Lean abs are made in the kitchen
You’ve probably heard this one a few times and yes they aren’t wrong essentially you will never achieve that 6 pack or toned tummy by not controlling what you are putting in your mouth, For some this could be as simple as cutting out that mid afternoon sugary chocolate bar for others you may need a whole new nutrition plan.
One things for sure you are going to need to create a calorie deficit which in simple terms means your body is burning more calories than you are eating, but not to big of a deficit as you will become one miserable person, and its not maintainable. So once you have created a deficit you need to be sure you are getting the correct amount of nutrients in your body, proteins, good fats and yes CARBS. Sticking to a lower calorie diet than normal will be easier to maintain if you are fuelling your body correctly, I encourage my clients to eat at least 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight, the correct amount of carbs to support their training schedule and the rest of the diet is made up of good quality fats, like your avocado, eggs, coconut oil etc.
It may sound complicated but once you know you are eating the right nutrients and the right amounts you can just continue repeating this process and watch the results come in. calorie deficits and macros tracking are all explain in my Food Plans.
As a personal trainer I see some of the worst ab and core workouts being carried out. For me its all about isolating your core muscles and controlling the tempo in every movement, being able to put your mind to muscle as this goes a long way in terms of really using your abs to perform this exercise and the big one avoid using any momentum. Instead of checking out Instagram for the most fancy core workouts, your best bet is sticking to simple ones and really working on building a lot of tensions (burning sensation).
I have listed a few on my favourite ab exercise below, when performing these really concentrate on driving your abs into your spine, tucking your pelvis under and controlling the tempo so no other muscles are helping you perform the movement.
- Planks – as you build these up try incorporating a stability ball or bosu to challenge you further.
- Hanging knee raises- Perform in a slow controlled tempo with no Swing motion and again really focus on driving the abs into the spine as you begin to raise the knees.
- Reverse Crunch- with your legs raised you can really isolate your core and avoid the momentum from the legs. keep a really slow 3-3 tempo.
Lifting weights are a great way of improving your loss in body fat% and increasing the amount of lean muscle you have which leaves you with greater tone and definition in the abdominal area aswell as everywhere else. Females most importantly don’t worry about getting bulky and looking manly its not going to happen, i can pretty much guarantee if you add some weight lifting alongside the many hours you spend on cardio equipment you’ll see some real changes in your body shape.
Quality over Quantity
The abs are just like over muscles groups you must allow them time to recover, and rebuild, so working your core and abs everyday is not a good idea just like doing legs everyday isn’t. I see so many people adding abs to the end of every workout they do. Don’t forget in many Leg and upper body exercise you will be required to use your core muscles to stabilise yourself, I feel I’ve worked my abs best after a really big Leg sessions so don’t get caught up on crunching everyday!
A big downfall for many is not drinking enough water. The benefits are so important and its so simple to do. Suppressing your appetite, boosting your metabolism and improving your skin are just my favourite benefits but there is plenty more.
Boozing is losing
At the end of the day alcohol is a part of many of our lives and many of us find it difficult to totally cut this out, all i would say is that the less you drink the leaner and greater abs you’ll have. I drink no more than twice a month, but taking into account I’m at a maintenance stage for those of you that would really love that toned stomach you’ll need to be really strict with your alcohol consumption.
Consistency and persistence
This as many of you probably know is not an overnight process and at times you will feel despondent and down that your progress is not quick enough. The best bit of advice around this i can give is not setting a goal as such, set a LIFESTYLE, all the time you are working to timelines you are putting yourself under pressure and will no doubt become less motivated.
Make it a lifestyle, working out regularly and eating healthily makes you feel so much better and has many benefits beyond a good sets of abs, fall in love with doing this and the results will show for themselves. Don’t compare yourself to anyone its you’re journey and the only person you are in competition with is you so keep working hard, stay positive and good things will happen!