One of the questions I am most frequently asked as a fitness professional, especially now that it is swimsuit season is, “How can I get great abs?” You may have pondered this exact same question at some time or another within the last few months.
However, I have to be honest and tell you that doing hundreds of crunches every day trying to get abs before your vacation next week won't work. More simply, crunches alone won’t give you a six pack.
We have discussed this before, and just because it's summer hasn't changed the principles...or my answer; I’m talking about the spot reduction myth. Doing a ton of crunches with the hope that it will transform your abs from flabby to muscular is like believing in the Santa Claus of fitness myths.
It's simple, training one area of your body will not specifically burn fat from that spot. Not your abs, not your butt, not you (insert any body part here).
Are you currently training as if spot reduction worked? Doing dozens of crunches in the hopes that layers of fat will disappear? Sit-ups, crunches and planks will not flatten your abs. In fact, if you still have a layer of fat over your abs, and then get bigger abs underneath, it could even make your stomach look larger.
So you want the secret to great abs? You have to reduce your overall body to start seeing your ab definition! The secret is a winning combination of fat burning cardio, resistance training and clean eating.
It is fully possible for you to dramatically shape up your waistline.
First step: Answer these following questions to see how your current routine measures up:
How often do you exercise?
If your answer was anything less than 4 times a week, then that’s the first thing getting between you and flat abs. At a minimum you will want to be doing something 4 days a week that is going to crank up your metabolism through resistance training, HIIT workouts, or interval cardio. Mixing these up and doing a combination of all those forms is even better.
How do you define a fat burning workout?
If you don't have a routine that includes intense cardiovascular training coupled with effective resistance training then you're not going to shred the fat necessary to define your abs.
I’m sorry to be the one to break this to you, but walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes IS NOT a fat blasting routine. Neither is a leisurely 20 minutes on the elliptical machine. The truth is that you can dramatically increase your results while investing less time when you exercise right.
Cardio exercise is all about maintaining an effective level of intensity or intervals. This doesn’t mean that you should be gasping for air for your entire cardio session, but you do need to get your heart rate up. It does mean that you need to push yourself. Intervals are great because it give you the opportunity to spike your heart rate for a short distance and then recover for a longer period. It feels like a game to me, and I don;t have to kill myself the entire cardio session.
Resistance training is the second key part of a fat burning workout. You need resistance training to build lean muscles (no not bulky), which will torch a lot more fat. This means stimulating our muscle groups to the point of being tired in order to fire up your metabolism. If you are pushing light weights and can keep going all day, you need to add more resistance. The tiring of your muscles is what creates the muscle growth and fat burning syndrome you want, and need to get lean.
Do you eat a clean diet?
Consuming healthy fuels for a lean body is the biggest stumbling block for most people—especially as it relates to their midsection. Here’s a fact: YOU CAN'T OUT-EXERCISE A BAD DIET! If your diet is out of control then your abs will be too. You can’t trim your waist without trimming the junk out of your diet, regardless of how hard you exercise.
Do you want to flatten and sculpt your waist once and for all? Simply decide that you really want it. Then commit to yourself—you deserve it.
Dedicated To Making Healthy Your Habit,
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