Six pack abs aren’t something that requires you to put thousands of hours in at the gym.
Everyone has abs, though if you can’t see them it’s because they’re hiding under a layer (or layers) of fat.
In order to see your abs in as short of a time as possible, you need to concentrate on stripping the fat that’s covering them away. And that’s not something that a hundred situps or leg raises a day will accomplish.
The trick to getting great abs is simple: diet and exercise.
Nobody really wants to hear this advice and it’s fair to say that we’ll try every exercise program, gimmicky abdominal equipment, and fad nutritional supplement available before coming to the realization that it’s what we eat which impacts the way our body looks the most.
If this sounds like you, please stop the madness. If your midsection is flabby, you need to start cutting calories now! It’s rare to get the body you want simply by starting an exercise routine; no matter how long or intense it may be.
It takes most people less than five minutes to wolf down a 600 calorie McDonald’s hamburger or slam back a small 500 calorie milkshake, fruit smoothie or soda. However, most medium intensity weight training and cardio sessions lasting an hour only burn around 400 calories per hour. It should be obvious that diet is what holds most people back.
Read labels before you eat anything and track everything you eat, at least until you’ve memorized a decent size list of foods, portion sizes and how many calories they contain.
Use this simple calorie calculator to determine how many calories you require in order to maintain your current weight. Subtract a few hundred calories from that number and you have a great starting point from which to plan your diet from. Diet restriction combined with a half hour walk each day after dinner will easily eliminate 500 – 600 calories a day, which will shed about a pound of fat each week.
This article is about getting abs, not about encouraging you to eat healthy foods, which you should definitely do. Regardless of what you eat, IF you cut your calories, you WILL lose weight and expose your abs! Read how a college professor lost 27 pounds eating only Twinkies here.
Whole Body Resistance Training
Adding resistance training into your six pack plan is a great way to speed up fat loss, while helping to tone and condition the muscle sitting under your excess baggage before it’s completely revealed. While we’ve already explored how you can easily shed a pound of fat a week with minimal calorie restrictions and exercise, you can definitely speed things up by incorporating resistance training movements that work the entire body.
Here are five movements that are extremely effective at taxing the entire body, maximizing the calorie burn during, and even after the workout:
3. Box Jumps (with weighted vest)
4. Pullups (with weighted vest or weighted belt, if you’re able to do 10 or more reps)
Each of the movements above put a serious strain on almost every muscle and tendon in your body. They’re also great when combined together into a circuit training routine where you move from one exercise to the next without taking any rest in between exercises.
You don’t need much weight to burn around 150 calories per half-hour, but if you work with enough weight that you can only handle 5 – 8 reps per exercise, you’ll double the overall calorie burn. A half-hour workout in the low rep range will burn 300 – 400 calories. Don’t try to workout longer to make up for eating more calories than you should have that day. You’ll quickly burn out!
High-Intensity Interval Cardio
High intensity interval cardio training is great for people who don’t want to lift weights or use machines. In fact, you can do this type of training without any equipment at all. Best, interval cardio training burns tons of calories and you can wrap up an entire workout in a shorter time. The harder you push, the greater the fat burning effects.
Interval training is thought to have what’s called an “Afterburn Effect” that causes the body to continue burning calories at a higher rate than normal for up to 24 hours after the workout’s finished. This form of training is also better for burning intramuscular fat and that which covers organs like the heart and liver.
The goal of this style of fat-zapping workout is to do any cardio exercise with as much intensity as you can for 2 full minutes, followed by 1 minute of less intense exercise (to catch your breath and bring the heartbeat down) – then rinse and repeat for up to 10 cycles. If you’re not in great cardio shape, you can scale the timing down accordingly as long as you follow the same 2:1 ratio (eg., 1 minute full intensity, followed by 30 seconds of reduced intensity.)
High intensity intervals can be applied to single movements or combined into circuits to break up the monotony that comes from doing the same exercises all the time:
• Skating (ice or inline)
• Jump rope
• Martial arts
The exact amount of afterburn calories that are expended from high intensity interval training once the workout’s finished isn’t yet known. However, expect to burn at least the same amount of calories in a half hour with this training method as you would when training with weights, with the added benefit of keeping your body in a fat-burning state longer.
Time to get the Abs You Want
Find foods you can live with and count your calories. Find a workout you can live with and don’t come up with lazy excuses for why you need to skip a day – or week – because of this, that, and the other thing.
When you combine a calorie restricted diet with just a half hour of resistance and/or cardio training, it won’t be long before you’ll be seeing a carved up washboard stomach and likely be buying some new smaller pants!