercises you aren’t really going to burn off a large number of calories, and that total calorie burn is what matters most when it comes to fat loss.
A better option would be focusing on major lifting exercises that use the largest muscles in the body. These are the movements that will increase the calorie burn during your workout, as well as help keep the metabolism permanently running higher due to muscle -mass retention. Heavy weight training also typically increases the metabolic rate --compared with an abdominal workout done with an exercise ball and a mat, for example.
Since cardio work does have its place in a six-pack abdominal training program as it burns a higher number of calories per minute of work, you’ll want to focus on getting the biggest payback for your time invested by performing interval training. This type of cardio will also cause the body to burn more calories in the hours that follow the training session, increasing the total calories burnt. While you might be able to exercise longer using moderate intensity, your overall calorie burn will still be lower, making fat loss less than optimal.
Focus On ‘Core Stabilization Work’
As you likely are going to do some abdominal work to get a six-pack, you’ll want to ensure the abdominal work you are doing is most effective. In almost all cases, the more you focus on core stabilization types of exercises, the better results you’ll get. These will work deeper within the abdominal core, maximizing the number of muscle tissues that are called into play and enhancing the lower back strength. Any time you force the body to move off balance you will also see an enhanced recruitment of muscle fibers. This can be done with exercise balls, balance beams, bosu balls, wobble boards, or even just by standing on one foot while performing lightweight exercises such as lateral raises. The idea is to make the abs work harder just to keep the body balanced. This can often be done without even having to perform a physical ab contraction movement.
Decreased Overall Stress Levels
An often-overlooked component of six-pack ab training occurs outside of the gym and even outside of the kitchen. Stress, a factor many people are dealing with regularly, can also have a negative impact on your six-pack ab progress. The problem with high levels of stress is that it will release cortisol throughout the body, which encourages the accumulation of abdominal fat. If you’re constantly in a state of over-releasing cortisol, it’s going to really put a damper on your efforts and make it that much harder.
To overcome this, make an effort to include stress-reducing activities on a daily basis. Obviously you may not be able to completely eliminate stress all the time, but the lower you can keep your levels the better off you will be.
By looking over your current six-pack abdominal training program and making sure all of these factors are in place you will help ensure that you’re doing everything you can to get the results you’re looking for.