Six Pack Abs Workout
Love handles, spare tire, the muffin top. Call it what you will, it is the bane of our existence. Abdominal fat affects us all, men and women alike. That unappealing layer, or layers in some cases of stubborn fat that hangs over our waistbands is undoubtedly the biggest complaint within the fitness industry. So why is it so hard to get rid of? It turns out; most people are going about it the wrong way. A little bit of education and a plan of action will take care of that jiggle in middle once and for all.
Nutrition is Crucial
The answer to belly baring pride will not be found in the purchase of the latest infomercial ab-busting gimmick. Youâ€™ll never roll your way to a sexy midsection. The biggest contributor to a lean tummy is diet.
We all have abdominal muscles. Even if you have never done one sit up in your entire life, I guarantee you do have abs. The problem is that most of us have varying amounts of fat covering up those muscles. Obviously, the thicker that layer of fat is, the harder it becomes to see the existing six-pack. While exercises designed to target the core will certainly help build those specific muscles, the more important factor is that excess fat is lost to reveal them. That comes down to diet.
Calorie Control and Real Food
So what does an abs friendly diet consist of? Well, no surprise here. Of course calorie control tops the list of importance. Daily caloric intake will need to be within a range conducive to weight loss, specific to your body type and energy level. You will also want to keep a clean diet, void of processed foods and refined sugars. Fake foods and so-called foodstuffs significantly raise insulin levels, creating the perfect recipe for fat storage. Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats full of Omega 3â€™s, complex carbs and lots of green leafy veggies.
This does not mean you need to plan 6 full meals a day. What it does mean is that you need to keep your body and that tummy satiated and energized all day long. Three meals and two snacks per day is usually more than adequate in keeping blood sugar levels stable and bellies happy, assuming of course that the meal and snack choices are appropriate.
Nothing hides a hard earned, flat tummy faster than bloat. Make sure you are drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day to keep your system regular and avoid a bloated belly. Eight glasses is the standard not including the water you drink immediately before, during and after your workout. If youâ€™re a coffee drinker, youâ€™ll need more as well since caffeine dehydrates the body.
Gut Busting Workouts
Score another point for interval training. Study after study has proven that interval training is by far the best form of cardio for many reasons, including targeting abdominal fat.
First of all, interval cardio, when performed properly, burns an immense amount of calories both during the workout and following. Due to the oxygen debt created, your body is burning fat and calories for many hours after the workout is over. HIIT also ignites numerous hormonal changes affecting growth hormone, testosterone and insulin levels in positive, fat loss promoting ways.
A number of studies have been performed on obese participants over the past few years in regards to the effect high intensity interval training has on fat loss, particularly abdominal fat. The findings have all been very positive. HIIT is known to target more abdominal fat than steady state cardio. Even more promising is the fact that it also reduces visceral fat, the kind of fat that surrounds internal organs. Excess visceral fat can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and heart disease.
The bottom line is that performing high intensity interval training efficiently and regularly will dramatically improve the appearance of your waistline and the health of your heart.
Top 5 Ab Blasting Exercises
While youâ€™re trying to shed the fat responsible for disguising that ripped six-pack, there are many great exercises you can do to shape and strengthen the muscles. As the fat melts and the muscles are tightened and sculpted you will see a dramatic improvement in both the reflection in the mirror and the way your belt fits.
This exercise is similar to the standard plank but requires more recruitment of the obliques. Lying on your side on a mat, bridge your hips up so that you are supporting your weight on your forearm. Make sure your back is straight and that the hips donâ€™t sag. Keep the core completely engaged throughout the exercise and hold for as long as possible, while breathing normally. Repeat on the opposite side.
Cross Body Mountain Climber
The cross body mountain climber is similar to a standard mountain climber exercise but with an added rotation on both sides. Instead of bringing the knees straight in towards the chest, you will rotate and bring them up to the opposite elbow. This exercise can be made more intense simply by increasing the speed and range of motion.
Toe Touch Plank
Beginning in the push up position, with the back straight and core engaged, rotate your body to the right, bringing the right hand off the ground. Simultaneously bring the left foot off the floor and while rotating, touch the right hand to the left toe underneath your body. Repeat on the opposite side. This exercise can be made more difficult by increasing the range of rotation.
Stability Ball Step Offs
This is a tough one. Begin this exercise in the push up position with the toes supported on a stability ball. Slowly bring one leg off the ball while holding the body solid and the leg straight. Touch the toes to the floor as far out from the ball as possible and return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side for as many reps as possible. Increase the difficulty with greater range of motion, more reps or by adding a push up as you extend the leg, if youâ€™re really strong.
The Walk Out
Again, starting in the push up position, with hands directly underneath shoulders, walk each hand out alternately in small steps. Once you reach the point where you are about to fall flat, extend one arm out in front of you, return and repeat with the other. Walk the hands back to the starting position and repeat. Be sure to keep the core and the glutes tight and engaged. The hips must not drop and lower back must not sag. This exercise can be made more difficult by holding light dumbbells.
If you really want to challenge yourself, incorporate all, or some of the above exercises into a circuit. Youâ€™ll be surprised just how much your heart rate will jump and youâ€™ll reap the benefits of a cardio workout while you transform that soon to be six-pack.