How to get FAB Abs
Pretend, for a moment, that I am your fairy godmother and can wave my magic wand and make any part of your body perfect.
Which bit would you choose to improve?
The vast majority of people would say their stomach. Men usually want six pack abs and women want a flat, tight midsection with not so much as a hint of a muffin top.
Hence why isolated stomach exercises like old-school sit ups and crunches never ever seem to go out of fashion – despite the fact that they’re completely ineffective!
I understand why working your stomach muscles seems like the thing to do. After all, if you want bigger biceps you work your biceps, right? I prefer full body functional exercises like chin ups over isolated exercises like bicep curls, but either way you’re working your biceps.
So why shouldn’t you work you abs?
If you want to build a strong core, doing functional ab exercises like the plank, side planks and ab roll outs are great choices.
BUT if your goal is to get visible abdominal muscles, the only way to do so is by getting rid of the layer of fat that sits on top of your stomach muscles. Stomach exercises like sit ups, crunches and side bends do absolutely nothing to help you reduce stomach fat, and can actually damage your lower back by causing excessive compression on your spine.
So – consider this permission to stop doing stomach exercises like the ones I mentioned above – in fact stop it immediately!
If you’ve been doing functional ab exercises (like the ones I mentioned above) to strengthen your core, you should keep doing them for functional reasons like protecting your lower back and preventing injuries. However, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s helping you get more visible abs… because it’s not. I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I don’t want you to waste your time doing exercises that won’t ever bring you so much as a smidgen closer to those six pack abs or that flat, tight stomach.
Here’s the truth about how to visible and defined abs…. cut out sugar in your diet.
There, I said it. The dreaded “S” word. I know… most people would rather workout harder and longer than have to cut out sugar… me included! But knowing what to do is half the battle. I’d rather know what I need to do to get to my goals than endlessly put energy into something that’s just never going to work. And I hope you feel the same way.
And now for the good news… here are a few simple dietary changes you can make, starting today, that will help you start burning off stubborn stomach fat.
1. Cut out refined carbs for all meals. That means no bread, pasta, rice, cereal or any starchy processed foods. Of course sugary goodies are off limits as well… GASP! I know what you’re thinking.. what do you mean I can’t have cereal for breakfast! I never said it was going to easy, and if it was, stomach fat wouldn’t be an issue. Instead of cereal, you can try full fat plain greek yogurt with some berries instead. Or if you l like a heartier breakfast, how about some eggs and bacon…my personal favourite. Keep in mind that if you consume enough protein and fat per meal, you should feel full and satisfied without feeling deprived.
2. Have 2 – 3 large meals per day and skip snacks. Snacks can be a real catch 22…if you’re eating healthy snacks with no refined carbs or sugar, you can definitely have some. But for most people, snacks usually mean something sweet and starchy like pastries, biscuits, cake and perhaps even a healthy bar, which is really just junk food in disguise. So to avoid any complications and temptations, I recommend eating fewer, larger meals so that you won’t feel the need to snack.
3. Only eat refined carbs after your workout. This doesn’t mean you can eat a loaf of bread or have endless bowls of pasta! It means that you can have moderate amounts of refined carbs after a high intensity workout. I specifically mention high intensity, because they are the best workouts to deplete your glycogen (stored sugar) in your muscles. When you’ve depleted your glycogen, your muscles need to replenish it, so the sugar you consume gets used up and stored as glycogen rather being stored as fat.
4. Drink a mild form of stimulant like green tea or coffee. Just stay away form any sugar laden energy drinks. Drinking a mild stimulant will slightly boost your metabolism and assist in burning more fat. Don’t go overboard with the caffeine though! Too much caffeine can backfire and cause you more harm than good.
5. Eat enough fat. The biggest mistake I see people make when cutting down on refined carbs is that they don’t eat enough fat. Most people equate low carb diet to a high protein diet, and that’s where the problems begin. A low carb diet actually equates to a moderate protein and high fat diet. In other words, if you don’t eat enough fat, you will experience symptoms of low energy, constant huger and general malaise. But this can all be fixed by increasing your fat intake. The percentages can vary with each individual, but for the most part a low carb diet is going to look something like this: 20-30% protein, 10-20% carbs and 50%-70 % fat.
Remember, the formula to getting a lean, defined stomach is pretty simple, but it takes dedication and commitment – like anything else you want to achieve. But the results will be well worth it!