Want ripped abs? Here’s what you need to know:
1. Get Serious About Nutrition
Strong abs aren’t the most important component of a visible six-pack; low body fat is. If you have too much subcutaneous body fat covering your abdominal area then, no matter how many hours of crunches you do, you won’t be able to see your six-pack. Men need to get down to about 10% body fat to reveal the abs they’ve worked so hard on.
With this in mind, the most important step you can take towards achieving your dream abs is to clean up your diet. Put down that 4th slice of pizza and make healthier choices. You need a smart meal plan that is made up of protein, healthy fats, and some carbohydrates, remembering that the only way to reveal your six pack abs is to reduce your body fat by burning more calories than you consume.
2. Up the Protein
Eating a protein-rich diet will help you build lean muscle as well as burn body fat. Out of all the macronutrients, lean protein has the highest thermogenic effect on the body. Basically, that makes it the most valuable macronutrient in your quest for abs because your body burns a ton of calories breaking it down. On top of that, protein helps with preserving and building muscle mass, a metabolically active tissue which is important for fat burning.
3. Strategic Carbs
Carbs aren’t the dietary demon they’ve been made out to be, especially if you consume them at optimum times. After your workout is when carbs have the smallest chance of turning into body fat. When you intake carbs post-workout your body quickly absorbs the carbs directly into the muscle tissue, promoting growth. It will also help your muscles recover faster, which will give you better results, quicker.
Eat a moderate amount of carbs, and include plenty of fibre and raw vegetables with each meal. Vegetables are jam packed with tons of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which are all essential for building a lean body and ripped six pack abs.
4. Mix it Up
The muscle system of your midsection is quite complex, consisting of the rectus abdominus (i.e. your beloved six-pack), internal and external obliques, the transverse abdominus and serratus anterior. Like any other muscle in the body, the abdominals need to be trained from various angles to activate each of the muscles in ways in which they can grow. For a six-pack that really pops, endless crunches just aren’t going to cut it, literally. Add variety to your abs routine with planks, hanging leg raises, decline weighted sit ups, jack knife sit ups and cable crunches.
5. Build More Muscle
You’ve heard it before: the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Kilo for kilo, muscle requires more calories than fat just to sustain itself each day, and that difference adds up over time. More importantly, studies show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout.
The lesson? Opt primarily for resistance training over cardio to increase your average daily metabolic rate.
6. Do Less Ab Work (Really!?)
Yes, that’s right. Don’t waste your time with hours of ab training at the expense of bigger movements that could be getting you real results. Compound, multi-joint, total body movements will promote more fat loss and a much bigger muscle building response than crunches and sit ups ever will.
If you don’t already, base your workouts around these key compound exercises: barbell squats, dumbbell lunges, deadlifts, military press, pull ups and push ups. These compound moves promote increased calorie burn, but also recruit your core muscles as stabilisers and strengthen your abdominals.
Limit your ab sessions to around 20mins, 2 or 3 times per week.
7. Get Smart About Cardio
Most people have heard that long duration cardio at a slow to medium pace is the best way shed the kilos, but there’s a much more efficient way. Steady-state training will burn fat but only very slowly over a huge session. To really torch body fat while maintaining your lean muscle mass, try intervals. Doing 20 minute sprint intervals, running flat out for one minute with one minute’s rest in between, you work for less time at a higher intensity to burn more calories.
Bonus: You also boost your metabolic rate so that you’ll still be burning calories hours later, well after you’ve left the gym.
8. Supplement Your Supplements
Supplements only work if you do. Unfortunately, you can’t sit on the couch eating Pringles while watching daytime TV and then expect a supp to give you the ripped abs you’re craving. Once you have a solid training and nutrition plan in place, and you’re working your butt off for results, supplements can help to boost those results.
Choose a fat-burning product with proven ingredients. Caffeine, L-Carnitine, Chromium Picolinate and Hydroxycitrate Complex have all been shown to aid body fat reduction. These are just some of the ingredients in Vitalstrength VS-8 Thermogenic Burner.
9. Drink water, not booze
Hate to kill the party but, if you want abs, lay off the alcohol. If you’re serious about losing weight, getting lean and sporting abs that make the ladies drool, you need to take the effects of alcohol on the body seriously. Alcohol encourages fat to be stored instead of being used for energy, while also suppressing carb and protein oxidation. There is a good reason for the term “beer belly”, and it’s not pretty. Alcohol further impedes your ab-building process by decreasing testosterone levels, which is critical for creating muscle. If you want to know more about alcohol and training check out this great article from our blog.
Don’t just dream of the perfect six-pack, get one by clocking some quality shut-eye. Inadequate sleep causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which promotes fat storage around the midsection and basically kills your efforts to obtain ripped abs. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
The cold hard truth is that you won’t build a six-pack overnight, but it will be worth it. Follow these tips consistently and you should be well on your way to Ninja Turtle abs.