I have been asked so many times the simple question: “how do I get abs?” Oh, if only the answer were that simple!
You see, when it comes to abs there are three main areas and priorities that you need to set your focus on: diet, cardio, and ab training.
First things first, let’s talk diet. First and foremost, you need to understand that abs are made in the kitchen. Know your basics of nutrition. If you run 3 miles and come home to eat 6 donuts, it is going to be super hard to obtain a six pack. You need to make sure your diet is in check before you do anything else. For me, this included stopping alcohol and carbonated beverages, limiting my saturated and trans fat intake, and focusing on complex versus simple carbs. I also ditched gluten for the most part due to a sensitivity that I found I had which caused extreme bloating. You also want to create a caloric deficit in order to lose overall body fat which will allow your abs to become more visible on the surface.
The second thing that you need to focus on to get a flat belly is your cardio routine ….or lack thereof. Cardio plays an important role in shedding excess fat and lowering your overall body fat percentage to allow you to gain the six pack abs you have been wanting all your life! However, most of us do not move as much as it is recommended, much less sweat or get our heart rates up in a day.
It is recommend by the American Heart Association that the average adult individual gets at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
When it comes to cardio, not all cardio is equal though. You can either spend an hour on the treadmill like most people do-and never see any changes because you are simply not challenging yourself enough OR you can make the most out of your time by doing “smart cardio” options such as HIIT or high intensity interval training. I love doing HIIT because you can burn twice as many calories and twice the fat in half the time or less. My personal form of HIIT cardio is usually intervals where I run for 30 seconds and then walk at a regular pace for 30 seconds, alternating the two for 10 minutes straight. Other forms of HIIT can be burpees, mountain climbers, jumping rope-anything that makes you sweat fast!
Lastly, the third component to getting abs or a flat tummy is through ab training exercises. In my personal opinion, this is the least important of the three since I only tend to only work my abs once a week, but is useful to have. Working your abs via different exercises-not just crunches here- that targets the muscles will help to grow and strengthen your core.
The rectus abdominis is the long muscle that extends vertically along the length of your abdomen. Although most well-known as the muscle that creates the appearance of the six-pack, it’s also necessary for breathing, coughing and bowel movements. Other abdominal muscles include the internal and external obliques and the transverse abdominis. Exercising these muscles is key to increasing muscle mass and achieving six-pack abs. However, keep in mind that abdominal exercises alone are unlikely to decrease belly fat.
THE ABS WOKOUT
Below, you will find the workout that I have created for you to focus on growing your abs and chiseling your core. I want you to be sure to also make sure that your diet and carddio is in check in addition to this workout.
The Plan: Do this workout twice per week. Perform each move for 30 seconds straight-we are not counting reps with this one! Repeat each move 4 times so that you will spend a good two minutes performing each move straight.
Lie down on the floor with knees bent. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape.
Twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out.
Hold the contraction for a second and move back to the starting position while breathing out.
Now move to the opposite side performing the same techniques you applied to the right side.
SEATED KNEE TUCKS
Sit down with your hands on the mat, legs fully extended, leaning back.
Bend your knees and bring your legs to your chest.
Hold for a second or two and then fully extend your legs outward without touching the mat.
From an elbow plank, slowly rotate the spine to lower your left hip to just above the floor (about one to two inches from the ground). Come back to elbow plank.
Now lower the right hip toward the floor. This counts as one rep.
Do as many reps as you can.
Lie on your back on the floor and raise your legs 90 degrees. Spread your arms straight out to your sides for support. Rotate your legs to one side, stopping short of touching the floor. Rotate to the other side. As you improve, bring your arms closer in to your body so they offer less stability.
DOWNWARD DOG KNEE TUCK
Start in downward dog pose with your arms and legs straight and your hips up and back.
Bring your right knee close to your right elbow and crunch.
Extend your right leg back upward. Repeat and then switch sides.
Begin in a seated position with hands and feet on the floor. Contract your core slowly and lift your legs up to an extended position at a 45-degree angle with your torso.
Reach your arms straight forward. Don’t hold your breath—continue to breathe deeply during the movement.
Hold this V-shaped position for several seconds to begin. As you get stronger, hold the position longer.Return to your starting position slowly while continuing to keep your abs engaged and tight.