Everyone wants to have a lean midsection, but the majority of people will never have one. It’s not your genetics that are to blame. Nearly everyone has the potential to have visible abs. To understand why, a little common sense is all you need. Every human has abdominal muscles, and then a layer of fat over them. The key to getting six pack abs is to remove that layer of fat that’s covering up those muscles. So how do you do this?
The Key to Finally Seeing Your Abs
I would estimate that 80% of the equation for seeing your abs is diet. The other 20% is exercise. Unfortunately, most people have this backwards, and rely on exercise to get their abs to come in. The common thought is that if you do enough sit-ups or crunches, your abs will start to show through. Targeting fat loss is a myth.
Real body transformations come through diet manipulation. You can work out until you’re blue in the face, but as long as you have that layer of fat covering your muscles, you will always just look bulky and smooth. The good news? It’s much easier to lose fat than it is to build muscle. I should add one caveat to that – physically it’s much easier to lose fat than to build muscle. Psychologically it’s a whole different story.
However, if you’re willing to give yourself 16-20 weeks, nearly anyone can bring their body fat levels down enough to either start bringing in their abs, or really start defining them (depending on your starting body fat percentage).
Six Pack Abs Diet
If you want abs, your nutrition is going to be key. You are going to need to provide an optimal fat-burning environment so that fatty acids have a chance to be released. How do you do this? You place a strong emphasis on keeping insulin levels low.
There are several ways to do this. One way is to eat plenty of low-glycemic foods. Low-glycemic foods cause a slower release of glucose which results in favorable insulin levels for releasing body fat. You cannot release body fat when insulin (a storage hormone) is high. If you want those six pack abs, you need to take control of this powerful hormone, and learn to harness its positive muscle building qualities, while minimizing its fat storage capabilities.
How else can we bring out our abs through our diet? Again, let’s focus on controlling insulin levels. Besides eating low-glycemic carbohydrates, you can also keep insulin levels low by minimizing your intake of carbohydrates.
While eliminating them or keeping them very low will keep insulin levels low, I do not recommend such low levels. Carbohydrates (glucose) are an important fuel source for the brain and high-intensity exercise, and they are also needed for the complete metabolism of fatty acids.
To sum up the nutritional guidelines, there is no cookie cutter approach – only principles you should follow.
- Eat around .8-1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight.
- Eat enough carbohydrates to fuel your workouts, but no more.
- Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates to keep insulin levels low to provide an optimal environment to release fatty acids.
- Get in enough essential fatty acids (EFAs). Read why they are so important and find out which food sources have them.
- Make sure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support optimal body function.
- Eat enough calories so that your body won’t think it’s starving, but low enough to stimulate fat loss.
These guidelines will work for everyone as long as they stay consistent. Consistency through diet is the key to getting six pack abs. However, also understand that everyone holds their fat differently.
Six Pack Abs Workout
Once you start getting your body fat percent levels down into the low teens and single digits, you’re going to see your abs. Now is the time you’re going to notice the greatest benefits to doing abdominal workouts. Start working out those abs too soon before you lose enough body fat, and you will actually notice your midsection is getting bigger. This happens because your abs are growing, but your body fat is staying the same – resulting in a larger waistline. Let me also say that this really is not a big deal.
This is not to say you shouldn’t do any core workouts. However, exercises that isolate the abs really aren’t needed until you get down into low body fat percentage levels. It’s at this time that you can start doing those sit-ups, and they will really begin to bring out the definition.
Just because you aren’t doing direct ab workouts, doesn’t mean your abdominals aren’t getting any exercise. If you are working out like you should be and using big compound movements, your abs get a great workout by playing a vital role in stabilizing the core.
When you are doing squats, it takes a large amount of core strength to stabilize the body while you have a bar with weights sitting on your back. Make sure you are doing the 3 big compound movements – bench press, squats, and deadlifts, and/or combinations thereof.
Now don’t get me wrong, you can certainly do targeted ab work anytime you want, and it can only benefit you. My point is that those little isolation exercises will get you better visual results if used at a lower body fat. Focus your efforts on your diet and continue strength training, and your abs will start to show.