6 pack abs, the most sought-after body trait of the exercise world. It is no coincidence that the most desired is also the hardest to gain. But, the problem with peoples drive to a washboard stomach is their wrong approach to obtaining them. Your abdomen is one of the few muscles you can’t exercise into gains like arms or legs or even back. The problem with abs is not getting them, but making them visible underneath belly fat. This is the main factor to remember, it is not your lack of muscle, but the abundance of fat that keeps your 6 pack from being visible. Everyone has a six pack, the goal is to take away the fat rather than adding the muscle.
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What Not To Do
A Ton Of Situps And Crunches
The first big mistake people make is doing a lot of ab exercises thinking this will improve abs. Crunches are a very light and very local low impact exercise. While these may not be entirely worthless, the better focus should be on your entire core. Core exercises train the stomach but they also work hip and lower back muscles. This causes more fat burning and improve workouts by increasing strength for success. Planking, mountain climber, rollouts, and pushups are all better core exercises to focus on.
Carb Cutting Yourself To Starvation
The no carb trend refuses to go away. While it is not horrible to avoid carbs for short periods to lose weight, cutting out carbs altogether, especially when exercising is a bad idea. Of course, too much carb intake is terrible, but moderation is more helpful than harmful.
This shouldn’t even need to be said, but your lifestyle is a huge factor in health overall as well as in obtaining those abs. Even a short period without enough water causes your body to slow metabolism. This causes dehydration prevention mode making fat loss almost impossible. Lack of sleep leaves your body stressed and unable to fully heal. Too much stress alone causes the release of cortisol, which reduces testosterone which is critical for fat burning.
Lean Protein, Lots Of It
Protein by itself is not only necessary for building lean muscle, but it also burns fat just breaking down. Lean protein is a two in one helping build what you want and consumes what you do not. Make sure you have plenty of lean, natural protein in your diet. Remember, fast food patties are filled with more preservatives than protein, keep it healthy.
The keyword here is HEALTHY fats, not any fats. This means polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats such as raw nuts, nut butter, fish oils, and olive oils into your diet, not just any kind of fat. Grease, fried foods, and bacon are things you should still limit as much as possible.
Post Workout Carbs
Natural grain carbs like brown rice, potatoes, and oatmeal are excellent post workout. Natural grains burn off from the exercise rather than muscle loss while maintaining energy for the day.
Full Body Focus
Since muscle is your bodies main fat burner, the more muscles you exercise, the more fat you burn. Your body has to spend energy to repair tissues so a full body workout can burn fat for up to two days. Since burning belly fat is key to a six pack, you want to burn as much fat as possible, and this is a great way to do it.
Stay As Active As Possible
A key factor to maintain fat burning is cardio. After a full body workout, on your recovery day fill it with cardio. Go for a run or bike ride and push yourself to maximum speed intervals. Also, you want to do regular cardio boosts. Sprint up stairs when you find them, rather than walking or driving to get a meal, make it a dash.
The Plank Is Life
If you want a great six pack, mastering the plank in all its varieties is the one exercise you need to learn above all others. This is a simple exercise you can do anywhere. The plank is the perfect core exercise to make sure you have no excuses for not getting a core workout in.
No matter what, the key to remember when it comes to gaining 6 pack abs is fat burning is going to be your most important solution. Eating a proper, healthy diet and regular exercise is the key to results. While weight gainers and such are not very useful anyway, when it comes to abs, these things can actually hurt more than help you. You need to burn calories to get to that six pack, not put them on. Your abs are buried treasure, you need to uncover them from the fat piled on top more than anything else.
About the Author
My name is John Welborn and I specialize in helping overweight individuals transform their bodies, lives, reclaim their freedom and confidence, and reach the best shape of their lives. I am the founder of John Welborn Fitness, where I offer personal fitness coaching and group workouts at my gym in the Fairview / Portland Oregon area. I’m loving every minute of it!
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