Who isn’t dreaming about a washboard stomach with defining abdominals? People have been pining after, working hard for, and endlessly searching for abs since the dawn of time! Well, we reckon they have! But regardless of the aesthetic look behind wanting abs it's more important to focus on how fundamental these muscles are to stabilising your entire body and are essential for not only improving training and performance but also aiding in everyday activities such as bending, reaching and twisting.
Regardless of your reasoning, it's important to focus on working your entire core to grow and strengthen the muscles, and the popping definition well as they say abs are made in the kitchen. Body fat levels and muscle size produce definition so its mixture of things that make those washboard abs look how they do, and it takes time, dedication and hard work. So here are a few tips to help you with your abdominal journey!
1. Diet is everything
You should approach your diet with the same commitment and discipline as you do your training because they feed (mind the pun) into each other directly. For your body to react and give you the maximum results you need to be fueling it for maximum work rate in training but also recovery for muscle growth. Removing as much refined and processed food as possible is a great way to start, but it also comes down to ensure you are eating enough protein which will aid in building lean muscle as well as burn body fat (lean protein has the highest thermogenic effect on the body) but we can’t forget the other macronutrients.
It’s essential that you include healthy fats primarily from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated such as raw nuts, nut butter, fish oils, and olive oils into your diet, a well-controlled amount of healthy fats can aid you significantly.
Let's not forget carbs, forever demonised but so important for you. With carbs (and fats) eating too much of anything food group will lead to weight gain, but natural grain or starchy carbs such as sweet potatoes, brown rice, and oatmeal are beneficial in journey to abs, especially when consumed post-workout as they have the smallest chance of turning into body fat.
With a clean diet of combining lean protein with the correct types and amounts of vegetables, good carbs, and fats you will begin to supercharge your metabolism and burn through fat stores.
2. Train your entire body
I know it sounds crazy, but stop focusing on crunches! It’s important to ensure we are training the entire core because a strong core means you can enhance your overall progress in your training and reduce the risk of injury and also build some mean abs along the way, but, this means training your full body because large compound, multi-joint, and total body movements will promote more fat loss and bigger muscle-building response than crunches and sit-ups ever will.
3. Clever Cardio
It’s said that long-duration cardio at a slow to medium pace is the best fat burner but there is a quicker and faster way… Interval training!! Get clever with your cardio and interlink it with your ab workouts. 30 secs max sprints followed by 20 crunches or leg raises 8-10 rounds and you’ll be burning through fat stores quickly.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) within your workout could see more gains for you on the journey to abs, throw in a selection of ab focused exercises and once you’ve got your breath back you’ll be laughing.
4. Stay Hydrated
It’s important in general that we stay hydrated throughout the day but by staying hydrated you can boost your metabolism which will aid in burning fat more effectively but it is also said that your muscle cells grow faster when they're well-hydrated, meaning more gains!
5. Be Committed
Overall there is more to abs then a few crunches, it’s about a holistic approach on the journey to a washboard stomach that starts in the kitchen and ends with smart training but no matter what aspect of your training or diet you’re focusing on you need to be committed. By committing to a sustainable plan you’re more than likely to succeed and sustain the results.
Whatever your reason for wanting abs to remember that you need to be committed, eat clean, stay hydrated, keep moving, and train your entire body.
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