In the time before the new millennia, the focus on a man’s body was largely on his arms, chest, and shoulders. For women, the obvious features most noticed were the breasts, legs, and glutes. Then the aughts came around and somehow the world changed. Rather than focusing on male mass and female curves, lean muscle became the rage. People stopped being quite as drawn in by manly biceps and soft, feminine lines and started to dream of hard torsos with defined abdominal muscles leading to the alluring V at the hips.
One of the hardest looks to attain is that of the “six pack” abs. It technically goes against your body’s natural state, which is to store weight at your center for use later. Though it might be considered sexy, you can sorely endanger your health by working too hard to get a toned core. Training your frame to achieve the come hither midsection you’ve always wanted means altering how you eat, how you workout, and how you care for your body. To do it properly, you need our 13 step routine on how to get abs the safe and healthy way.
The first thing to do is realize that even if you want ripped abs, not every body is going to be able to deliver them. How you are built is as big a determining factor in your abs as it is with the rest of your body. If you come from people who had a lot of toned cores, or can naturally get your muscles to pop, you’re in luck. If you’re not made that way, you might be wasting your time hoping for definition when your body can’t pull it off.
Getting lean is part – and only part – of the process of showing off your core. Belly fat in particular is going to hide any abdominal gains you manage to make, so focusing on your diet is the first key to abs. You need to get to the point where gains are going to stand out. Taking a lengthy look at your eating habits should be the first actual move you make, once you decide to try to get the six pack look.
Make a Diet Log
Before you start cutting out anything from your diet, you should start noting what it is you eat, how you feel after you eat, and what overall effect each food seems to have on your waistline. By determining what foods are troublesome for you, which tend to add heft to your midsection, and what makes you feel sluggish are all important to smarter food intake.
This is a sketchy thing to say, since you need carbohydrates to operate. Vegetables are technically carbs, and you should be eating a lot of those if you’re hoping to blast your stomach. Here you largely want to avoid starches like potatoes, sugars, and carbs from white flour, such as those in breads and pasta. Any carbohydrates that want to slide right to your waistline should be cut down, but not at the sacrifice of energy.
Stop Eating Out
Whenever you’re trying to control what you eat, you can’t spend every night at a restaurant. You need to be in charge of what goes into your meals so you can determine what you need to keep, and what to cut from your diet. Don’t spend your whole life obsessing over food, but also don’t give up control to the take-out deli nearby unless you want to kiss your core goodbye.
The way we eat often affects the way our body manages calories. If you eat rarely, your body will go into a starvation mode where it will digest protein and conserve fat. That’s the opposite of what you want. The answer is typically to eat a lot of small meals to keep your metabolism up. That way it will burn off more calories to show off your waist.
Change Your Routine
Doing the same thing isn’t going to give you different results. Getting real abs requires that you change your whole workout and eating cycle to see results. You’ll need to constantly be experimenting with food and workout sessions to see what helps and what hurts. Sticking to a plan only works if it’s the right plan. You’ll only find the right plan if you keep searching.
Though diet is important, you also need to have the muscles to show off. By building more muscle everywhere on your body you both burn more fat and enhance the overall construction of your musculoskeletal system. You don’t even need to be working your abs to help. Lift heavy things and the rewards await you.
Choose Free Weights
When the option presents itself, choose to lift free weights rather than working off a machine or using your own heft. Free weights force your core to work merely moving them around and adds in extra exercise without meaning to. Using free weights gives you the best flow of muscle groups working together, rather than being grown in isolation.
Learn Interval Cardio
To help you drop calories in a way that will show off your leaner midsection, do high impact cardio workouts that are highly variated. These tend to knock off fat around the midsection first, and helps engage your core without forcing it to do extra pumping.
Muscles need down time to actually grow. Don’t blast crunches day after day. Give your poor gut a chance to heal and shine while you work on some of those other parts that need attention. You’ll get more by hard work with plenty of rest than hard work alone.
Pound the Protein
Cutting out harmful carbs is only part of the path to your washboard stomach. You also need to put in nuts, lean meat, cheese, legumes, and other high-grade sources of protein to help you along. It will not only facilitate the building of muscle, but the calories in protein don’t generally migrate to your middle, making your goal that much easier to reach.
Don’t Focus On Your Abs
It seems counter-intuitive, but the best thing you can do is work your whole body to get a sexy Adonis structure from top to bottom. Hot abs are nice, but they’re only going to be as good as the rest of the package.