How to Get 6 Pack Abs
Rock-hard, rippling abs are like the Holy Grail of diet and fitness buffs everywhere. To attain them, one must have discipline, determination, and the right eating and exercise program.
Six-pack abs don't happen by themselves. Some people develop them more easily than others, due to genetics and a naturally low level of body fat.
Others (read: most of us) have to work a little harder.
Whichever group you belong to, you can use these great tips to tone up your belly and uncover the washboard abs you've been dreaming of:
Tip #1: Lose the Extra Padding
6 pack abs are only visible when you have a low body fat percentage. That's because the extra fat you carry hides your muscle definition. Just think: you might already have some strong, chiseled abs hiding under that extra padding.
If you have extra fat around the midsection, you'll need to lose it if you want to bring your abs into the spotlight. Unfortunately, spot-reducing isn't possible. To lose fat from your belly, you'll have to lose it from all over your body.
First, get an assessment to learn how much of your weight is fat, and how much is lean muscle mass. You can do this yourself with calipers, or ask your doctor or personal trainer to take a measurement for you.
How low will you have to go before you have visible abdominal muscles? It varies depending on your gender and your genetics. Men typically need to reach a body fat percentage of 8 - 11%, and women usually need to drop to 14 - 17%.
You can decrease your body fat and build lean muscle mass by strength-training several days a week.
Tip #2: Get the Right Nutrition
The foods you eat can help or hinder your efforts to get 6 pack abs. If you want to build your muscles like the pros do, take a few of their nutrition tips to help burn belly fat.
First, get rid of the junk in your diet. Cut way back on fast food, junk food, or any foods that are full of preservatives, sugar, and sodium. Not only do these foods add empty calories to your intake, they can also leave you bloated - not a good thing if you want those abs to show through!
Drink plenty of water to get rid of retained fluid, and take most of your calories from lean protein, low-fat dairy, and complex carbohydrates. Be sure to consume enough calories, or your body might go into famine mode, making it harder to lose fat - especially abdominal fat.
Tip #3: Crunches Aren't Enough
You could do a thousand crunches a day and still not have washboard abs. How is that possible? Because abdominal exercises are only one part of the 6 pack equation. Also, crunches are not the best choice for a killer ab workout.
Traditional sit-ups are a better choice. They force your body to work harder, and they also put your back muscles to use, which is important for body symmetry and core strength. You need a strong back to balance your strong abs.
Look for a workout routine that works your entire core muscle group. You might be surprised by the variety of abdominal exercises available. This is great news for anyone who finds crunches to be boring, repetitive, and ineffective.
To recap: 6 pack abs require a combination of good genetics and low body fat, plus proper nutrition and training.
It's not easy for some of us to attain those enviable abs, but with the right exercise and nutrition, it's definitely possible.